Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Friends of the Earth but not Friends of Africa: How an Environmental Group is Deepening African Energy Poverty

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The second annual Invest in African Energy Forum was held in Paris from May 14-15, uniting over 750 African officials and global investors with the aim of increasing investment in African energy projects. The event served as a clarion call to accelerate sustainable energy in Africa, with discussions centered on financing African renewable energy projects, advancing clean gas projects and mapping a just energy transition in Africa.

Despite the rallying support by Europe and the U.S. to make energy poverty history in Africa, environmental organization Friends of the Earth chose to disrupt proceedings at the end of the two-day event, causing panic by deploying fake grenades and driving delegates and officials out of the venue. This blatant attack on the companies and authorities that are making great strides towards developing Africa is a blatant attack on the continent itself, and shows the biased and anti-African agenda of the organization.

This is not the first time that Friends of the Earth has taken direct action towards keeping Africa undeveloped and in the dark. In Mozambique, the organization has been fighting against the development of the country’s natural gas projects – a clean, widely available and affordable energy resource for the country. The group sued the UK government over its financial support for Mozambique LNG – a 43 million ton per annum offshore project developed by France’s TotalEnergies. It is worth noting that since the start of production at the Eni-led Coral Sul FLNG project in 2022, Mozambique’s GDP grew 6% in just one year, highlighting the role just one gas project can play in the country. Fortunately for Mozambique, the UK Supreme Court rejected the organization’s application to appeal its case against a decision by the UK government to fund the gas project.

The organization’s legal battles and obstruction doesn’t stop there. In South Africa, their actions extend to opposing projects by companies like Shell, impeding financial support for these ventures, and therefore, deepening the country’s energy crisis. Shell is trying to explore for oil and gas offshore South Africa, in a basin where major discoveries have been made in Namibia. Organizations such as Friends of the Earth continue to disrupt this, instigating legal battles that stand to deepen the country’s energy crisis even further. Is eight to ten hours of loadshedding not enough for the organization?

Meanwhile, the organization continues to disrupt the development of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in Uganda – a project which stands to transform both the country and neighboring Tanzania. In 2020, the organization issued a legal case against TotalEnergies for the development of the project, a battle which it continues to wage despite the support by the countries themselves for the project.

However, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) remains undeterred. Representing the voice of the African energy sector, the AEC remains committed to engaging with communities, investors and like-minded individuals who support Africa’s right to choose its energy sources.

“The AEC advocates for a pragmatic approach that embraces all forms of energy, including coal, natural gas, renewables and oil. We stress the importance of constructive engagement with all parties involved and oppose actions that hinder Africa’s energy progress,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC. “We believe that companies like TotalEnergies and Perenco, along with other international firms, are contributing positively by creating jobs and opportunities. Attacking or demonizing these companies, does not address the climate crisis.” According to Friends of the Earth’s website, the vision of the organization is a “peaceful and sustainable world based on societies living in harmony with nature.” The irony here is that the organization continuously shows aggressive acts towards people, companies and events advocating for equality, justice and progress. If the organization has bothered to take part in the Paris event, listen to the discussions and witness the topics, they would realize that the very companies and projects they are attacking are the ones promoting a sustainable and clean energy future. Friends of the Earth Africa – its African-based group – calls on world governments to adopt their plan to achieve 100% renewable energy in Africa by 2050. Yet, this group’s parent organization attacked an energy event that sought to promote investments in African energy – specifically, clean energy.

Friends of the Earth has proven time and time again that they are not friends of Africa. They would rather see the continent remain in the dark than developed through sustainable energy.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.

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