Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Live Earth Vs. Africa

From the Accra Mail via allAfrica.com:

Few people in Africa got to see Al Gore and his troupe of rock-star ecologists strutting their stuff two weekends ago, because most have neither television nor electricity. That's just as well, because they would have been aghast at Live Earth's bizarre message.

In Africa, we have much more serious things to worry about than climate change. Indeed, if they achieve their objective the concerts will have done harm to the people of Africa.

Britain's former Secretary of State for the Environment, David Miliband, recently said that the rest of the world cannot aspire to the UK's standard of living because: "If the world were to have the same living standards as we have in the UK, then we'd need three planets to support us." Presumably Mr. Miliband would disagree with Indira Ghandi, who famously said, "Poverty is the greatest polluter."

Miliband was replaced by Hilary Benn, who as Minister for International Development ran the Department for International Development (DfID). One might have thought that DfID would have supported economic development as a means of escaping from poverty and pollution. But in its Rough Guide to a Better World it advocates "Development by Dung" and claims that "As poor countries develop, it is essential that they do not follow the same failed patterns of energy use." So it's dung not diesel for Africa - while India and China soar ahead because they are too big, and nuclear-armed, to stop.