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West's double standards on coal slammed

by Staff reporter
08 Sep 2022 at 06:40hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday slammed the West's double standards that discourage African countries from generating power from coal while ignoring the fact that these first world countries developed through the use of fossil energy.

The President voiced his concern during an Africa Green Revolution Forum 2022 presidential summit panel discussion which included President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Mohamed  Bazoum of Niger and Tanzania's Vice President Dr Phillip Isdor Mpango.

"The first world wants us to embrace clean energy and yet there is a history of how they developed to where they are," President Mnangagwa said.

"Thermal power, we are told, is dangerous. If they honour their commitment (climate change financing for developing countries) we will use their finance to transition to green energy."

European countries are reverting back to using coal for power generation after a fallout with Russia over its conflict with Ukraine.

This conflict has hit energy supplies in the European Union which relies heavily on Russian gas.

These double standards undermine the West's target to become climate neutral by 2050.

Industrialised countries are the world's biggest polluters and yet it is the African countries which are bearing the brunt of climate change.

Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana have large coal reserves and powerful countries often discourage developing nations from harnessing fossil energy.

"I for one would not abandon thermal power," President Mnangagwa said.

"Some European countries are going back to thermal power. These are double standards. We should be given enough time to transition from fossil energy use. What is happening now makes Africa to wake up."

He said the forthcoming climate conference — COP27 — to be held in Egypt in October, should be a platform for African leaders to amplify the urgent need to address climate change.

"Africa needs co-operation, integration and sharing of experiences. The African voice must be one," President Mnangagwa said to loud applause.

"If they want us to leapfrog to their level, they must pay the cost. Africa must be given the space to transition to green energy.

"Africa must speak with one voice at COP27."

Africa has questioned why it must move away from dirty fuels, delaying access for millions of people to electricity while Europe uses gas to keep its lights on.

Rich countries have been reluctant to fund pipelines and coal power plants because of their emissions.

On the contrary, rich countries have not delivered on promises to help finance green projects that could be an alternative source of energy.

This has irked African leaders who need energy to lift millions out of poverty.

Speaking during the same discussion, President Kagame said Africa needed to adopt strategies that could help build the continent's resilience to climate shocks.

"Africa should not be struggling with food given our natural endowment," he said. "Africa can feed itself."

Dr Mpango said climate change and other extreme events, Covid 19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, had disruptive effects on the country's agricultural systems.

He said his country was food self-sufficient but was now looking inwards to construct fertiliser plants to reduce heavy reliance on foreign imports.

The push by Europe that Africa moves straight to clean energy sources is not viable unless rich countries, private investors and development banks help with funding.

There is enough sunshine and wind in Africa which could be used to generate power but there is little infrastructure to harness it.

Developing countries face much higher financing costs for green projects.

Adding to Africa's frustration is that rich nations have failed to deliver on a target to provide US$100 billion a year in climate finance that was supposed to be met in 2020.

Source - The Herald
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