by Rod D. Martin
October 20, 2015

While Western elites celebrate “saving the planet,” South Africa’s government brought a divergent point of view to the Paris climate talks: the UN climate deal is a form of apartheid.

Writes Canada’s Globe and Mail, “A summit in Paris is supposed to agree a global accord for tackling climate change in December, but a last week of negotiations on the draft text, which began in Germany on Monday, got off to a stormy start with developing nations saying their demands had been omitted from the pared down 20-page draft.”

“It is just like apartheid,” said Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, South Africa’s delegate.

“We find ourselves in a position where in essence we are disenfranchised,” she said, claiming that the views of the poorer countries were being ignored by the UN.

According to the South Africans and representatives of other developing nations, the climate deal locks poorer countries into their poverty, with little hope of development or achievement of the living standards developed countries take for granted.

“Christiana Figueres, the U.N.’s climate chief, expressed confidence the talks were on track for a deal at the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 summit in France,” according to The Globe and Mail. “We will get to an agreement by the end of Paris,” she told Reuters. “Perhaps the reaction here is that we went from a text that has too much in it to a text that has too little.”

Ignoring the South African concerns, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged negotiators to look at the bigger picture.

“There is no time to waste,” he told a news conference in Slovakia. “It has been quite frustrating to see negotiators negotiating only based on their very narrow national perspectives. This is not a national issue, it’s a global issue.”

Easy for him to say. Ban Ki-moon lives luxuriously in New York when he isn’t in his highly-developed native South Korea. Forbes has named him the world’s 32nd most powerful person.

Earlier this year, I keynoted Nobel Prize-winner Mohammad Yunus’s Global Summit on Health. While there, I met a Kenyan doctor who told me that one of the biggest health problems facing his country is the sort of lung diseases we associate with chain smoking. But the patients are nonsmokers. The reason? Having no electricity, they are forced to burn wood for heat and kerosene for light in their houses and apartments.

There are 1.3 billion people without electricity, as many as the entire population of China and 1 out of every 5 people on Earth. Lacking access to power, they are locked into a level of primitivism that denies opportunity, health, hope.

Ban Ki-moon is not one of them. Neither is Barack Obama or Al Gore. But while they work to lock Africans into that state permanently, all of them decry “cultural imperialism” and claim to care about Africa.

The Africans disagree.