If in the coming decades, Africa was to achieve rapid economic growth of the kind that China has experienced, it would lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But as the rich world can attest, economic growth both requires energy consumption and leads to more of it, most of which must be provided by fossil fuels.
Without abundant fuel and power, prosperity is impossible: workers cannot amplify their production, doctors cannot preserve vaccines, students cannot learn after dark, goods cannot get to market. Nearly 700 million Africans rely mainly on wood or dung to cook and heat with, and 600 million have no access to electric light. Britain with 60 million people has nearly as much electricity generating capacity as the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, minus South Africa with 800 million.
A recent report from the non-profit Center for Global Development estimates that $10 billion invested in renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa could provide electricity for 30 million people. If the same amount of money went into gas fired generation, it would supply about 90 million people—three times as many.
Having failed to stem carbon emissions in rich countries or in rapidly industrializing ones, policy makers have focused their attention on the only remaining target: poor countries that do not emit much carbon to begin with. The Obama administration imposed a cap on emissions from energy projects of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a US federal agency that finances international development. Other institutions of the rich world that have decided to limit support for fossil fuel energy projects include the World Bank and the European Investment Bank. Such decisions have painful consequences.
Former Democratic Governor of California Jerry Brown believes that
poverty stricken residents of the developing world who want to emulate
American prosperity should not be allowed to do so because ‘it’s not
viable.'...............To Read More.....