Energy, environment and the omnibus

As part of the omnibus appropriations bill for 2014, negotiators agreed to include language that exempts certain poor- and middle- income countries from both the OPIC carbon cap and the new carbon policies at OPIC and the Export-Import Bank that are intended to limit overseas coal investments.

ONE cannot support the language currently in the bill because it does not protect the current level of renewable investments made by OPIC. We want to see OPIC’s renewable portfolio expanded, first by protecting what they are doing now, and then by expanding their energy investments in both renewable energy and, where appropriate, natural gas. To do this, ONE is advocating flexibility under the OPIC carbon cap for the poorest, least emitting countries in the world, and protection of the crucial investments OPIC currently makes in renewables. We have always argued that both sides of the equation are necessary if the promise of powering up Africa is to be realized.

ONE has been in discussions with stakeholders in the environmental, development and business communities in Africa and the United States for many months about addressing the fact that 7 in 10 Africans do not have access to electricity. We are especially pleased to have the support of many African NGOs who are at the forefront of the fight against extreme poverty on the continent. Take a look, for example, at this letter signed by the Nigerian Network of NGOs, a group representing one thousand non-governmental organizations in Africa’s most populous country, and this letter of support for our energy poverty advocacy signed by more than 100 NGO workers in Tanzania.

In the US, we are confident that congressional champions on both sides of the aisle and from both chambers will seek a path forward through the Electrify Africa Act to make sure that people living in rural and urban communities in Africa benefit from increased access to electricity.