Climate transition should not mean Africa’s global energy red line


The author is the CEO of Africa Center

The COP26 in Glasgow came and went, reinvigorating talks about our last chance to tackle the climate crisis with great fanfare.

Perhaps the most prominent is that 20 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, announced that they will stop funding all overseas fossil fuel projects.

Although this may seem like a step in the right direction at first glance, it is particularly irritating that rich countries that have implemented policies to block the financing of fossil fuel power generation in poor countries are actively building and funding similar projects in their own countries.

This not only exposes a large part of the world’s population to persistent energy poverty, but also runs counter to the climate justice gospel preached by the leaders of many wealthy countries.

The financial ban that only applies to poor countries is a textbook example of “environmental racism” described by the scholar Robert Bullard, who is known as the father of environmental justice-“anything that has a different impact or detriment to the environment Policies, practices, or directives (whether intentionally or unintentionally) are based on individuals, groups, or communities based on race.”

You can also call it a form of the global “red line”. In the United States, this is the name for systematically refusing to provide mortgages to potential black homebuyers.

Historically, this practice prevented blacks from accumulating wealth by owning houses and prevented investment in black communities, while at the same time providing the same opportunities for whites in white areas.

Today’s racial differences can be traced back to the red line policy. White Americans have Greater wealth, Lower unemployment rate, Higher life expectancy, Better nutrition with Feel safer in their community Than black Americans.

The global energy red line is already happening.With the closure of African fossil fuel financing routes, Belgium has just announced that it will Launched 2.3 GW of new gas-fired power generation, German plan Continue to use coal until 2030 and Norway Intend to continue to produce oil and natural gas.

In the United States, the Biden administration is commendable Public commitment Put environmental and economic justice at the core of everything it does.But although gas-fired power plants still produce 40% of U.S. electricity, The government has announced plans Phasing out natural gas investment in poor countries, Which will widen the global gap between rich and poor.

The United States is also working with Europe to put pressure on institutions such as the World Bank, whose mission is to promote the growth of capital-constrained countries. Get rid of all fossil fuels. Who are these capital-constrained countries? Most are Africans.

Since the United States finds the red line too late, for a group, worse economic and social outcomes usually mean that everyone has lost opportunities. We must solve the problem of carbon emissions from fossil fuels and achieve net zero emissions. But Africans should not tolerate a system that requires us to “carbon finance” the lifestyles of more white and wealthier countries.

Therefore, African leaders should continue to be clear that international development financial institutions need to provide flexible financing for natural gas projects to replace dirty or expensive fossil fuel options. They must ask rich countries to use their wealth-partly acquired through colonial exploitation-to find a quick way to reduce their own share of carbon emissions.

After all, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We all have to show that this is not just some expensive, politically correct, green bunny hugs, it’s vital. “This is a concrete action on climate justice, which will benefit the entire world.



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