Published on March 18th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer2
Obama Administration Battles Bush Appointees at World Bank Over Third-World Lending
Reuters is reporting that the US is trying to block coal plant funding by the World Bank for a $3.75 billion project in South Africa. The UK joined with the US in trying to block the loan.
Both nations agreed at Copenhagen to provide clean energy funds to developing nations, for renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change adaptation, that would be handled through the World Bank.
What Reuters is not reporting is that it is holdover Bush appointees on the World Bank board who will likely over-rule the US and UK opposition to the dirty power funding – and grant the loan.
The lions share of the loan – $3 billion – would go to South African power utility Eskom to fund the bulk of a 4,800-megawatt Medupi coal-fired plant. Only a much smaller $750,000 would go toward renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a promise to Copenhagen of third world assistance in developing clean energy.
This battle reveals the deep conflict within the US, between the current Democratic administration’s support for reducing greenhouse gases, and the previous administration’s very different focus on fossil energy development.
Bush appointees comprise the leadership of the World Bank.
Current World Bank director, Robert Zoellick, was a member of The Vulcans – the group headed by Dick Cheney that advised Bush on foreign policy. Bush selected Zoellick to replace his previous neoconservative selection (Wolfowitz, also a member of The Vulcans) after he had been forced out under a cloud of corruption.
The organization has now been tasked with forwarding renewable energy loans in the wake of Copenhagen to promote the development of the new clean energy economy in the developing world.
However, as recently as last year the World Bank backed one of the world’s top 50 polluters; India’s Tata Ultra Mega super-critical coal plant.
It is run by those with deep connections to the very fossil industries that are pulling the environmental rug out from underneath our world.