Ghana, stuck with the wind 6

The American Dictator (yes, he’s the one we mean) is doing his utmost to keep Africa in poverty and despair.

Roy Innis, national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, writes today at Townhall:

I see Africa as a … partner with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children,” President Obama declared in Ghana last July.

However, three months later, the President signed an executive order requiring that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and other federal agencies reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with their projects by 30% over the next ten years. The order undermines the ability of Sub-Saharan African nations to achieve energy, economic and human rights progress. 

Ghana is trying to build a 130-MW gas-fired power plant, to bring electricity’s blessings to more of its people, schools, hospitals and businesses. Today, almost half of Ghanaians never have access to electricity, or get it only a few hours a week, leaving their futures bleak.

Most people in Ghana are forced to cook and heat with wood, crop wastes or dung, says Franklin Cudjoe, director of the Imani (Hope) Center for Policy and Education, in Accra. The indoor air pollution from these fires causes blindness, asthma and severe lung infections that kill a million women and young children every year. Countless more Africans die from intestinal diseases caused by eating unrefrigerated, spoiled food.

But when Ghana turned to its United States “partner” and asked OPIC to support the $185-million project, OPIC refused to finance even part of it – thus adding as much as 20% to its financing cost. Repeated across Africa, these extra costs for meeting “climate change prevention” policies will threaten numerous projects, and prolong poverty and disease for millions.

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 800 million people, 80% of whom live on less than $2.50 per day. Over 700 million people – twice the population of the USA and Canada combined – rarely or never have access to the lifesaving, prosperity-creating benefits of electricity …

Even in South Africa, the most advanced nation in this region, 25% of the populace still has no electricity. Pervasively insufficient electrical power has meant frequent brownouts that have hampered factory output and forced gold and diamond mines to shut down, because of risks that miners would suffocate in darkness deep underground. The country also suffers from maternal mortality rates 36 times higher than in the US, and tuberculosis rates 237 times higher.

And yet President Obama told his Ghanaian audience last July that Africa is gravely “threatened” by global warming, which he argues “will spread disease, shrink water resources and deplete crops,” leading to more famine and conflict. Africa, he says, can “increase access to power, while skipping – leapfrogging – the dirtier phase of development,” by using its “bountiful” wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels energy.

The President made these remarks before the scandalous “Climategate” emails were made public, and headline-grabbing claims about melting glaciers, burning Amazon rainforests and disappearing African agriculture were shown to be mere speculation and exaggeration from climate activists

Literally thousands of scientists disagree with claims that we face an imminent manmade global warming disaster, or that warming is connected to disease or harvests. Africa has faced drought, famine and disease since before Biblical times, and armed conflict is far more likely where a lack of electricity perpetuates poverty, scarcity and dashed hopes.

Wind and solar power are too costly, intermittent and land-intensive to meet the needs of emerging economies

That is why rapidly-developing nations like China and India are building power plants at the rate of one per week… Nearly all this electricity must be based on coal.

Wind power is constrained by high cost and limited reliability. Nuclear energy faces major cost and political obstacles. To electrify India in the absence of coal, the country would have to find 14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, build 250 nuclear power plants, or construct the equivalent of 450 Hoover Dams, Penn State University professor Frank Clemente calculates. Those alternatives are unrealistic.

Blessed with abundant supplies of coal, South Africa has applied for a World Bank loan to continue building its 4,800-megawatt Medupi power plant. The Medupi plant would be equipped with the latest in “supercritical clean coal,” pollution control and “carbon capture” technologies. However, the project and loan have run into a buzz saw of opposition, led by the Center for American Progress, Africa Action, Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club. These radical groups claim to champion justice and better health for Africa, but oppose the very technologies that would make that possible…

The proposed Ghana and South Africa power plants already leapfrog dirtier development phases, by providing state-of-the-art pollution control technology. The energy alternatives President Obama envisions would do little to address the desperate crises that threaten Africans’ health, welfare and lives.

China and India are showing Africa the way forward. Those of us in already developed countries should support Africa’s aspirations – and help it address real health and environmental problems, by using affordable, dependable energy that truly is the lifeblood of modern societies, and the key to a better future for children everywhere.

  • NoCountryForYoungMen

    Alas if the rest of the world wants to live as 'wasteful people in the US' – the world will eventually be barren and devoid of biodiversity. If you are familiar with the global warming, pollution, and dimming phenomenon, ozone depletion or ideas of sustainability you would realize that the rapid industrialization of the rest of the world using the same energy source as industrial England will inevitably result in depletion of environmental resources. Indeed if you actually believe the science the question becomes 'do you want to live better for a time and then die, or do you want to slowly improve your situation sustainably?' This is not a discussion about the elusive 'fairness' that Africans should live the same way people in the US do.

