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Why Africa must resist Western climate hypocrisy

Last year, global warming reached its worst levels, recording 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

In the same year, the world witnessed record-breaking multibillion dollar deals in energy sector especially in the global North. Global oil and gas mergers and acquisitions activity topped $350 billion in 2023, outpacing the 2022’s total by 83 percent, the highest level in the past five years (Dealogic Data).

Admitting the enormous challenge at hand, the International Energy Agency (IEA), recently noted that for decades, the share of fossil fuels in the global mix remained extremely high, around 80 per cent, but fell short of directing ‘super’ global polluters to reduce emissions to acceptable levels or begin paying for their ‘sins’ through carbon credits and taxes.

In Africa, where for centuries, costly imperial covert operations that curtailed and stifled continental efforts to exploit and develop her natural resources are currently exploiting climate crisis, to ensure fossil fuels remain idle.

As Western government functionaries such as legislators, multilateral lending financial institutions, law firms, and CSOs gang against investments in the $20bn East African Crude Pipeline (EACOP), Canada, which is the fourth world’s oil producer, in its wide bid to export oil beyond USA, is soon celebrating the completion of a multipurpose 1,150km Trans Mountain Pipeline worth $23bn.

Africa, which emits less than five per cent of the total global harmful greenhouse emissions, is being gagged not to exploit its fossil oils so that high unemployment rates, income inequalities, trade and budget deficits, currency fluctuations, low rates of tax-to -GDP, high debt burden, poverty levels, high rates of donor dependency and energy deficits remain unchanged.

According to IEA, close to 750 million Africans live without access to electricity and clean cooking energy. It is also worth noting that the majority shareholders in the EACOP are facing several lawsuits (both civil and criminal) in domestic, East African, and European judicial courts brought largely by foreign parties to stop foreign investors.

Endorsed amid court battles and protests from environmentalists, Canadian multipurpose infrastructure is designed to transport 890,000 barrels of oil per day, compared to our regional EACOP, which is meant to transport 246,000 bbls/day of Uganda’s crude oil for a distance of 1,443km from Kabaale, Hoima in Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga port in Tanzania. 

Fighting to break the dominance of China and Russia on rare earths minerals, Norway becomes the first country in the world to approve commercial-scale deep-sea mining to extract minerals from the seabed amidst protests from environmentalists and scientists who condemned the move, labeling it unprecedented and extremely destructive, likely to send terrible signals to the rest of the world
Germany, whose total energy subsidy reached Euros 290 billion in 2022, recently abandoned the planned oil subsidy cuts for farmers following the two-week protests.

Such a decision from government whose representative in EU parliament has been central in fighting oil developments in Africa is a huge embarrassment not only to Western governments but also to their multilateral and multifaceted lending financial institutions such as World Bank and IMF, which have severally pressured African countries such as Ghana, Angola, Nigeria, Kenya and many others, to cut oil subsidies without appreciating its net effect on inflation and cost of living.

In Kenya, oil subsidies were reinstated after violent protests that caused deaths. In Nigeria, protests caused unrest and are still ongoing since late last year. Responding to Western indifference towards a crisis, other major economic heavy weights in Asia and Middle East are slowly developing similar approaches.

Despite being the biggest investor in renewable - solar energy and wind turbines - China remains the biggest builder of coal power plants, and is responsible for the construction of 96 per cent of all coal power plants in 2023 (Bloomberg).

United Arab Emirates (UAE), the host of Cop 28, left climate activists enraged when it announced shortly before the climate conference that it will continue to produce oil at the same rate as long as the world demands it (UN COP28).

Saudi’ state oil giant, Aramco, in a twist of things, halted its plans to increase production capacity from 12 million barrels of oil per day to 13 million barrels of oil per day but at the same time it is investing $10bn into South African Richards Bay refinery with capacity to produce 300 million barrels of oil per day.

Like American farmers (USA TODAY’s) once asked: does this climate crisis exist or it is a hoax? And if it does exist, why is it that countries most affected by deadly weather calamities like extreme cold weather, strong hurricanes, cyclones, severe cloud bursts, storms, droughts, large wildfires, landslides, pollution, continue to undermine renewable energy sources earmarked as replacement of fossil fuels?

“It is important to reduce carbon emissions to preserve the planet, but oil and natural gas should not be demonized in the medium-term,” Elon Musk, the founder of electric car maker Tesla, said during COP28 conference.

The author is a pan-Africanist researcher and executive director, Safety Watch Initiatives Africa

Comments

+4 #1 Kirwana 2024-04-17 09:50
The deference is, here in Africa we steal all our reserves ending up in a state where we can not sponsor our own projects.

Canada funds her own, example is Ethiopia, was protested for her malt million Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, they kept on their project because their funding was well consolidated project.

More still, we need to join hands in protecting the environment, the fact is; our ecosystem is deteriorating esp. here in Buganda.
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+5 #2 Kirwana 2024-04-17 09:50
We can't have houses build all over and everywhere, no reserved parks no forests, no road side trees.

Even countries whose cities were built in critical weathers like those in South Africa, they have more urban forests than we do, shame on you our leaders.

We were taught Hydro electricity is the cheapest, but in Uganda you cant cook using it, because of the bills.

Even though we have water every where, water is more expensive to the extent you cant water your flower gardens with the piped water. We should reduce on blaming and try to implement the best we can.
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0 #3 Akot 2024-04-17 14:32
Kirwana, thanks.

What happens in Buganda will affect the entire Uganda! Even Canada is warming up, Europe has no more seasons as the earth, air, seas...fight to breath!

Climate change is made worse with endless wars causing so much land pollution, destruction!

Africa MUST protect, forests, wet lands, plant more trees!

Refugees MUST go back home & camps MUST be turned into trees/grass lands!

Africa MUST STOP China & Russia turning the continent into their property & will destroy it for good as all they want is land riches, thus destruction of Africa!
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0 #4 Akot 2024-04-17 14:38
Kirwana, thanks.

Ugandans MUST end Museveni's ownership of their land in UNITY & this comes FIRST, then put in place the kind of governance they want!

Then & only then, will Ugandans be living on land that belongs to them & protect it!

Each day Museveni stays on, he gets more evil!

Just NO to the tribalistic system & UNITY are all Ugandans need, if they want a different tomorrow!
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0 #5 Amando 2024-04-19 10:41
Well captured the hypocrisy of climate change religion, where contrary views are muzzled out of the debate.
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0 #6 Lakwena 2024-04-23 12:58
But Bakoraho Kakura, let us be intellectually honest here! Even if left on our own (at own peril), with our natural resources and/or environment; without the honesty and technological know-how, and advancement, how far could we have gone, before colonialism or since Independence?

Just asking. Not very far because, the reality of backwardness still stares at us right here in Kampala, and worse in our remote villages.

Otherwise, it is the usual mindless blame game. Or, like the usual silly dog barking and chasing a car/truck, and yet daily the hard criminals and/or vandals pass by with their loot.

Or the proverbial silly dog barking at the rouge elephants that rub their itchy bodies on the miserable, little-mud and wattle grass-thatched huts,and goes on to flatten the banana plantation or potato garden; completely ignoring the silly dog and its helpless barking.
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