Obama promotes Africa energy links at White House
Aug 4, 2014 - Megan Darby - rtcc.org
US president Barack Obama champions electricity
for Africa and insists business leaders accept climate
|Geothermal energy, Kenya (Pic: GDC)|
Barack Obama is promoting efforts to double the
amount of electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, as African
leaders converge on Washington this week.
The US president told the Economist he was “really
excited” about Power Africa, a “transformative” aid
programme to improve access to electricity.
In the first event of its kind, the White House
is hosting a three-day summit with heads of those
African states “in good standing with the United
With the focus on trade and investment links, energy
infrastructure is high on the agenda.
The summit also includes a session on boosting resilience
to a changing climate.
Starting with six partner countries, Power Africa
promises to add 10GW of “cleaner, more efficient
electricity generation capacity”.
This includes gas-fired generation in Ghana, Nigeria
and Tanzania as well as renewable energy and smart
“There are a whole bunch of different models
for generating power,” Obama told the Economist,
adding that America could “play a unique role” in
getting neighbouring countries to cooperate and spread
The US has committed US$7 billion over five years
to the programme, which was launched in June 2013.
To date, private investors have put in double that.
The International Energy Agency estimates some US$300
billion is needed to bring electricity to all sub-Saharan
Africans by 2030.
On climate adaptation, the summit will highlight
how climate change is threatening food production.
The agenda noted: “Climate shocks, as well
as shocks caused by other environmental, social and
economic disturbances, undercut household and community
stability and resilience, and erode hard-won development
|Barack Obama: Corporate CEOs do not engage in
climate change denial “nonsense” (Pic: White House)
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In a wide-ranging interview
with the Economist, Obama also raised the subject of climate change
in a defence against criticisms his administration is anti-business.
His recent moves to curb coal pollution were welcomed
by international climate negotiators and NGOs but
met resistance from certain sectors of the US business
Despite opposition to his policies, Obama said even
in the fossil fuel industries, corporate CEOs he
talks to do not deny “climate change is a factor”.
Obama said: “What they want is some certainty
around the regulations so that they can start planning.
Given the capital investments that they have to make,
they’re looking at 20-, 30-year investments.
They’ve got to know now are we pricing carbon?
Are we serious about this?
“But none of them are engaging in some of
the nonsense that you’re hearing out of the
Businesses “always complain about regulation”,
Obama said, insisting his policies had been friendly
towards business and these complaints should be taken “with
a grain of salt”.
While corporations might say they care about the
environment and other policy issues, Obama challenged
them to reflect that in their activities.
“There’s a huge gap between the professed
values and visions of corporate CEOs and how their
lobbyists operate in Washington,” he said.
- See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/08/04/obama-promotes-africa-energy-links-at-white-house-summit/#sthash.2oM6aPYA.dpuf