Despite climate warnings, African countries cling to fossil fuels.
African oil and gas producers are unlikely to pay attention to the growing call to phase out fossil fuels, which are the primary cause of the global climate problem.
The UN climate summit in Glasgow this month added to the pressure by calling for increased efforts to “phase down” unrestricted coal emissions and “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”
After hours of tedious deliberation, the decision was softened, but it was still significant. It was the first time a UN statement specifically mentioned the energy sources that cause global warming.
African producer countries, on the other hand, may well turn a deaf ear to calls for fossils to be phased out sooner rather than later.
They are minor contributions to the greenhouse-gas problem when compared to major polluters, and many argue that abandoning oil and gas at this juncture would stifle progress and exacerbate poverty.
“Limiting the growth of fossil-fuel projects, particularly natural gas projects, will have a profoundly negative impact on Africa,” Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recently stated. Nigeria is Africa’s largest fossil-fuel producer.
In many African countries, natural gas “is a critical instrument for moving people out of poverty,” he said.
Osinbajo resurrected the well-worn argument that a worldwide transition away from carbon-based energies must take into consideration national economic variations.
“The transition must not come at the expense of affordable and reliable energy… (and) the right to sustainable development and poverty eradication,” he said, adding that for poorer countries, “the transition must not come at the expense of affordable and reliable energy… (and) the right to sustainable development and poverty eradication.”
However, his widely held belief that fossil-fuel development aids in poverty eradication collides with some actual facts.
Little of the wealth has trickled down to the poorest in African countries that have reaped the benefits of oil and gas development, and accusations of endless corruption and terrible waste abound.
Oil accounts over half of Angola’s GDP and 89 percent of its exports, making it the second largest crude producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite this, more than half of the 34 million residents live on less than $2 a day, and the unemployment rate is 31%.
President Joao Lourenco has initiated an anti-corruption crusade in the hopes of recovering billions of dollars allegedly misappropriated by his predecessor, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
“If one looks at the pattern of fossil fuels in Africa, it’s apparent that they haven’t helped” to growth, according to Daniel Ribeiro, a Mozambican environmental activist.
“It increases debt, it increases corruption,” he warned.
Authorities in his own country have laid out ambitious plans to utilize vast natural gas resources off the country’s northeastern coast.
Multinational fossil fuel businesses, according to Ribeiro. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.