A Free-Market Energy Blog

Climate Change? Energy Development First! (plea from Mozambique)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- December 7, 2021

“Cutting funding to our Country and our gas projects will condemn us to energy poverty for the next decades. Yes, I understand that climate change is a life or death issue, but so is improving the wellbeing … of Mozambicans…. We need energy and we need it fast.” (Jocelyne Machevo, November 16, 2021)

Accessible, affordable, reliable, sustainable energy is a necessity, not a luxury as in centuries past. And nowhere is this more true than in the developing world. But will the needy get first-class or second-class energy? For the political/intellectual elite wed to climate alarmism/forced energy transformation, wind and solar and batteries are second-class all the way.

This mentality needs to be exposed, challenged, and reversed.

Paul Driessen titled his 2003 book, Eco-Imperialism: Green Power Black Death. Margit Wade’s recent Wall Street Journal piece, “The COP26 Plan to Keep Africa Poor,” began:

As a Senegalese entrepreneur, I can tell you what’s holding Africa back: lack of affordable energy. We live on a continent where the average annual income is less than $2,000, and the majority of people rely on fossil fuels for survival. The climate goals wealthy nations demanded at the recent COP26 summit aren’t only absurd, they are a death sentence for Africans.

Enter Jocelyne Machevo, described at LinkedIn as

“Energy Industry Expert | Leadership Development | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | Local Content | Multi-Awards Winner |Talks about #energy, #youthleadership, #womenempowerment, and #leadershipdevelopment . With 5,628 followers 

She raises key questions that haunt today’s international movement to phase out fossil fuels. While not questioning this goal (an intellectual and strategic mistake, in my view), she raises the issue of ‘why us, why now?’

Here is Ms. Machevo’s post:

When I first saw [the Stop Funding Gas in Mozambique protest] I was failing to understand how could someone raise such a strong message that could negatively compromise the lives of ~30 million people and the development of a whole nation. I chose to believe that these people were talking from a place of unawareness and misinformation. So I will just choose to inform you reading this message so you can understand what is Mozambique, where are we standing and where are we going.

Mozambique is a sub-Saharan developing Country and just like many other sub-Saharan countries, it is still battling to provide access to basic rights. Despite the significant improvements registered in past years we still have a long path to walk. Mozambique is also a resourceful country, besides many things we have discovered a huge amount of gas that placed us amongst the most prospective regions in the world.

As one can certainly understand, the gas industry also acts as a catalyst for further developments and industrialization, so we (Mozambicans) see in these discoveries an opportunity to boost our socio-economic development.

In Mozambique, less than 50% of its population has access to modern and reliable electricity. So we also see in these discoveries an opportunity to leverage on our own resources, using this gas, which happens to be relatively cleaner, to improve access to energy to the Mozambican households and serve as the base load required to boost industrialization. In simple terms, this is our plan as Mozambicans.

On climate change, we must understand that it’s not responding to our annual emissions, it is responding to our cumulative emissions. Data has shown that Africa’s CO2 contribution is minimal while the developed world was busy maximizing the benefits of their own resources and focused on their own development, which is nothing but fair and understandable.

It is now our turn to do the same, to exercise our fairness right.
We have decided to not romanticize and entertain solutions that will not solve our core problems. Renewables at this moment, cannot solve our energy poverty issues, we do not have yet the money, matured technology, infrastructure, policies, just to mention few.

The goal is net zero, the goal is carbon neutrality, let us focus on that. We are focusing on that! We are not saying we are not working towards the goal, we are saying we are working towards the goal adopting a strategy that works for us and it does not harm you.

Cutting funding to our Country and our gas projects will condemn us to energy poverty for the next decades. Yes, I understand that climate change is a life or death issue, but so is improving the wellbeing of our people. And improving the wellbeing of Mozambicans it’s an aspect I believe we are not willing to compromise. We need energy and we need it fast.
I once read or heard this “there is only one story for energy, climate change and development,” I couldn’t agree more.


For other posts on this issue, see:

African Energy Chamber: Fossil Fuels, Please (November 8, 2021)

Vietnam at the Energy Crossroads: Will it Choose the Best Way Forward? (June 30, 2021)

Nigeria Places Its Bet on Oil, Gas, and Coal to Secure Its Energy Future (April 26, 2021)

Renewable Energy vs. Africa’s Renaissance (July 1, 2019)

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