The U.K. should have said yes to the World Bank loan of 2.4 billion pounds (USD3.6 billion) to finance the construction of a coal power plant in South Africa instead of abstaining in the vote, Tony Lodge wrote on the Guardian. The Center for Policy Studies research fellow explained that coal is of “vital importance” for developing nations. It is unrealistic, Lodge said, to expect a coal-rich country like South Africa to turn to higher-priced fuels for power generation.
“Abandoning fossil fuels could mean the diversion of funds for basic infrastructure development and delay the urgent construction of more energy-generating capacity,” Lodge wrote in his opinion piece.
Last week’s abstention by Britain reflects badly on a country that claims to want to lead the world in the new viable clean coal technologies that are now emerging, Lodge added, while noting that the establishment of high-efficiency but lower-emission coal power plants like the South African one is an essential step toward the promotion of “commercially viable clean coal technology” projects.