    So far in human history societies and economies have not been regulated as resources appeared infinite. In the future the currency must be pegged to the physical reality of limited resources, many that may only be harvested after a certain period or cycle – or there must be a massive global population decline. Of course the other option to human conscious adoption of the sustainable paradigm in all of society is the creation of at least a content sized nature preserve – in which no human presence exists. Indeed global industrialization is not possible without greater regulation. The US, and British Empire could only have a free trade system divorced from consideration of natural resources because they were/are imperial nations that import many raw material to manufacture. There was the city and then the country side – so to speak.

    There was Europe (as city) and then the rest of the world (as countryside to be stripped of natural resources – that would eventually regenerate to some extent with little human presence). Now with all the world wanting to live as 'Europeans' (who noticeably have no great forests or biodiversity) there will be no global equivalent to the countryside to the city of Europe, America, Asia, Africa.

    Of course technology may make it easier and more comfortable to live within our means… and we may even be able to extract extra planetary resources in the future. But it doesn't change the fact that at some point an escape from the downward spiral – a rebalancing must occur or we face the extinction of much life on earth.

    My point is proven by the steadily increasing cost of drinkable water. A freshwater spring in the future may be what an oil well was to a farmer in texas a decade ago. Even president Bush said the US had an addiction to oil and that other energy sources must change that. Iraq was not for the oil, but a naive sense of justice, based on faulty intel.

    • Jillian Becker

      A few points in answer – not every point or I'd be writing a volume.

      America should use the ample oil and natural gas that it's got. Use it now. Why save it for another generation? That generation is not more worthy of it than we are.

      Nuclear power is best. Nuclear power plants in every state, as many as necessary. No problems there of “sustainability” or using up resources. Clean, reliable, efficient and after the initial expenditure, cheap. Waste disposal problems yes, but soluble.

      The environmentalists want to control us, not save the environment. Planet earth will look after itself as it always has. It will not be barren. Species die, species come into existence.
      Suggestion – go to Climate Debate Daily (perhaps you know it?), and read the right-column for cheerful news. (The left hand column is the scary stuff.)

      The populations of Europe are shrinking drastically. The problem for Europe will soon be too few people, not too many. And such as there are will be mostly Muslim.

      Hong Kong is the most successful economy in the world, without any natural resources whatsoever.

      Regulation? Any interference by government in the economy is a bad thing. (Hayek: “The Road to Serfdom” and “The Constitution of Liberty”. Milton Friedman: “Free to Choose”.)

      Finally, thank you for your thoughtful comments. Some we agree with, some we don't, but they're all welcome.

      • NoCountryForYoungMen

        I will give a quick response to each of your points:

        First – I can be an environmentalist and a conservative (to me all conservative means is giving more choice and money to spend to the consumer, while cutting back on myriad little special interest bureaucracies ).

        The pure free market is naturally based on making profits as fast and easy as possible and therefore rarely invests in long term projects with high up front cost (like space exploration and R&D). So the environment suffers as a consequence based on the principle that infinite liner economic growth is possible on a biosphere based on cyclic cycles.

        America operates in a global market of it's own partial making (the British Empire built it) therefore the cheapest oil, and natural gas is used up first. The price of oil is determined both by the ease of extraction and myriad economic and political forces (OPEC for example).

        I will now tackle this aspect of 'Conservatism' that I think comes from the fundamentalist Right (there is a fundamentalist Left in Christianity). The view that humanity can do what it wants and still not 'change things.' This is simply not true, with our current technology we can wipe all (most) life off the face of the earth. Earth cannot absorb all the waste products (especially inorganic's) that humanity produces. Another form of this is the view that “I don't have to care about what happens on earth (to my children/grandchildren) because we live in the end times.” Talk about self fulfilling prophecy. Ok, sure, if you do not care about the future because after all everyone says were mortal and all going to die sooner or later. Than yes lets use all the gas and oil available to hell with the future. What this will do (sooner or later) is result in a crunch time known as peek oil. Where we could have spent time developing renewable non fossil fuel energy sources we now have an economy that has no motor. All hell breaks lose over oil or more likely… fresh water. Of course their is synthetic diesel – made by GM bacterium… so yeah technology might saves us after all… but what I am saying is that a more responsible approach that consistently funds R&D rather than requiring a mad dash at the end like a cramming student before an exam. Even the global elite wealthy beyond my imagination procrastinate. LOL.

