In an appearance before the U.S. congress today, Obama administration deputy special envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing testified that America intends to hold the South African government to its pledges to cut carbon emissions. This despite the U.S.’s abstention in the vote on the $3.75 billion World Bank loan to build one of the world’s biggest coal-fired power plants.
This comes on top of the Obama administration’s recent decision to deny mitigation funds to Bolivia and Ecuador in response to their refusal to sign up for the sham Copenhagen accord.
As an article in the Guardian cogently points out, “Pershing’s comments align with the Obama administration’s policy of shifting some of the burden for dealing with climate change from the industrialised countries which have historically caused most emissions to rapidly emerging countries, such as South Africa, India, China and Brazil.” Shifting the burden are the keywords here.
Speaking of South Africa, I also wanted to note an interesting article on the blikkiesdorps or slums created by government clearance programs in advance of the World Cup. As the Olympics in Vancouver demonstrated yet again, sporting mega-spectacles almost always lead to increasing homelessness and diminishing civil liberties. The World Cup in South Africa is unlikely to be any different. Sad really – I was in South Africa during the unsuccessful bid to win the games back in 2000 and remember how decimated people were when the national bid was rejected. I’m afraid that people’s expectations are likely to be quickly deflated.