Leaders of African countries are expected to push for massive new investments in fossil fuels at the next UN climate summit COP27 in November this year, The Guardian reported.
If Africa does pursue a new exploration for gas as well as the exploitation of its vast reserves of oil, it would make it nearly impossible to limit global warming to 1.5C, which is what is needed, climate experts say, to avoid climate catastrophe.
But soaring gas prices around the world have made the prospect of African supplies even more attractive. Developed countries, including members of the European Union, have indicated their support for such developments due to gas shortages caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
A technical document prepared by the African Union, which is made up of most of Africa’s nations, for a meeting of energy ministers that took place in June indicates many countries favor taking a common position that would inform their negotiating stance at Cop27 this year.
The five-page document has an accompanying 25-page explanation and was made for the “second extraordinary session of the specialized technical committee on transport, transcontinental and interregional infrastructure and energy committee” held June 14-16.
The document states the nations want to hold a position that would entail pushing for an expansion of fossil fuel production across the continent.
“In the short to medium term, fossil fuels, especially natural gas will have to play a crucial role in expanding modern energy access in addition to accelerating the uptake of renewables,” the document states.
Member states of the African Union will meet again, in Addis Ababa, this week to confirm the stance to be taken. They are expected to argue that Africa must be allowed to benefit from its fossil fuel reserves, as rich countries already have done, and that developed countries by contrast must take the lead on sharp cuts to their emissions.
Environmental campaigners across Africa and across the world fear that the exploitation of gas and oil in Africa would destroy global climate targets, and prevent the development of renewable energy in Africa. They argue it will be used used for the benefit of ordinary people and would enrich multinational corporations, investors, and the elite in some countries.