Obama's Climate Worries About Africans Getting Cars, Air Conditioners, and Modern Houses

Obama JohannesburgCredit: White House photo by Pete SouzaOn June 29, after President Barack Obama made some remarks in Johannesburg in South Africa to a group of young African leaders, he was asked by Sydney Mukumu (ph) about U.S. foreign policy with regard to the environment. The president understood the question as referring to U.S. positions on the problem of man-made climate change. The president responded:

The biggest challenge we have environmentally -- and it is an international challenge that we cannot solve alone -- is the issue of climate change....

The United States actually reduced our carbon emissions more than any other country since I came into office.  I just want to make that point.  (Applause.)  We doubled fuel-efficiency standards on cars.  We’re investing in clean energy like solar and wind.  And we actually want to share that technology, because we think that all countries need to benefit.  And part of the opportunity for Africa is to see if we can leapfrog some of the polluting practices of America or Europe, and go straight to the clean energy strategies that will allow you to advance economic growth, but not corrupt the planet....

We’re going to all have to work together to find ways in which collectively, we reduce carbon but we make sure that there’s some differentiation so that countries that are very wealthy are expected to do more, and countries that are still developing, obviously they shouldn’t be resigned to poverty simply because the West and Europe and America got there first.  That wouldn’t be fair.  But everybody is going to have to do something.  Everybody is going to have to make some important choices here.  And I expect that it’s going to be your generation that helps lead this, because if we don’t, it’s going to be your generation that suffers the most. 

Ultimately, if you think about all the youth that everybody has mentioned here in Africa, if everybody is raising living standards to the point where everybody has got a car and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over -- unless we find new ways of producing energy.

Later in Tanzania, President Obama announced a $7 billion initiative to supply more electricity to impoverished Africans. Around 580 million people living in subSaharan Africa are not connected to any electricity supply. To provide basic acess to electricity to everyone in subSaharan Africa the Washington Post reports:

As for Africa itself, this technical paper in the journal Utilities Policy estimated that Africa would need a tenfold increase in installation capacity to bring everyone basic power by 2030. To get all of sub-Saharan Africa up to South African levels, for instance, would require 330 gigawatts of new capacity. For context, the White House announcement would bring about 10 gigawatts.

The Post notes that the president's iniitiative has lined up some private sector power projects including one from Husk Power Systems. Based in India, Husk Power aims to will install 200 “decentralized biomass-based mini power plants” in Tanzania. Interestingly, Husk Power notes that the operational costs of one of its mini power plants is about 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.

As the Post reports, the government of Tanzania is interested in exploiting offshore natural gas deposits as a way to produce electric power. The U.S. Energy Information Administration calculates that natural gas fired electricity will cost about 7 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2018.

However, with a score of 35 out of 100 Tanzania ranks 102 out 176 on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. It may well be the case that the costs of corruption are so high that Husk Power - at twice the price of conventional natural gas - would ultimately be cheaper to supply. Husk Power Systems deserves praise for devising a way to provide electricity to truly impoverished people despite their corrupt and inept governments.

Finally, the president's African greenhouse gas worries about Africa are overblown. The Post quotes Tom Hart, the executive director of the ONE Campaign:

“If you provided 580 million Africans with basic energy access, that would increase global carbon emissions by just 1 percent.” In other words, if Obama wants to tackle global warming, Africa certainly isn’t the place to start.

If the president really wants to help Africans cope with a warming planet, he would forthrightly tell their governments to stop stealing from their citizens, adopt the rule of law, and open their markets to free trade, so that they could create the wealth needed for climate resilience.

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  • PapayaSF||

    The United States actually reduced our carbon emissions more than any other country since I came into office. I just want to make that point. (Applause.) We doubled fuel-efficiency standards on cars. We’re investing in clean energy like solar and wind.

    Except that the reduction in carbon emissions is mostly or entirely due to the economic crash and fracked gas, not his various feel-good schemes.

  • ||

    What are you, racist? Holy shit, you're a fucking racist.

  • Anders||

    We totally care about the Carbon. That's why I get driven around in a 40 ton low rider that gets 400 gallons to the mile.

    Shizzle.

  • ||

    Those reductions, Obama didn't build that.

  • gaijin||

    Except that the reduction in carbon emissions is mostly or entirely due to the economic crash

    so, credit BOOOSSSHHHH!

  • CE||

    Yeah, but Obama CAN claim credit for most of that economic crash!

  • UnCivilServant||

    So his position is "We got ours, fuck you live in the stone age?"

  • AlexInCT||

    Pretty much sums it up except for the part where they also hope a lot of these people die off because there are too many of them weighing down Gaia...

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    He's just imitating the Europeans who insist the Africans should be organic farming without the use of any modern tools and/or seed species.

