The Rush Towards Renewable Energy Could Cripple Africa

By NJ Ayuk
Published August 29, 2022

The Rush Towards Renewable Energy Could Cripple AfricaIn May 2021, International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a report calling for a halt to oil and gas exploration around the globe at the end of the year. That dramatic measure, IEA argued, was the global energy sector’s only hope of achieving net-zero emissions (ensuring the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere equals the amount being removed) by 2050, a goal outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.

While some have put their support behind IEA’s recommendation, a number of oil- and gas-producing nations firmly and un-apologetically rejected it.

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Japan, Norway and the Philippines, like many African countries, have rejected global pressure to rush their transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydrogen power.

The Deputy Director of International Affairs at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Akihisa Matsuda, told Reuters that his government had no plans to immediately stop oil, gas, and coal investments.

“The report provides one suggestion as to how the world can reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, but it is not necessarily in line with the Japanese government’s policy,” Matsuda said. “Japan needs to protect its energy security including a stable supply of electricity, so we will balance this with our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.”

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Norway Oil Minister Tina Bru pushed back against the IEA’s recommendations, too. “It would not if Norway discontinues production,” Bru said. “It would just move to other countries, and then we are no further. This is a complex global problem that requires many solutions.”

And in the Philippines, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said a rush to cut off oil, gas, and coal financing would “set back the Philippines’ aspiration to join the ranks of upper middle-income countries.”

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NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman of African Energy Chamber.

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