The Empire Strikes Back
Apparently sick of playing the bad guy at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the U.S. struck back yesterday, proclaiming itself “the world’s leader in sustainable development.” To bolster that claim, U.S. delegates in Johannesburg announced joint government and private-sector initiatives, including a $53 million effort to protect forests in the Congo Basin and $43 million worth of energy projects for poor communities worldwide. The delegates provided few details on the projects, however, and some critics said the money was merely a reshuffling of preexisting aid packages. The announcement — the first official one from the U.S. since the conference opened on Monday — came on the heels of growing criticism of the Bush administration’s environmental policies in general and obstructionism at the summit in specific. Delegates from other nations have accused the U.S. of thwarting negotiations on global trade and the environment, and promoting the privatization of such basic services as health care, drinking water, and electricity at the expense of citizens of developing nations.