Civil society organisations (CSOs) from Africa have kicked against plans by African leaders to project the idea of using gas as a transition fuel for the continent.
The CSOs — Climate Action Network Africa, Power Shift Africa, 350.org –warned that Africa risks locking the continent into fossil fuels for decades with the recent consideration by leaders to prioritise fossil gas and nuclear energy over cleaner renewables.
The development comes on the backdrop of a technical committee of the African Union made up of energy ministers who proposed an “African common position on energy access and transition”.
This position is predicated on the continued use of fossil gas and nuclear energy, at the expense of renewables, and is proposed for adoption by African heads of state at COP27.
According to Environews, the CSOs listed their complaints in the African energy access and transition memorandum, and said the move will distract from the clear need for renewables, damage the viability of global climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement and also shift dangerous and unwanted nuclear technologies from Europe to Africa.
“Africa is blessed with an abundance of wind, solar and other clean renewable energies. African leaders should be maximising this potential and harnessing the abundant wind and sun, which will help boost energy access and tackle climate change,” Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, said.
“What Africa does not need is to be shackled with expensive fossil fuel infrastructure which will be obsolete in a few years as the climate crisis worsens.
“It would be a shameful betrayal of African people, already on the front line of the climate crisis, if African leaders use this November’s COP27 climate summit on African soil to lock Africa into a fossil fuel-based future.
“Africa does not need the dirty energy of the past; it needs forward looking leadership that can take advantage of the clean energy of the present and future.”
For Charity Migwi, Africa regional campaigner at 350.org, such position on fossil fuels is unacceptable.
“As a concerned African citizen, it is totally unacceptable for African leaders to prioritise gas while millions hardest hit by the unfolding climate crisis are struggling to adapt to the devastating realities of climate change,” Migwi said.
Sixbert Mwanga, coordinator of Climate Action Network Africa, said: “The African continent is endowed with so many and high quality renewable energy sources including solar, wind , geothermal, tidal which could benefit its people. At COP27, we call for the African Union and African leaders to announce the utilisation of these sources for the benefit of our people and leave aside fossil fuel development for export.”
Ubrei-Joe Mariere Maimoni, Climate Justice and Energy project coordinator of Friends of the Earth Africa, said: “Fossil fuels and extractivism especially on the continent of Africa have brought tales of sorrow, tears and blood. Communities have been made to unjustly sacrifice their lands, livelihoods and even their dignity, and humanity, to enrich developed nations, transnational corporations and African elites. We demand that African leaders stop all new gas exploration and fossil fuels on our continent, already facing the ravages of the climate crisis.
“COP27 should instead be a space to empower people-centered renewable energy solutions. We say no to false solutions. We demand public climate finance, and technology transfer to help support a just transition to clean new renewable energy for the peoples.”