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Environmentalists call for clean energy use in Africa

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By Francis Ogbuagu, Benin City

The need to reduce climate obstacles and other environmental issues within the mother earth of Africa has been recently opted for by five strategic environmental groups in Africa.

The groups called on African governments to stop the acceptance of fossil fuel projects driven by European countries via their Export Credit Agencies (ECAs).

Speaking from Nigeria, the Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria, Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo, stated that “In Nigeria’s oil fields, oil spills and gas flaring have resulted to massive environmental degradation and marine resources depletion, which local people depend on for livelihoods.

“The locals have continued to blame Shell Oil Company, and the Nigerian government for their impoverishment and human rights violations.

“To ensure improved clean energy access, there is the need for a post-petroleum economy devoid of oil and gas and embracing renewable energy sources to reduce carbon footprints and address climate change impact”, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo said.

Other environmental rights group from Africa involved in the research include –  Friends of Earth-Ghana, Abibiman Foundation-Ghana, Environment Governance Institute-Uganda and Friends of Earth-Togo  in cooperation with Milieudefensie/Friends of Earth-Netherland and Both ENDS.

The groups analysed the prospects of a Just Energy Transition for Africa. They also analysed the question as to what best solution is for limiting global warming to 1.5C on the one hand, and facilitating universal energy access on the other hand.

Furthermore, they analysed the question of what role public financial institutions like ECAs could play in terms of promoting a green energy future in Nigeria and other developing countries.

“Export credit agencies provide insurances and guarantees to companies doing business abroad. Despite  international climate agreements and national climate ambitions, export credit agencies continue to support fossil energy projects on a large scale.” Niels Hazekamp of Both ENDS kicked.

According to Nosa Tokunbor of Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria, “The only way out is the phasing out of finances for fossil fuel while channeling same to support renewable energy projects.”

On her part, Isabelle Geuskens of Milieudefensie/ Friends of the Earth Netherlands, laments that “in a world that is increasingly switching to renewable energy, the demand for fossil fuel is unsustainable and bound to decrease drastically.”

The report also revealed that, “In spite of the Paris agreement to cut back on carbon emissions, the rich countries insured dirty energy projects with a total value of 11billion US dollars through their export credit agencies (ECAs).

ECAs insured energy projects in Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and Uganda with a total insured value of approximately 18 billion USD in the period between January 2013 and August 2020.

The available data shows that only 1 percent of the total support to the energy sector consisted of support for renewable energy, in the form of solar projects. No ECA support for wind projects in the four African countries has been found.

“More than half of this export support is related to fossil fuels. Only 1% went to sustainable renewable energy,” it added.

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