Something rather big has changed since 2013: rapidly increasing numbers of people, and even government officials, in the developing world have come to the realization that poor people are entitled to get access to cheap and reliable electricity, and that the only way they are going to get it is by using fossil fuels, mostly coal.
It was back in the early days of this blog, in 2013, that I started writing about the incomprehensible and immoral efforts of international and U.N. bureaucrats to keep the poor of the world poor by denying them access to cheap and reliable electricity. Here is a post from November 2013 titled “The Looking Glass World Of The U.N. Climate Bureaucracy.” That post reported on a conference that had just been held by the U.N. under the auspices of its “Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
The 2013 UN FCCC conference was an opportunity for every third-world corruptocrat to play on the guilt of guilty first worlders by blaming all flukes of the weather on the driving of SUVs and then demanding some kind of “climate reparations” payments to enrich the governing elites of the poor countries while doing absolutely nothing about either the climate or poverty. For example, a New York Times article linked in my piece quoted one John Kioli (“chairman of the Kenya Climate Change Working Group”) as follows:
John Kioli . . . called climate change his country’s “biggest enemy.” Kenya, which straddles the Equator, faces some of the biggest challenges from rising temperatures. . . . Developed countries, Mr. Kioli said, have a moral obligation to shoulder the cost, considering the amount of pollution they have emitted since the Industrial Revolution. “If developed countries are reasonable enough, they are able to understand that they have some responsibility,” he said.
Without doubt, there is plenty of that kind of thinking and approach still around today, particularly at the insanely corrupt U.N. But something rather big has changed since 2013, which is that rapidly increasing numbers of people, and even government officials, in the developing world have come to the realization that the poor people are entitled to get access to cheap and reliable electricity, and that the only way they are going to get it is by using fossil fuels, mostly coal. More and more of these people are not afraid to speak out.
Last week in Washington, D.C., there was the big joint annual meeting of the World Bank and the IMF. The meeting coincided with the release by the Global Warming Policy Foundation of the piece by Rupert Darwall (covered by me here) that excoriated the World Bank for its anti-development stance of refusing to finance anything having to do with fossil fuels. The Washington Post reported on the Washington meeting in an October 14 piece headlined “Global finance leaders warn against complacency.” Don’t bother reading that article. You won’t be surprised to learn that the Washington Post doesn’t even mention the various demands at the meeting by developing world officials that the Bank and IMF stop fighting the development of fossil fuel resources. Remember that WaPo functions today mainly as a means to suppress all news that might actually be important. By the way, I can’t even find an article in the New York Times covering the World Bank/IMF meeting.
So let us turn instead to The Zimbabwean (isn’t the internet wonderful?), which offers an article today headlined “Africa, US question World Bank policy on poor.”
[I]f [the huge] Kariba [dam in Zimbabwe] was built today, the World Bank wouldn’t fund it. Same with the Three Gorges Dam in China, oil wells in Saudi or the coal-fired power stations that account for 60 per cent of Africa’s kilowatts. At the bank’s annual summit last week, hosted by its president Dr Jim Yong Kim, these policies loomed into focus as more than 11,500 delegates, including six from Zimbabwe, converged on Washington. Where else might you find Donald Trump and Robert Mugabe on the same side, along with India, China, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria and a clutch of others calling for change? . . . Some say the bank has been hijacked by an army of lobbyists who want to shut down anything not powered by wind or sunshine. In 2013 the bank adopted an outright ban on funding for coal except where there was no alternative.
After discussing Darwall’s paper (which calls the World Bank the “anti-development bank” for its war against fossil fuel electricity), the Zimbabwean then turns to a delegate from India for a series of quotes:
Indian government minister Piyush Goyal, for example, could have been speaking for Zimbabwe or any developing country when he said, “The people of India want a certain way of life. They want jobs for their children, schools and colleges, hospitals with uninterrupted power.” Solar, he complained, only worked when the sun is shining. “We need a very large amount of baseload power and this can only come from coal. They’re saying to us, ‘we’re sorry but you Indians can only have power for eight hours a day. The rest of the time you must live in darkness.'” More than 300,000,000 Indians are not on the grid, a hot topic at elections….
More on the subject comes from James Delingpole, writing in the UK’s Spectator, “How the World Bank keeps poor nations poor.” Delingpole focuses on Nigeria — Africa’s most populous country — and describes some of the miseries it faces from lack of reliable electricity:
Blackouts and brownouts are common, as they are throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and the costs to the economy are enormous. The local mobile phone company MTM, with 62 million subscribers, spends 70 per cent of its operating expenditure on diesel to keep its network powered up.
And then there is this, from Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance:
“We want to build a coal power plant because we are a country blessed with coal, yet we have a power problem. So it doesn’t take a genius to work out that it will make sense to build a coal power plant. However, we are being blocked because it is not green. This is not fair, because they have an entire western industrialisation that was built on coal-fired energy.”