Protest under Afrika Vuka
Climate activists have called out Nigerian and African governments, financiers and fossil fuel companies over their continued involvement in fossil fuels projects, which wreak havoc on communities and ecosystems across Africa, not to mention the harsh climate impacts they occasion.
Africa, though the least emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) of about 4 percent, ironically suffers the most from the vagaries of climate change.
Recently, the African Development Bank (AfDB) lamented that climate change was inflicting costs to Africa between $7 billion and $15 billion annually. Additionally, the IMF said, the costs could rise to as much as $50 billion by 2040.
As the UN climate talks ended in Glasgow on November 12, energy stakeholders in Africa later congregated in Cape Town for the Africa Energy Week. The event was met with protests by climate activists in Cape Town, who called out African governments and fossil fuel companies for their continued support to and development of fossil fuel projects, which they said wreak havoc on communities and ecosystems across Africa.
The activists, who gathered under the auspices of Afrika Vuka, a movement of citizens across the African continent, aimed at uniting campaigns and movements working to end the age of fossil fuels in Africa and pushing for the move to clean, renewable energy, called for a shift away from fossil fuels and a gradual transition to renewable energy and green economies, a move that is key to keeping global heating below 1.5 degrees and limiting climate change.
Charity Migwi of 350Africa.org said, “at a time when the world’s leaders and other stakeholders are deliberating on solutions to the climate crisis, Africa energy stakeholders should be charting the way forward to a fossil-free, sustainable clean energy future. Instead, they continue to support the development of fossil fuels and are working with fossil fuel companies to implement more of these harmful projects. Africans do not want to be locked into a dirty energy future, when renewable energy potential is perfectly abundant in our continent. We are calling on African governments to stop issuing licenses for fossil fuel projects and for financiers to support governments by investing in plans that will accelerate a just transition to renewable energy. On their part, fossil fuel companies must also move away from fuelling the climate crisis, rapidly phase out fossil fuel production and plan an equitable transition to renewable energy and sustainable economies.”
Meanwhile, the EACOP coordinator, Omar Elmawi said companies such as Total and Standard Bank that are involved in the East African crude oil pipeline have chosen to place their interests above those of the local communities.
“EACOP is ill-advised as it is expected to affect over 100,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania, with many unable to use their land, which is their main source of livelihood. The heating of oil would also release an estimated 34.3 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a year. It is not time to sit and plot how to gain at the expense of the communities and the planet.
“… it is time for energy stakeholders here to halt these harmful projects that are only profitable to multinationals and instead explore renewable energy to meet the energy needs of Africa,” Elmawi warned.
According to Daouda Gueye of RAPEN, the government of Senegal should strive for an economy powered by renewable sources of energy that protect and respect the rights, livelihoods, environment, and future of all Senegalese people.
“The construction of the Bargny coal-fired plant poses a serious threat to human beings and the environment. Coal-fired power plants are linked to human rights violations, health impacts and environmental destruction and internal displacements of thousands of families. Plans to convert the plant into a gas one should also be halted, as gas is not the solution to our energy needs,” Gueye said.