European and African climate activists have warned members of the European Union and other international oil companies(IOCs) to stop the “dash for fossil gas” from Africa, calling for the introduction of rapid demand reduction measures in Europe, and the development of clean energy solutions in the continent.
The activists selected across Club of Rome, Friends of the Earth International, Germanwatch, The Spanish National Research Council, and many others, made this known in a letter addressed to the Head of States in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and to the European Commission(EU), seen by EnergyDay, on the sideline of the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27), in Egypt.
EnergyDay gathered that the signatories are requesting solidarity with their African ally “Don’t Gas Africa”, a Civil Society Group that is also demanding an end to fossil fuel production in Africa.
The CSOs and right groups warned the EU that any new gas developments in Africa would aggravate climate impacts in the region least responsible for the crisis.
According to the activists, exploration activities in Africa will lead to the devastating impacts that gas extraction has on livelihoods, public health, human rights, and biodiversity.
Meanwhile, the signatories in the letter, acknowledged that the fossil fuel energy crisis, caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is directly affecting European households and workers, especially the most vulnerable and that the governments need to respond to this.
Climate activists are particularly concerned that Europe’s dash for gas in the continent would undermine Africa’s development by locking it into fossil fuel conflicts and debt to cover export-oriented gas production and the costs of these stranded assets.
They insisted that investments in gas exploration also distract from the greater priority to expand access to clean and reliable electricity for the more than 570 million people on the continent who lack access to energy.
The group in the letter said that European governments are making efforts to not only secure new gas from the global market but to proactively invest in new upstream and midstream gas infrastructure.
They also disclosed that Germany, in particular, has led the push for gas investment in Africa.
According to them, In May 2022, Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor visited Senegal to pursue new projects there in October 2022, by financing the exploration of gas fields in that country.
They alleged that Germany also made attempts at the European Council to get EU states to support gas extraction.
They said. “In September, EU’s Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell encouraged the Mozambique government to accelerate a gas programme which has led to the displacement of thousands and the fueling of violent insurgency and conflict.”
Lorraine Chiponda, Facilitator of Don’t Gas Africa, on the sideline of the 27th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) encouraged Nigeria and other African leaders to stop oil production, and instead focus on renewable energy sources.
Chiponda made this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Sharm El-Sheikh at the ongoing COP27.
The climate activist said Africa should be focusing its expertise on building robust renewable energy infrastructure rather than expanding oil exploration.
She said, “We are faced with a life-threatening crisis, that is the climate crisis, which is caused by global warming, which is caused by burning of fossil fuels.
“So we should be closing down fossil fuel pipelines rather than allow African people to continue to die because of climate disasters.
“Renewable energy is the way to go, it has become cheaper in terms of investment and it’s going to create cleaner jobs,” Chiponda said.
She also stressed the need for multinational oil companies (mainly from Europe, and the U.S) to be held accountable for the damage caused to the environment in Africa.
The activist maintained that these oil companies continue to exploit Africa for business profits while going green in their home countries.
” Oil companies need to transition themselves, they need to be accountable for the climate impacts that they have caused.
” They have devastated the environment, they need to be held accountable and rehabilitate the environment that they have damaged,” she said.
Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy, Climate Action Network also highlighted the need for developed countries to address the issue of climate “loss and damage” in Africa.