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Tipsheet

'Lunacy': Biden Blasted for Why He’s Sending Taxpayer Money to South Africa

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Biden was criticized this week after pledging to send taxpayer money to help South Africa go green.

During remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, the president said funds would help replace coal plants with renewable energy in South Africa and bring clean hydrogen to the region.

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“Today’s announcements join a portfolio of Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment projects already underway in Africa, including mobilizing $8 billion in public and private finance to help South Africa replace coal-fired power plants with renewable energy sources and develop cutting-edge energy solutions like clean hydrogen; a deal worth $2 billion to build solar energy projects in Angola; $600 million in high-speed telecommunications cable that will connect Southeast Asia to Europe via Egypt and the Horn of Africa and help bring high-speed Internet connectivity to countries all along the way,” he said of the effort by the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Germany and the European Union to transition South Africa from coal.


South Africa, which is the world's 12th biggest emitter of climate-warming gases and heavily reliant on ageing coal-fired power stations for its electricity, said the money would help it deliver on a more ambitious pledge to reduce emissions by 2030.

Biden announced U.S. participation in the project at a joint event at COP26 with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who first discussed it last week. 

He said the United States would provide financing to bolster global efforts to reach net zero emissions "by closing South Africa's coal plants ahead of schedule and investing in clean alternatives ... for the people of South Africa."

President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the agreement marked a "watershed moment" for South Africa and the world, while von der Leyen that the "just energy transition partnership" could provide a blueprint for work with other countries. […]

Biden did not specify Washington's financial contribution, but underscored its commitment to follow through on pledges made by the Group of Seven advanced economies in June to accelerate the transition away from coal in developing countries. (Reuters)

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The president explained the upgrades were necessary to establish reliable infrastructure for trade, but critics didn’t see it that way.


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