Today the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is launching its Energy Justice project, seeking to highlight how reliable energy access is central to the problems of people and businesses in the developing world, and showing how it must be central to any attempts to change things for the better.
Energy Justice is centred around a new website, that will highlight our research into some of these areas through reports and videos. To kick off the project, GWPF has designated this “Energy for Africa” week.
In all the discussions about the developing world, about its poverty and its stuttering progress towards a developed future, it is all too easy to forget the ordinary people and their suffering.
So the first paper commissioned as part of the project attempts to put a human face on the question of energy access. Entitled, Heart of Darkness: Why energy poverty is a security issue, this is a deeply personal view of the problems of energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa by journalist Geoff Hill.
From blanket hawkers on the street corners of Johannesburg, to a nyaradzo – a countryside funeral, Hill shows how lack of energy blights the hopes for Africa’s people, tempting the young away from the countryside, to emigrate, or sometimes even to take up lives of crime.
He also shows how new research into clean coal, often driven by Africans themselves, may offer a way out, while also highlighting Africans’ suspicions of the renewable energy “solutions” foisted on them by aid organisations and Western campaigners.
The project will continue with papers on the problems of South Africa’s energy utility Eskom, as well as a series of short videos, highlighting Africa’s energy poverty amidst Western obstruction.