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Activists: Decades of fossil fuels have failed Africa — it’s time for shift to renewables

Activists: Decades of fossil fuels have failed Africa — it’s time for shift to renewables
March 03
20:30 2022

Nnimmo Bassey, director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), and Anabela Lemos of Friends of the Earth Mozambique, say the many years of using fossil fuels for energy development in Africa has not yielded the needed results. 

In a newsletter by HOMEF on March 2, Bassey and Lemos said fossil fuels have caused “real harm”, adding that it is time to shift to renewables which are “environmentally and ethically superior” to fossil fuels.

The environmental activists said Africa should avoid the fossil-fuel-burning habits in their quest for economic development. 

“Decades of fossil fuel development have failed to deliver energy to much of the continent and have built economic models dependent on extraction that have deepened inequality, caused environmental damage, stoked corruption, and encouraged political repression,” the statement reads. 

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“Pouring more money into fossil fuels will not only perpetuate this dynamic but also delay the necessary shift to renewables.

“The likes of solar and wind energy are not just environmentally and ethically superior to coal, oil, and gas; thanks to advances in battery and energy storage, they are becoming cheaper and more practical alternatives to fossil fuels. 

“African countries should avoid the fossil-fuel-burning habits of other countries not just because it is the right thing to do but also because it is the sensible thing to do.”

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The activists described Europe, North America, and East Asia as “disproportionately responsible” for causing the climate crisis, and said the countries should bear the greatest burden of addressing climate change.

They also said Vice-President Yemi Osinbanjo’s advocacy against divestment from fossil fuel is far from generating prosperity and stability in sub-Saharan Africa because investments in fossil fuels cause real harm.

“Some governments, financial institutions, and companies in those countries have begun taking long-overdue action. They have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to boosting investments in renewable energies as part of a broader transition away from fossil fuels,” they said.

“In August 2021, Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo bemoaned these divestments in Foreign Affairs…In Osinbajo’s view, countries like his still need to rely on fossil fuels to speed development and to bridge the long-term transition to a green economy.

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“But far from generating prosperity and stability in sub-Saharan Africa, investments in fossil fuels cause real harm.”



This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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