By Julia Dowling
U.S. tax-payer dollars could potentially fund the construction of the world’s third largest coal-fired power plant in South Africa, the second project of its kind in South Africa in a year. Soon, the United States Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) will vote whether or not to make a loan to South Africa’s state-owned utility, Eskom, to continue construction of the plant, called Kusile. A yes vote would increase South Africa’s debt burden, contribute to climate catastrophe, endanger local health, and produce power for South Africa’s multinational corporations at the expense of the poor.
At 4,800 megawatts, the behemoth Kusile will have serious ramifications on South Africa’s poor and the global environment. In South Africa, the plant will require 2,470 acres of land to house its toxic coal ash dump, siphon away 1 billion gallons of water annually, and will displace 300 local residents. On a global scale, the plant will dump 36.8 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year increase South Africa’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions by 9.7%.