        As for Nuclear Power – sounds great! In a world with a United States of Earth where Terrorism/Organized Religion has gone the way of the dodo, and Nuclear waste can be reused, stored in the Sahara, or ejected into space.

        About Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, UK, and now China. All these places are indeed successful without any natural resources. Why? Because they import them in their raw form from the rest of the 'third' or undeveloped world… therefore the developed countries actually have a global economic interest in keeping the third word undeveloped but stable with good transportation infrastructure to export raw materials.

        As for declining population in europe… this is a result of culture and culture conflict. The religious actually use having more babies as a weapon in their arsenal of conquest and domination. Human cloning is always an option ^^… and elimination of STD's so people will have more sex. ..Or Funding a massive program to pay for a babies living expenses thereby eliminating a lot of abortion. Also simply accepting that discrimination is a must for self preservation…. and closing the borders to muslims, africans… or all uneducated religious people. Then there is genocide of course, maybe some fascist will rise again in europe and put the muslims in concentration camps. Or maybe a government program to fund the breeding of the perfect citizen/soldier. Or maybe a virus that targets people of certain 'races deemed undesirable.' Notice: I do not necessarily advocate the above – simply brainstorming.

        I suggest reading The Coming China Wars by Peter Navarro to see why regulation in the end produces more wealth than without it. Of course I am a Libertarian, so regulation must have a very good reason.

    • “Alas if the rest of the world wants to live as 'wasteful people in the US' – the world will eventually be barren and devoid of biodiversity.”

      I don't know about you, but I sure want to live like I do. Being able to go to just about any faucet or spout and drink from it is truly amazing. It blows me away that the water I give to my pets is higher quality than what the rest of the world gets. In Europe, you'd be hard pressed to find a faucet that you can drink from, especially in Eastern and Central Europe.

      Unless, you like dysentery. Ever had mistreated water? This isn't about giving everybody a MacDonald's around the corner. This is about potable water.

      Besides, the US is at a technological/economic position (well, maybe), where we can actually preserve wildlife. Ever notice how third world countries really don't give a shit about endangered animals? That's because the people are too busy starving. I think keeping yourself alive is a little higher on the priority scale than saving the African Retard Lizard.

      Remember, America brought back the Bison, but only because we were in a good place to do so. Not only that, but many species have actually boomed in the US. Every night, I see deer wandering about my city. I see and hear coyotes all the time.

      “In the future the currency must be pegged to the physical reality of limited resources “

      Isn't that what currency originally was?

      “may only be harvested after a certain period or cycle – “

      …which is what harvesting and crop rotation is about.

      Or do you mean governing who can plant what and at which time?

      How do you spell that? S-O-C-I-A-L-I-S-M, right?

      “or there must be a massive global population decline. “

      Zombie Thomas Malthus still lives! Seriously, the Malthus argument is getting old. You do realize that the more people there are, the more people can work and take advantage of technology?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World_populat

      “My point is proven by the steadily increasing cost of drinkable water. A freshwater spring in the future may be what an oil well was to a farmer in texas a decade ago.”

      So I'll be able to run my car with water? 😛

      Sure that isn't inflation? Sure that isn't increased cost because of better methods for purification? Within my very short lifetime, I've seen water treatment standards improve dramatically.

      • NoCountryForYoungMen

        I am just going to say LOL to this response.. so many conflicting ideas you have… some right connections some wrong… some dare I say 'pharisaical' literalist tendencies that take ideas out of context… there is extreme egalitarianism, while an aversion to socialism… Indeed the core truth of Malthus's argument does live ultimately… The earth is not infinite. But there is also the disciplines known as science, technology, and efficiency that can vastly expand the population limit on earth. Oh and yes Africa should try the one-two child policy – so they can live within there means without destroying ecosystems.

        PROJECTION. It is amazing what people can see in another's argument – arguments that they never considered, arguments that are not there. Seeing the big picture is very hard. Maybe with google earth and sensor overlays we can stop debating semantics and misreading intentions and realize the truly huge and seemingly contradictorily interactions that occur on the global scale.

        • “I am just going to say LOL to this response.. so many conflicting ideas you have… some right connections some wrong… “

          Yet you refuse to point them out. Interesting.

          “Indeed the core truth of Malthus's argument does live ultimately… “

          Malthus general ignores economics. People often take advantage of new technologies to further themselves.

          Malthus's essential point was that population growth was exponential, while agricultural growth is linear. We have found that this is certainly not the case in the 20th century, and even more so in the 21st century.

          This man's work is all the proof you need:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Revolution
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wheat_yields_

          “Oh and yes Africa should try the one-two child policy – so they can live within there means without destroying ecosystems. “

          I don't even want to know who is supposed to enforce that.