  • Ron Bailey||

    SN: With due respect, most African farmers already practice organic farming with predictably dismal results. For example, compare U.S. per hectare cereal yields of 6,818 kilograms with Tanzania's 1,361 kilograms.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    No respect required. I expected as much.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    So Ron, I'm passing thru Charlottesville tomorrow on my way to the family farm in the mountains. Where's the best fireworks stand this year?

  • Ron Bailey||

    SN: I can't help you since I believe that city mothers and fathers don't allow private citizens to set off fireworks in the People's Republic of Charlottesville.

    BTW, where is your family's farm located.

  • RBS||

    None of that shit better be GM!

  • RBS||

    I took an international environmental law class in law school and the developing world pretty much has the opposite mentality. "Fuck you, we don't want to live in the stone age." There was also a healthy dose of "you fucked it up, don't expect us to suffer because of your mistakes."

  • Zeb||

    People spend so much time thinking about the consequences of burning lots of fossil fuels that they seem to forget that there are also very real human consequences to not burning lots of fossil fuels when they are still the most economical and practical energy sources for most purposes.

  • Loki||

    ...they seem to forget that there are also very real human consequences to not burning lots of fossil fuels...

    Key word: human. Environmentalists don't care about humans. In fact humans are the ones who are killing mother Gaia, so they're prefectly fine with getting rid of most of us. Especially those of us who refuse to join their creepy ass cult.

  • Zeb||

    Well, some of them do, some don't. In my experience, except for the fringy weirdos like Earth First or ELF, most environmentalist sorts do acknowledge that the point of it all is to keep the earth nice for humans to live in, but then don't really think through the consequences of a lot of environmental policies (especially climate change related ones).

  • Zeb||

    No, no, you see, Africa can "leapfrog" past all of the stuff that worked to make Europe and North America so prosperous and go directly to all of the wonderful new energy technologies that are working so well in Europe and other places now, like windmills and obnoxious self-righteousness.

  • pan fried wylie||

    obnoxious self-righteousness

    You joke, but show me another inexhaustible source of energy.

  • Loki||

    You joke, but show me another inexhaustible source of energy.

    Stupidity. Peak Derp is a myth.

  • Finrod||

    Obnoxious self-righteousness is also known as smug. See South Park for details.

  • Aresen||

    Actually, they are quite likely to "leapfrog" past the stuff we use - but it won't be thanks to any official program to do so.

    Governments invariably pour money into the wrong technologies; small entrepreneurs develop new technologies that more than fulfill the needs that the government programs were meant to remediate.

  • Zeb||

    I'm sure they will with some stuff. They probably won't build a lot of huge coal plants, for instance. But they'll definitely be using a lot more oil and gas at some point.

  • ||

    We’re investing in clean energy like solar and wind.

    Like Solyndra! Now there are some investments to be proud of!

  • AlexInCT||

    That left a mark...

  • ||

    Nonexistent energy is the cleanest energy of all.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    You haven't seen my indoor plumbing when the grinder pump goes down.

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    Nor would we want to.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    How can you call yourself a servator when you won't bear witness to my poopy pipe problems?

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    Are you one of my Swiss masters? If not, nein to you, pal!

  • Zeb||

    So what's the new name? Are you a Swiss mercenary or something now?

  • CE||

    Did he applaud them for walking (instead of driving) to the community (instead of private) well (no energy required to pump the water) and retrieving the day's water needs in a hand-crafted reed (instead of manufactured plastic) basket?

  • PapayaSF||

    A friend of mine designed the Solyndra press kit, which included a cool model of the tubes.

  • rts||

    so that they could create the wealth needed for climate resilience.

    "Climate resilience". I'm stealing that.

  • CE||

    I already have climate resilience:

    winter coat, check.
    air conditioned car, check.
    air conditioned house, check.
    swimming trunks, check.
    refrigerator and freezer, check.

  • Matrix||

    Shorter Obummer: You should all live in filth and squalor. And don't you worry, I'm making sure that the majority of Americans will join you.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Obama knows that the real problem with Africa is not corrupt government, but bitter clingers holding onto their air conditioners and their cars.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Hrmm, the same thing holds true if you replace a few words for closer to home (for me)

    "Obama Cuomo and Bloomers knows that the real problem with Africa New York is not corrupt government, but bitter clingers holding onto their air conditioners and their cars. Guns and food."

    Perhaps we should madlib it...

  • Ska||

    "[proper noun] Admiral Bitch Tits and [proper noun] Captain Comestain knows that the real problem with [place]your mama's is not [adjective]buttery government, but [adjective] milky [plural noun] tweezers holding onto their [plural noun] pot roasts and their [plural noun] cigarettes."

  • Loki||

    Admiral Bitch Tits = Chuck Shumer and Captain Comestain = Barack Obama, right?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Hey, it's all to bring the various African and United States economies to par, and with minimal effort from the former. Taking the phrase "a rising tide lifts all boats" to heart, the Man-God who would slow the rise of the oceans knows that the reverse of it is a corallary.

  • sarcasmic||

    Socialism is a race to the lowest common denominator.

