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Monday, April 22, 2024

African Climate Summit: An Opportunity to Decolonize Africa’s Energy

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African and international leaders will attend the African Climate Summit from September 4 to 6 in Nairobi, Kenya.

They will deliberate on Africa’s unified position on the climate crisis ahead of COP28, the global climate talks, in December and develop the Nairobi Declaration for green growth, a blueprint for Africa’s green energy transition.

COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber, who serves as CEO of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC), will also be in attendance.

Oil Change International data shows the growth in oil and gas production in the United Arab Emirates is poised to be among the world’s largest in the next few years and ADNOC is expected to see the second biggest growth among fossil fuel companies. Because of this, all eyes will be on Al Jaber to ensure he will set aside the short-term interests of the oil and gas industry and deliver transformative action at COP28 as promised.

To us, that means a just and equitable energy transition for Africa, phasing out all fossil fuels and bringing an end to the exploitation of our land, resources and communities by Global North countries.

This year, African civil society organisations sent letters to the CEOs of BP, Chevron, Exxon and Shell, among others, warning these companies against investing in the drilling activities of Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica) in the Okavango Basin in Namibia and Botswana.

ReconAfrica’s projections of 120 billion barrels of recoverable oil could produce a “carbon gigabomb” of 51.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to one-sixth of the world’s remaining carbon budget – an amount we simply cannot afford to extract.

The drilling operations have already caused significant legal, social and environmental issues, including destroying forests and crops and risking the destruction of one of the richest biodiversity hotspots on earth. Biodiversity hotspots sustain livelihoods and critical ecosystems.

Extraction in these hotspots threaten livelihoods and species survival across the continent.

BP’s big new gas plans in West Africa pose climate and biodiversity threats in Senegal, and lucrative contracts with ENI, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and Total threaten Mozambique.

Africa’s leaders must take heed that our communities cannot risk a repeat of the devastation the fossil fuel industry brought to the Niger Delta.

The neocolonial model of extracting and exploiting Africa’s resources at any cost must stop.

The African Climate Summit should be an opportunity to chart the continent’s direction towards an equitable and sustainable future that protects our people and communities, and to prepare a coordinated front from African leaders to call for a fast and fair phase-out of all fossil fuels at COP28.

Yet the summit agenda appears to have been hijacked. The focus is on fossil fuel promotion instead of clean energy solutions and carbon credits instead of a just transition towards renewables.

Pushing for fossil fuels will continue to allow Global North countries to exploit our continent’s resources and threaten our future.

Source: Al Jazeera

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