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‘Don’t gas the global south’ — activists kick against fossil fuels at COP28

‘Don’t gas the global south’ — activists kick against fossil fuels at COP28
December 05
09:23 2023

A group of civil society organisations and activists from Africa and Asia have kicked against plans by leaders of developing countries to use gas as a transition fuel. 

In a protest staged on Tuesday at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, these activists chanting “don’t gas Africa, don’t gas Asia” said they do not want their governments to set up LNG infrastructure and gas plants in developing countries already bearing the brunt of fossil fuels.

They advocated that abundant sunlight and wind in their countries should be used to generate the needed energy instead.

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They also said there should be adoption of energy solutions that are compatible with food systems, land rights, and rights of indigenous peoples and women. 

Chiponda: We want to see a clear phase-out of fossil fuels and energy transition should not include gas as a transition fuel.

Speaking to TheCable, Lorraine Chiponda, ‘Don’t Gas Africa Campaign’ facilitator, said there is a need for more commitment to do away with fossil fuels and to revamp the global finance architecture.

She added that this would provide more transition funds for Africa and other poor countries. 

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“There is now much more resistance against the increase in gas, however, we still see that appetite by our African government to invest in gas,” she said.

“In Africa, we have got two countries that have passed the just energy transition partnership but there still seems to be a confusion as to what just transition is and what it entails.

“And that is why we are seeing more African leaders saying that gas is a transition fuel which is another fossil solution.

“So as regards progress, we still want to see a clear phase-out of fossil fuels and energy transition should not include gas as a transition fuel.

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“Gas is going to result in land-grabbing, exclusion of communities from their oceans as we are already seeing what is happening in Mozambique and Senegal where fisher folks are being removed from the coastal areas to pave way for gas exploration.

“So we are saying no to that. Gas and fossil fuels should not have a place in this transition.”

She said research has found that Africa is well positioned to provide leadership and can make the switch from dirty energy.

She added that African leaders need to increase their ambitions and that developed countries should cooperate and stop the export of gas from Africa. 

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‘WE WANT CLIMATE JUSTICE; OUR FUTURE SHOULD NOT BE GASSED’

Rivera: Our rivers, our lands and seas are dying.

Ian Rivera, national coordinator, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, said the demand for climate justice has become more pronounced now more than ever before because negotiations on phasing out fossil fuel have been slow-paced.

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He added that if this is allowed to continue, global temperatures will surpass the 1.5C limit. 

“Our rivers, our lands and seas are dying. We want to raise our voice against this dirty energy, against this fossil fuels. Our future should not be gassed, our future should be a future of humanity,” he said. 

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“We will fight here and inside, we will keep on fighting because there is no way for our hope other than to keep on struggling.

“That is why we need to scale up the fight, the struggle and the phase-out of fossil fuels.

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“The COP presidency here messed up with the science by saying that there is no science for the phase-out of fossil fuels. Of course there is science, since 1992.

“There is progress but very very minimal progress. But we should not lose hope. The fight will continue to prevent the expansion of fossil fuels.”

‘THE SUCCESS OF COP28 WILL BE DETERMINED BY FOSSIL FUEL PHASE-OUT’

On her part, Charity Migwi of Oil Change International, said the success of COP28 will be determined by fossil fuel phase-out, while adding that it is a “shame” that the leader of the conference is a fossil fuel CEO.

“Even if it takes 100 COPs, we will not stop protesting and raising our voices until we achieve the phase-out of fossil fuels,” she said. 

“It is a shame that the leader of this COP28 is a fossil fuel CEO and as much as we want to give different countries a chance to participate in hosting the COPs, I think this time we have to see the outcome.

“I don’t think it’s looking that positive based on what the presidency has been saying, but I think if he wants this COP to be a success, if he wants his reputation to remain intact and to remain decent enough, he has to engineer a fossil fuel phase-out.

“Because we as civil society are not going to accept anything less than that and we will keep on pushing and adding pressure, weeks after weeks and he just needs to listen to the science.” 

Meanwhile, Sultan Al-Jaber, the COP28 president, has come under intense criticisms at the conference for saying there is “no science” indicating that a phase-out of fossil fuels is needed to restrict global heating to 1.5C. 

The oil chief has been including fossil fuel messaging in his speeches and statements at the conference.

In his opening speech on the first day of COP28, Al-Jaber had said “fossil fuel language should be included in the negotiations” because the world has “no choice but to go the very unconventional way”.

“I know there are strong views about the idea of including language on fossil fuels and renewables in the negotiations. We have the power to do something unprecedented,” Al-Jaber said. 

“In fact, we have no choice but to go the very unconventional way.”

Below are photos of protesting activists.

 

 

 



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