University of San Diego

San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law

Library of Congress Authority File


This Comment examines whether South Africa’s treaty obligations conflict with the requirement of the country’s government to provide electricity to a burgeoning home-owning population. Section II introduces Eskom, South Africa’s largest utility company, which produces most of the electricity used in South Africa and surrounding countries. Section III discusses South Africa’s role in the Southern Africa Power Pool and the additional obligations this membership places on the country. Section IV then examines the controversial loan that South Africa received from the World Bank to assist in building the Medupi coal-fired power plant. Section V illustrates South Africa’s climate change obligations imposed by its commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Millennium Development Goals the country agreed to meet. Lastly, Section VI examines the relationship between the World Bank loan for the Medupi coal-fired power plant and South Africa’s treaty obligations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This Comment then proposes the establishment of regulations to reconcile conflicting decisions or obligations of international institutions.