Accuracy in Media

Zimbabwe is not only suffering from widespread and out-of-control hyperinflation but also significant power outages. The Associated Press wrote an article that blamed climate change for the country’s power woes rather than focusing on other factors that have contributed to the country’s decline.

The Associated Press covered it in a story headlined, “Amid crippling power cuts, Zimbabwe turns to solar energy,” and promoted the use of solar energy for everyday Zimbabweans. The article detailed that power outages have gone on for almost 19 hours each day and that a long drought was to blame.

The drought meant that water levels were too low to generate power at the country’s hydroelectric dam, the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River. Nearby Lake Kariba, a man-made lake, was only 10 percent full compared to 55 percent at this point last year. As a result, the country’s utility company said it may have to completely shut down the country’s electrical grid.

Falling water levels and the resulting power outages, according to the Associated Press, were caused by climate change. However, the article neglected to mention that Zimbabwe’s longtime authoritarian government ruined the country’s economy. Their monetary policy encouraged the printing of money, which led to the hyperinflation of the country’s currency to 500 percent. Due to hyperinflation, Zimbabwe does not have the assets or cash to import energy from neighboring countries, nor can it invest in finding other energy sources or building more infrastructure for energy use.

Climate change may have been a cause of the current power outage crisis in Zimbabwe, but it was not the sole reason for the country’s woes.

Photo by HBarrison

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