Europe Is Trying to Solve Its Energy Crisis With Fossil Fuel Projects in Africa

Food and fuel prices have risen worldwide, and Russian oil and natural gas supplies have been reduced since the invasion. European governments are making massive investments in fossil fuels, from non-Russian sources, to counter climate change efforts.

Policies are being made to suit fossil fuel companies, who see Russia’s war in Ukraine as an opportunity to expand production elsewhere. Governments are missing opportunities to cut oil and gas use by managing demand — by insulating homes and shifting from car-based urban transport systems, for example — and speeding the shift to electricity generation from solar and wind power.

Inadequate economic responses to the crisis are a consequence of government failures in the face the climate crisis. These include scorching summer temperatures, droughts, and other extreme weather conditions. Inflation and recession are combining to threaten hundreds of millions of people’s livelihoods. These attacks are being met with growing resistance. A wave of strikes is likely to hit the U.K. as the country experiences its largest strike in decades.

Activists are trying to unite protests over living standard with actions that reduce fossil fuel usage and limit global warming. As never before, it is essential to unite the fights for social justice as well as climate justice.

Responses to Rising Fuel Prices

Already alarming increases in fuel prices were accelerated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Feb. Gas prices in Europe have increased eightfold since the beginning of 2021. Oil prices have increased from $50/barrel to $120/barrel between March and now, but they have remained above $90/barrel.

European governments’ “emergency” response measures, aimed at sourcing non-Russian supplies, included approving fossil fuel production projects that will not come on stream for years.

In April, the U.K. government was the leader in this effort with its Energy Security Strategy, which commits to license new gas projects — in direct opposition to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme’s calls to cease new gas and oil exploration and extraction immediately. The strategy did not include any measures to increase insulation in U.K. homes. This is what energy researchers consider the best way to reduce gas consumption.

Instead, money was promised for fossil fuel companies’ beloved techno-fixes, including hydrogen carbon capture.

The RePowerEU planThe European Commission, which is the executive arm and executive arm of EU, committed some resources towards reducing fossil fuel consumption by retrofitting homes, reforming transport systems, and accelerating renewables growth. But it’s not enough.

It also approved billions of dollars in new gas infrastructure — “a slower, costlier and more environmentally damaging answer to the bloc’s energy security needs” than renewables and retrofitting, a Global Energy Monitor report showed.

Brussels also backs a scheme to import “green” hydrogen, produced from renewables, from north Africa, and, in the future, Ukraine. Opponents say it is “neocolonial greenwash,” and that new renewables capacity should instead be geared to those countries’ own energy needs.

The most dangerous plan to boost African gas production, with European gas exports replacing Russian gas supplies, is the one supported by European governments.

In May, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signedMacky Sall, the President of Senegal, has reached an agreement to explore for natural gas that can be liquefied to send to Europe by ship. African Union leaders were present in June discussedMaking a joint call to Egypt’s COP27 international climate talks in November for increased oil and gas production across the continent.

The corporate offensive goes hand in hand with the political one. Oil and gas producers are consideringNew projects in Africa worth more than $100 Billion Reuters shows.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Italy’s energy group Eni has signedNew deals with Algeria, Egypt, and the Republic of Congo are aimed at exporting more gas into Europe; TotalEnergies of France has. consideringShell is reviving a $20 billion stalled liquefied gas (LNG), project in Mozambique. Equinor of Norway joined Shell. signTanzania and Tanzania have reached an agreement on the construction of an export terminal for liquified petroleum gas (LNG).

Civil Society Resists

The plans to invest in oil and natural gas have provoked anger from the civil society of Africa. A blueprint presented to African Union leaders failed to explain “why current, largely centralised, largely fossil fuel-dependent, largely export-oriented energy systems have failed to deliver energy access to hundreds of millions of ordinary Africans,” a memo from NGOs stated. The focus for each region should be on using each continent’s own “massive renewable energy potential” to end energy poverty domestically, they demanded.

