Rich countries should stop pushing fossil fuels on Africa – don’t we deserve a renewable future too?
(The Guardian, 27 Oct 2023) Rather than racing to extract natural gas, those who caused the climate crisis should help Africa harness its wind and sun.
It’s official: we’re about to reach peak fossil fuels. New figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA) show that the shift to renewable energy is now unstoppable – and that demand for oil and gas should begin to decline by the end of this decade. This decline is not fast enough to prevent our climate warming irreversibly, but it is a death knell for fossil fuels.
In response, leaders of rich countries will be showing off wind turbines on their coasts and pointing to shiny electric cars on their streets. But they’ve spent the past few years persuading African countries to increase their gas expansion instead. There’s $245bn of gas infrastructure planned in Africa, and gas-rich countries such as Mozambique have faced an onslaught of foreign companies fishing for contracts to extract their gas.
Rich countries have always had their eyes on Africa as a new source of gas, but since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove up prices, their thirst for African gas has increased as their own energy security has wobbled.
These projects were pushed as a huge opportunity to boost our economies. But they were never in our interests, because burning or selling fossil fuels is a terrible deal for Africa