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Fossil Fuels for Africa! African Energy Chamber at COP 27

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- November 10, 2022

Ed. note: A recent manifesto from NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber, should be studied by social justice advocates around the world, not only the energy and environmental communities.

“… why should we in Africa give up our fossil fuels – fuels that represent solutions to some of our most pressing needs – when so many others question the wisdom of doing the same? We shouldn’t. And we shouldn’t be forced to.”

“Will fossil fuel development in Africa signal an end to all of the world’s good intentions and net zero ambitions?  Or is this an example of ‘green colonialism’?”

Africans need and deserve affordable, plentiful, reliable energies, not dilute, intermittent, parasitic ones. First class energies for first class people has been a rallying cry here at MasterResource. Paul Driessen, in particular, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death, has held the banner high on the need for developing nations to employ mineral energies, not expensive, politically correct, inferior wind, solar, and batteries.

It is good to see the moral case for fossil fuels in action. Excerpts from a recent manifesto by NJ Ayuk of the African Energy Chamber to the United Nations COP27 conference (now underway) follow:

I am going to COP27 because I believe if Africa is not at the table it will be on the menu…. The way we see it, the world’s wealthy nations’ green agenda ignores Africa – or at least, it dismisses our unique needs, priorities and challenges.

The green agenda of developed nations further ignores the tremendous role that Africa’s oil and gas industry plays in generating African countries’ revenue. Oil revenues represent at least 20% of GDP in Libya, Algeria, Gabon, Chad, Angola, and The Republic of Congo.

In Nigeria, one Africa’s main oil producers, oil represents a more modest percentage of real GDP – about 6% – however, oil and gas account for 95% of foreign exchange income and 80% of government revenues.

The green agenda of wealthy nations ignores those of us who point out that natural gas has the potential to bring life-changing prosperity to the continent in the form of jobs, business opportunities, capacity building and monetization….

The wealthy nations’ green agenda does not consider how much Africa needs natural gas to bring electricity to the growing number of Africans living without it….

Around 600 million Africans lacked access to electricity before the pandemic; and it appears that this figure is growing. According to the International Energy Agency, during 2020 some gains in access were reversed, with as many as 30 million people who previously had access to electricity no longer able to afford it. 

Considering that universal access to affordable, reliable electricity is one of the UN’s sustainable development goals – meaning it’s a basic human right – the huge and growing number of Africans without electricity is morally wrong, and it cannot be ignored.

Unfortunately, climate panic and fear mongering are alive and well, and for some reason, Africa is public enemy number one. A continent that emits a negligible amount of carbon dioxide, at most, 3% of the world’s total, is being disproportionately pegged as a threat to the planet by developed nations.

In particular, the West is vilifying Africa’s energy industry because it is based on fossil fuels, even though the proportion of renewables is growing.  There’s no question that much of this anti-African oil and gas sentiment is based in fear of climate change, which is Interwoven with the sheer terror that a fossil fuel boom in Africa could be devastating to the world at large….

Prominent American climate activist Bill McKibben said that the world can’t fight climate change if Total Energies and Uganda goes through with building the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. Yes, according to McKibben, that one action will derail the entire carbon reduction scheme and offset anything any of the world’s other countries are doing to reach net zero. Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?

What’s even more perplexing—or perhaps outlandish—is that McKibben has taken aim at a pipeline that will transport just 210,000 barrels of oil per day. That’s roughly equivalent to 1.8% of the total output of the U.S., but he claims it must be stopped, or everything falls apart. What’s the point of any climate effort anywhere if it can be undone by a relatively small pipeline that might actually be a lifeline in one of the world’s most impoverished nations?

Energy use on the continent is still very low. So low, in fact, that researchers writing in Foreign Policy magazine estimate that if the one billion people living in sub-Saharan Africa tripled electricity using natural gas, the additional emissions would equal just 0.62% of global carbon dioxide….

Energy use on the continent is so low that the average African consumes less electricity per year than an entire American family’s refrigerator….

We have to ask ourselves: Will fossil fuel development in Africa signal an end to all of the world’s good intentions and net zero ambitions?  Or is this an example of ‘green colonialism’?

I find it interesting that a Financial Times’ public poll, on the day it announced I was going to have an Oxford style debate on this issue, suggested that people are not at all convinced that African countries should abandon oil and gas – 70% of the 619 respondents took my position that Africa should make full use of its fossil fuels….

I am happy to see African energy stakeholders speaking with  a unified voice about African energy industry goals thanks to African Energy Week. Africa Oil Week did everything to divide our voices and we stood firm….

It is imperative [at COP27 in Egypt] that African leaders present a unified voice and strategy for African energy transitions. We must make Africa’s unique needs and circumstances clear and explain the critical role that oil and gas will play….

But, I would love to see Western governments, businesses, financial institutions, and organizations support our efforts… [by not] demonizing the oil and gas industry. We see it constantly, in the media, in policy and investment decisions, and in calls for Africa to leave our fossil fuels in the ground.

We see it with lawsuits to stop financing of Mozambique LNG or lawsuits to prevent Shell from even carrying out a seismic survey. Actions like these, even as Western leaders have pushed OPEC to produce oil, are not fair, and they’re not helpful. Even as western countries are pushing to increase their own production and escalating coal use.

I also would respectfully ask financial institutions to resume financing for African oil and gas projects and stop attempting to block projects like the East African Crude Oil pipeline or Mozambique’s LNG projects.

The 600 million-plus Africans without electricity are suffering. The 890 million Africans without a means of clean cooking are suffering.

I would argue that if we want to protect Africans from harm and misery, we must embrace our natural gas resources…. [Natural gas] is part of modern development, used for clean cooking, process heat, transportation, and as a feedstock for fertilizers….

Using African natural gas to fill the fertilizer feedstock gap will go a long way in mitigating those problems and putting food on the table worldwide. If Africa is allowed to develop its resources, there will be plenty of natural gas to go around….

Think about Europe, which is scrambling to line up enough oil, gas, and coal for the winter— and are looking to Africa for supplies….

So my question is, why should we in Africa give up our fossil fuels – fuels that represent solutions to some of our most pressing needs – when so many others question the wisdom of doing the same? We shouldn’t. And we shouldn’t be forced to.

Final Note

The above plea is clear about Africa and natural gas, in particular. The author, however, couches the above in political correctness (not excerpted). Africa desires to mix in wind and solar, he states, and wants to play a part in Net Zero. Ayuk also hints at manmade climate change as part of the reason for weather extremes in his area (check the time series, please).

Yes, the African Energy Chamber is playing defense at COP27. But the tide is turning. The foes of African energy are not interested in compromise but, as Ayuk notes, “green Colonialism’. The sooner NJ Ayuk and the Chamber recognize this, the faster they can help end the futile crusade against mineral energies.

One Comment for “Fossil Fuels for Africa! African Energy Chamber at COP 27”

  1. John W. Garrett  

    Anybody with half a brain recognizes that Bill McKibben is an outright idiot.


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