  • Finrod||

    If you sink all the boats, they'll all be at the same level.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Imagine how much cleaner the planet would be if the Uncle Sam just turned off all their surveillance equipment.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Somewhere, a progressive mind just exploded

  • ||

    No, they are far too good at cognitive dissonance for that to happen.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Then this should make their heads explode.

    http://directorblue.blogspot.c.....tests.html

  • sarcasmic||

    unless we find new ways of producing energy.

    I know! I know!

    Unicorn farts!

  • Tonio||

    We already have some proven, fairly clean methods of energy production. Unfortunately, the mere mention of nuclear energy in third-world countries makes both the hawks and the greens apoplectic.

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    Oooh, new modern superhero...

    THE GREEN HAWK!

    Fighting atom progress in the Third World!

  • pan fried wylie||

    ..and here at home!

  • Aresen||

    Later in Tanzania, President Obama announced a $7 billion initiative to supply more electricity to impoverished Africans. Around 580 million people living in subSaharan Africa are not connected to any electricity supply. To provide basic acess to electricity to everyone in subSaharan Africa.

    This reminds me of a plan ca. 1990 to build a huge series of phone cables for Africa so that they could have (land line) home phones - at a price of $10 billion.

    The plan never got off the ground (or into the ground?). Somehow, greedy cell phone companies built this huge wireless network and now no one wants to provide these essential connections.

    (Anybody got a call or message asking for help transferring money out of Nigeria lately?)

  • AlexInCT||

    Some prince was having an issue with his oil money, but he quit talking to me when he found out I was not a Q-tip and that I wanted his bank account info first...

  • CE||

    That's okay, I sent him the 50K he needed to unlock his account. I should be getting the 1 million reward any day now.

  • AlexInCT||

    Damn, I knew I messed it up...

    Lucky you.

  • creech||

    countries that are very wealthy are expected to do more, and countries that are still developing, obviously they shouldn’t be resigned to poverty simply because the West and Europe and America got there first. That wouldn’t be fair."

    Of course it isn't "fair" that wealth just dropped out of the sky in these countries and not in yours. From each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs. Let me make it clear, some people don't believe this. They are wrong. My friends and I will equalize outcomes, just give us time.

  • ||

    Yeah, there is that word again; fair.

    He truly is a man-child.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Egyptian racists hate Obama.

  • Matrix||

    OT: Dennis Rodman says he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize

    I suppose he has more of a legitimate claim to one than our nobel laureate president.

  • ||

    VICE filmed that and their episode on it was pretty awesome. I have to give Rodman credit; he was diplomatic, didn't do anything really stupid, and also didn't praise the regime, he just said he was glad that the two cultures were able to meet and play basketball.

  • CE||

    Seems like North Korea quieted down a bit after the Worm's visit, didn't they?

  • ||

    Climate resilience.

    What the fuck does that mean?

  • tarran||

    The Cult recognizes that reality has been refusing to cooperate with their superstitions, so they are modifying their superstitions to be less vulnerable to falsification.

  • Mike M.||

    "Yes, sure, I and my spoiled wife and children fly around the world on Air Force One going on lavish hundred million dollar vacations at taxpayer expense. But you want electricity?? F*** you and go back to your little mud huts!"

  • Anders||

    Mud huts kick ass, peon. That's where we hid my college transcripts.

  • Anders||

    Mud huts kick ass, peon. That's where we hid my college transcripts.

  • Spartacus||

    Eliminating double posting would reduce emissions by 200 bazillion tons every year.

  • Russell||

    "countries that are still developing, obviously they shouldn’t be resigned to poverty simply because the West and Europe and America got there first. "

    Thank you, Mister President: I t must gladden Bill Moyers heart to see the War On Coal join the War on Poverty in a race to the bottom:

  • Brandon||

    The United States actually reduced our carbon emissions more than any other country since I came into office.

    Despite my best efforts.

  • MJGreen||

    The United States actually reduced our carbon emissions more than any other country since I came into office. I just want to make that point.

    Oh, you just want to make that point. That's cool.

  • pan fried wylie||

    7 Billion Dollars.

    what. fucking. part. of. the. word. deficit. is. so. fucking. hard. to. understand.

  • CE||

    Yet somehow he promised them 7 billion dollars he doesn't have for green energy projects.... They should have laughed and said, "isn't the US federal government technically bankrupt? Maybe we can loan you some money!"

  • pan fried wylie||

    "we just need the Treasury's bank account info..."

  • pan fried wylie||

    "In other news, The United States Federal Gov't had its identity stolen today..."

  • DavidShellenberger||

    More importantly, anthropogenic climate change is a hoax.

  • icemaker||

    If the president really wants to help Africans cope with a warming planet, he would forthrightly tell their governments to stop stealing from their citizens, adopt the rule of law, and open their markets to free trade, so that they could create the wealth needed for climate resilience.I believe the situation in Africa will be better.

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