Viewpoint by Marcelo Colussi *

GUATEMALA CITY (IDN) – During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump had the audacity (bravado? stupidity?, bad political calculation?) to ask himself if it was convenient to continue the war in Syria and tension with Russia.

The idea probably crossed his mind of putting the emphasis mainly on stimulating a sluggish domestic economy, which is gradually lowering the standard of living of ordinary American citizens.

His feverish promises to bring back industry – dislocated to other parts of the world with cheaper labour – do not appear to have gone in vain. Less than a year after his administration took over, it can be seen how U.S. foreign policy is still marked by the almighty military-industrial complex and wars continue unabated.

- Photo: 2021

South Africa Insists on Dutch Shell Drilling in Home of Migrating Whales

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — A South African court has greenlighted plans by Royal Dutch Shell to do seismic oil exploration in a pristine coastal stretch in an area known as “Wild Coast” in Port Edward over the strenuous objections of local environmentalists.

Oceans Not Oil, which describes itself as the public’s voice against offshore oil and gas development, has been driving the campaign and is the organizer of the silent protest beach walk from Muizenberg beach to Kalk Bay harbour.

It says the government’s Operation Phakisa, which focuses on unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans, is driving Shell’s exploration. But the court rejected the petition by four environmental and human rights groups who said it would cause “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, especially migrating hump-back whales.

Acting Judge Avinash Govindjee, of the Eastern Cape division of the high court, allowed Shell to begin firing extremely loud sound waves through the relatively untouched marine environment of the Wild Coast, which is home to whales, dolphins and seals.

But the court found the applicants had failed to prove there was reasonable evidence of “irreparable harm” and found in favor of the oil firm because of the financial costs of a delay.

Happy Khambule, senior climate and energy campaign manager with Greenpeace Africa, said: “The decision to allow Shell to continue with its plans to destroy the Wild Coast is very disappointing. Not only will the blasting destroy precious biodiverse ecosystems, but it will also destroy the livelihoods of local communities, all in the name of profit.

“We will continue to support the nation-wide resistance against Shell and pursue the legal avenue to stop Shell, We must do everything we can to undo the destructive colonial legacy of extractivism, until we live in a world where people and the planet come before the profits of toxic fossil fuel companies.”

South Africa’s environment ministry referred the Reuters news agency to a statement late last month that “the Minister responsible for environmental affairs is … not mandated to consider the application or to make a decision on the authorization of the seismic survey.”

While Shell will move forward in South Africa’s marine environment, the company dropped plans to help develop an oilfield in the North Sea that drew similar criticism of the project by local residents.

Earlier this year, a Dutch court ordered Shell to reduce its planet warming carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels, a decision it plans to appeal.

Pooven Moodley, executive director of Natural Justice, said the fight to safeguard the Wild Coast was not over.

“Our bigger struggle for climate justice, and to resist oil and gas drilling in South Africa and across the entire continent is far from over,” he added.  [IDN-InDepthNews – 07 November 2021]

Photo source: Africa Global News

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