Letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry
Dear Secretary Kerry,
I write on behalf of KOSID, a coalition of 10 Kosovar civil society organizations. As leaders committed to sustainable development, we are truly impressed by the U.S. Government’s bold decision to address one of the most important global challenges of our time – climate change – in the wider perspective of human rights. President Obama’s recent Climate Action Plan, which calls for an end to public financing for new coal plants overseas, has raised our hopes for a cleaner and safer future. We believe that our country – Kosovo – would be the best first case for its implementation. We therefore ask the U.S. State Department to lead a new U.S. Government effort to identify clean alternatives to a proposed coal fired power plant in the country that can be supported by the World Bank Group.
For the past decade, the World Bank has been considering supporting a new, lignite power plant in Kosovo. Lignite is the world’s dirtiest form of coal, and moving forward on this project would negate the promise of the Climate Action Plan. Millions of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars have been spent on this project, which will not incorporate the best available technology to limit pollution and protect public health. At the same time the project will significantly raise rates for average citizens, meaning we will pay both in our electricity bills and with our health. We believe there are viable alternatives to coal and ask that you use your leadership on climate change to stop this project and instead seek alternatives that support Kosovo’s energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
As a report from Professor Daniel Kammen of the University of California, Berkeley has shown, Kosovo’s poverty and energy challenges could be addressed by investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources (see: http://rael.berkeley.edu/kosovoenergy). Meanwhile, our own analysis shows that low carbon investments could create some 30,000 new jobs for Kosovars, far more than the 500 jobs a new coal power plant is expected to bring. It would also save some 1,700 lives that are directly and indirectly lost from pollution and would create a healthier environment for our children, their children, and many generations to come.
As Kosovars, we appreciate the crucial role the U.S. Government plays in guaranteeing our freedom and independence. As the poorest country in Europe, with 45% unemployment and more than 16% living with less than $1 a day, what we need right now is stable and sustainable economic growth. We believe the best way to ensure that development is through low carbon growth – not new lignite fired power plants. We look forward to the leadership of the U.S. State Department in identifying clean alternatives in the country that can be supported by the World Bank Group.
On behalf of the Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development (KOSID),
Coordinator of KOSID