By Paul Homewood
I don’t know why they call themselves The Conversation – as they never include articles which go against the climate agenda!
The question of whether Africa should be allowed to exploit its gas reserves, estimated at more than 17.56 trillion cubic meters (620 trillion cubic feet) in 2021, has been much discussed at the latest UN climate change summit, COP27, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Former US vice president Al Gore used his speech at the opening session to urge an end to all fossil fuel investment globally, including in Africa. But Macky Sall, the president of Senegal and chairperson of the African Union, argued at the same event that Africa needs space in Earth’s dwindling carbon budget to use its resources for development.
The gas debate centres on two arguments, either for gas or against it. This is too narrow and fails to consider what development might look like for Africa and other regions that are struggling to grow their economies and address widespread poverty while also taking ambitious climate action. It also neglects the question of what kind of international cooperation might be necessary to make climate-compatible development possible.
Those who argue against expanding fossil gas extraction say that exploiting Africa’s reserves is incompatible with keeping average global temperature rise below 1.5°C, the “safe” limit agreed in Paris in 2015. Renewable energy is now the cheapest way to connect millions of people to power networks in countries where energy poverty is rife, they say.
Those in favour of exploiting Africa’s gas argue that industrialisation – for example, the building of modern transportation systems, hospitals and schools which developed countries enjoy – has relied on burning fossil fuels. Industrialised countries still consume a lot of gas. Germany, for instance, uses the fossil fuel to generate up to 30% of its power.
Natural gas, it is held, could provide enough energy for industrial processes such as steel, cement, paper and pulp manufacturing which renewables such as solar and wind have yet to provide.
A study published in 2021 found that a lack of finance, or the high cost of accessing it, imposes a huge gap between the theoretical and actual cost of generating renewable energy in Africa. And, if African countries are able to diversify their energy portfolio with gas it will, it is argued, increase energy resilience and strengthen the right of African countries to make their own decisions on energy generation, distribution and consumption in a way that they deem appropriate.
Apparently then, Africans are queuing up to get this wonderful, cheap renewable energy, but cannot access the finance. Yet it seems there is plenty of money to spend on developing gas reserves!
Maybe the Africans actually prefer reliable, efficient fossil fuels to intermittent renewables?
But this is something that “The Conversation” don’t get. Their answer is for the West to hand over trillions to pay for wind and solar farms, money which Africa will never be able to repay.
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
November 16, 2022