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Trump can save lives in Africa by reversing Obama’s anti-coal policy

by Kathleen Hartnett White & Caleb Rossiter

With a simple executive order reversing an Obama-era ban on exports of our clean coal technology, President Trump can save up to 439,000 lives a year.

That’s the number of Africans whom the World Health Organization estimates die from indoor air pollution because they have to rely on wood, charcoal, or dried animal dung for cooking, heat, and light. According to a top researcher for the WHO, “having an open fire in your kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour.”

Incredibly, our government refuses to assist African governments who want to expand access to electricity beyond the mere one-third who have it now by building new-tech, non-polluting American coal plants similar to the John Turk plant in Arkansas. Why? Because of the climate industrial complex’s dodgy computer models, which project planetary damage in the future due to carbon emissions. Like the COVID models earlier this year, these models can be “tuned” to project any outcome you want. They have been proven, time and again, to be wildly high in their estimates.

To date, U.S. and UN data show no statistically significant increases in rates of hurricanes, droughts, floods, or sea-level rise, whether from natural or human causes. Yet the Trump administration has continued the Obama policy of blocking U.S. Power Africa and World Bank financing for the cheapest, most reliable, and in many cases the only option for African grid electricity — coal-fired plants.

Before he leaves office, Trump can spare Africa this shameful policy with an executive order instructing U.S. officials in Washington and at the World Bank to support the export of American “high efficiency, low emissions” technology. We recently analyzed the challenges and potential of this technology in the African regulatory context in a detailed White Paper, which is available on the website of the CO2 Coalition.

Africans have the human right to the electricity they so desperately need. When it comes to the improvement in health that universal electrification will bring, African Lives Matter.

Kathleen Hartnett White was Texas’ top pollution regulator and was nominated by President Trump to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Caleb Stewart Rossiter was a professor of statistics at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa and is the executive director of the CO2 Coalition of 60 climate scientists and energy engineers.