Updates: news releases and updates

World Bank urged to vote ‘no’ on Eskom coal loan

Posted Apr. 7, 2010 / Posted by: Karen Orenstein

Contact:
Karen Orenstein, 202-222-0717 (office), 202-640-8679 (cell), korenstein@foe.org
Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722 (office), 717-439-0346 (cell), ktrout@foe.org

World Bank urged to vote ‘no’ on Eskom coal loan

Friends of the Earth echoes South Africans’ call for the World Bank to reject a massive dirty coal loan that would lead to more poverty and pollution

Washington, DC – The World Bank is expected to vote tomorrow, April 8, on whether to approve a $3.75 billion loan that would help South African utility Eskom build the 4800 MW Medupi coal-fired power plant, which would be one of the world’s largest and most polluting.

Friends of the Earth-US joined South Africa’s leading community, labor, faith-based, and environmental groups, as well as more than 125 groups worldwide, in calling on the World Bank to reject this loan.

Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica echoed their concerns with the following statement:

“This coal loan is not about alleviating poverty or supporting sustainable development and the World Bank has no business making it. The World Bank should listen to the voices of communities in South Africa and cut the coal.

“Multinational corporations will be the big winners if this loan moves forward. Big corporate polluters cut secret deals with Eskom under apartheid. They receive cut-rate electricity and won't have to pay their fair share of the cost of building the coal plant. Poor households will be stuck with much of the bill. This is unjust and unacceptable.

“Friends of the Earth calls on U.S. World Bank Executive Director Ian Solomon to vote against this loan on April 8.

“The World Bank has handed out billions to the fossil fuel industry through its energy portfolio, and this coal loan would add to that shameful legacy. If the Obama administration is serious about its pledge to end subsidies to fossil fuels, it would use its power as the biggest World Bank funder to stop this loan.”

More information

April 7 is a global day of protest against the World Bank coal loan. In Washington, DC, activists from the U.S. and Africa will demonstrate across from the World Bank's headquarters from 12:00 – 2:00 pm to call on the Bank to vote “no.”

This action comes one day after residents located in the Waterberg area of South Africa’s Limpopo Province filed a complaint with the World Bank’s independent complaint body, the Inspection Panel, raising serious concerns about the coal plant’s impacts on their health, livelihoods, and the environment.

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