President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said Africa is tired of Europe’s double standards in dealing with the issue of climate change.
In an opinion posted on his personal website, Museveni said Europe dictates rules on climate change that only Africa must follow. This, he said, must be rejected by all Africans if they are to get out of poverty.
Writing just days after the opening of the COP27 conference in Sham el-Sheikh, Egypt, Museveni said if no climate agreement is signed at the end of the week, everyone must recognize that Europe is responsible.
Museveni said if rich Europe was to contribute to improving access to energy in Africa, up to 600 million people would be lifted out of poverty. “$25 billion per year—less than was spent in six months this year on Western arms for the Ukraine conflict—would, according to IEA estimates, raise 600 million people out of energy poverty by 2030 through such diversification.
Africa could repay the money with the proceeds from energy investments, and it would be possible to employ and grow millions out of poverty.
“If Europe still will not help, then we will get there through our own endeavors and with the support of the willing who do not sermonize,” said the Ugandan president. “Europe’s failure to meet its climate goals should not be Africa’s problem.” But that continent’s determination to write one set of rules for Europeans and a different set for Africans makes it so. “It means Europe is complicit in forcing poverty on Africa, and that is not acceptable and will not stand.”
The president adds that for some years now, Africa has been told that fossil fuel investment for Africans is unacceptable, but they were taken aback when the same Europe that was banning the use of fossil fuels in Africa allowed Western investment in African fossil fuels only for oil and gas resources that will be piped and shipped to Europe.
This, he added, is the purest form of hypocrisy: “We will not accept one rule for them and another for us.” We will not allow African progress to be the victim of Europe’s failure to meet its own climate goals. It is morally bankrupt for Europeans to expect to take Africa’s fossil fuels for their own energy production but refuse to countenance African use of those same fuels for theirs. When decisions like these are being made without a shred of self-awareness or honor, it is no surprise some of my counterparts call for reparations or handouts. But this is the last thing Africans need or want. “We want the brazen double standards to be dialed down, as well as the lifting of the moratorium on fossil fuel investments for Africa herself, so that we can meet the needs of our own people,”
If this is not done, he added, Africa will continue to look elsewhere for investment that comes without lectures attached.
“The surfeit of Chinese energy investment in Africa in recent decades can be seen through this prism.” “More recent arrivals, including the Turks and Indians, are helping build the infrastructure Africans need to raise their continent out of poverty and onto the world stage,” Museveni said.
The Climate Change Conference, dubbed COP27, opened in Egypt over the weekend with calls for climate justice, attracting close to 50,000 people, mostly leaders from around the world.
Countries in the so-called global south want countries in the global north to provide resources to cope with climate change. These poor countries emit less than 10 percent of all global greenhouse gases but are equally affected by these dramatic climatic changes.