Mohamed Adow, Director of Power Shift Africa, said that locking Africa into “a fossil-fuel-based future” would be “a shameful betrayal.” Lorraine Chiponda of Africa Coal Network said the oil and gas investment plans are “not directed by Africa’s needs, but by the energy crisis in Europe.” The proposals were also rejectedby climate diplomats, which includes those representing the Egyptian presidency at COP27.

The focus on gas export can only increase the burden borne by Africa’s poorest people, who have little or no access to electricity or other modern forms of energy. The number of people who do not have electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa is increasing. rose by about 4 percent between 2019 and 2021The population fell to 590million (43 percent) due to the coronavirus Pandemic, lockdowns, and energy prices. This effectively reverses the gains made in 2014-18. The number of Africans lacking access to clean cooking fuels also rose, to more than 970 million, almost three-quarters of the continent’s population. They rely heavily on gathered wood and animal and agricultural wastes for cooking.

The situation has been made worse by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The UN Development Programme estimates that since March, another 71 million people living in poverty have been affected by rising fuel and food prices. reportedJuly

Energy specialists argue that developing Africa’s gigantic solar and wind potential is the means to address energy poverty. This potential is hampered by the investment of resources in LNG export terminals.

The Shadow Over COP27

The approach by the biggest European governments — limited action on energy conservation and renewables, plus billions for new gas projects, hydrogen and carbon capture — bears comparison with those of China and the U.S., the largest and second-largest greenhouse gas emitters respectively.

China continues to increase its coal consumption and production, despite investing heavily in renewables. Its emissions trajectory is compatible with 3 degrees Celsius (3°C) of global heating, as opposed to the science-based target of 1.5°C, Climate Action TrackerResearch shows.

In the U.S., Democratic politicians this month congratulated themselves on passing the Inflation Reduction Act, which included $369 billion for climate measures such as support for electric vehicle purchases, carbon capture and renewables — but, as campaigners warnedNo restrictions on the use of fossil fuels.

Analysts believe that the package could reduce U.S. emissions to 60 percent of 2005 levels. estimated — 10-12 percent above the target set by President Joe Biden just last year. Climate Action Tracker deems that target itself “insufficient,” and compatible with 2.4°C of warming. The U.S. and other wealthy nations have yet to contribute $100 billion to climate finance for vulnerable nations by 2020.

All this adds up in the eventuality of COP27, just like other COPs, obstructing, undermining, and threatening efforts to combat the climate crisis. The entire society needs to be aware of the importance of this issue. FindThere are other solutions than the talk and the greenwash surrounding them.

Social Justice and Climate Justice

Rising fuel prices in Europe and North America are threatening millions upon millions of families. They will no longer be able pay for heating and electricity this winter. The U.K. has seen decades of neoliberal reforms to the market that have removed all restrictions from energy companies and forced households to bear the full cost of rising wholesale prices. The market is set up in such a way that electricity from low cost renewables is included. soldGas prices

Rising energy costs will be evident by January 2023 expected to triple to more than £5000 per year for average households, and will push two-thirds of U.K. families into fuel poverty. More than 100,000 people signed a pledge by the Don’t PayCampaign to refuse to pay their energy bills

The challenge is to uniteThis is the wave of anger at energy companies profiteering from global warming.

In 2018, during the Yellow Vests movement in France, triggered by fuel levies that the government called “green,” the phrase “the elites talk about the end of the world, but we worry about the end of the month” was coined.

Less well-known was the slogan that responded to it — “end of the world, end of the month, same fight!” — which sought to unite social protest with action on climate change. This year, demands such as “insulate Britain” — to retrofit homes, to cut both energy use and bills — have reached towards such unity. There are still many things to do.

The same companies and governments that seek to ramp up fossil fuel production in a climate emergency also seek neo-colonial subjugation of Africa and assault households’ living standards in the Global North and Global South alike.

Social justice and climate justice must be fought together to transform society, and end their dominance.