hard choices

Can Biden balance the green agenda with Africa’s energy needs?

By Julian Pecquet

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Posted on March 14, 2022 08:25

U.S. President Biden and Commerce Secretary Raimondo hold a virtual meeting with business leaders and state governors, in Washington
U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, U.S., March 9, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Tensions between the Joe Biden administration’s climate agenda and Africa’s development needs hit the congressional scene last month when a conservative Republican denounced the “Left’s neocolonialist ‘green’ energy mindset.”

Channeling a frequent complaint of African leaders, Congressman Scott Perry offered language at an 8 February House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting stating that the shift to renewables “fails to serve the citizens of African nations.”

“It’s important for this committee to reckon with the disastrous environmental policies being imposed on African nations that simply want access to reliable electricity,” Perry said. He urged his colleagues to “hold the far left responsible for their regressive environmental policies in Africa.”

The nakedly partisan amendment to an unrelated resolution on Liberia’s bicentennial went nowhere. But it revealed the raging debate over how to transition to clean energy without mortgaging the developing world’s future.

Nowhere is that challenge more fraught than in Africa.

The continent has contributed least to global emissions but is the most at risk from a

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