New-tech American Coal-fired Electricity for Africa: Clean Air, Indoors and Out

African Lives Matter Too

New study shows how American clean coal technology can increase access to electricity and cut deaths from indoor air pollution

Coalition of climate scientists and energy engineers calls on President Trump to “pardon” Africa by ending ban on U.S., World Bank support

Arlington, VA. The CO2 Coalition of 60 climate scientists and energy engineers today released a White Paper showing how American “high efficiency – low emissions” power plants can save lives in Africa. Only a third of Africans have access to electricity, and the World Health Organization estimates that 439,000 Africans die every year because they have to cook in their homes with wood and dried animal dung. According to a top researcher for the WHO, “having an open fire in your kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour.”

New-tech American Coal-fired Electricity for Africa: Clean Air, Indoors and Out reports on a field visit and interviews at the “Ultra Super-Critical” John Turk coal-fired power plant that serves Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. The plant eliminates virtually all pollutants from its emissions.

The White Paper reviews ten challenges that the operation of such a plant would face in the African economic and political context, and calls on the U.S. government to support proposals by African governments to import the American technology. Under Obama-era policies that are based on computer models that project a future “climate crisis” from emissions of a non-polluting plant food, carbon dioxide, U.S. foreign aid agencies currently oppose coal-fired electrical generation in Africa.

As the White Paper shows, international energy agencies agree that Africa will continue to use its abundant, inexpensive coal for electricity for decades to come. Unless this American technology is exported, China will build the scores of new power plants without pollution controls.

CO2 Coalition chairman Dr. Patrick Moore welcomed the new paper and its proposals: “It is energy madness and carbon colonialism for the United States to block government financing and World Bank support for the very projects that African governments want, and can operate effectively. Access to electricity is a basic right, and the key to health and life expectancy in Africa. As the White Paper concludes, African lives matter, too.”

The principal researchers for the White Paper are the Honorable Kathleen Hartnett White, formerly Texas’ top pollution regulator as chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and Dr. Caleb Stewart Rossiter, formerly a professor of statistics for public policy at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Hartnett White is a Senior Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and a member of the CO2 Coalition. Rossiter is the executive director of the CO2 Coalition.  

Hartnett White noted: “Electrical power is the central nervous system of a modern economy and modern life expectancy. Africa’s electricity deficit translates directly into its life-expectancy deficit of 15 years per person.”  Rossiter added: “The scourge of indoor air pollution I’ve seen throughout Africa can be wiped out by universal electrification from coal-fired plants. With American ‘scrubbing’ technology, African governments can also fight another killer at the same time: outdoor air pollution. President Trump should pardon Africa before he leaves office by issuing an executive order reversing U.S. opposition to clean coal projects there.”