US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry has argued against the viability of the long-term gas projects in Africa.
The envoy made it known that those investing in such projects would struggle to recoup their investments beyond the year 2030 and advised the need to be cautious about such long-term investments.
Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the African environment ministers’ conference in Dakar, Senegal, Kerry said “we do not have to rush to go backward, we need to be very careful about exactly how much we are going to deploy, how it is going to be paid for, over what period and how do you capture the emissions,”.
He also clarified that he is not entirely against oil and gas but that they should only serve as a transition to cleaner energy considering the fact that the world is now trying to ditch fossil fuels as much as it possibly can.
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Note that Kerry’s argument is coming at a critical moment in the energy transition conversation.
Even though innumerable western countries are already attempting to ditch fossil fuels for cleaner energy, the majority of African countries are just getting started to harness their oil and gas reserves in order to generate electricity which would help power industrialization.
The impact that this would have in the long run due to greenhouse emissions and climate change continues to worry a number of Westerners.
As far as the global carbon emissions index is concerned, African countries account for a small proportion of those numbers and that is due to the level of industrialization on the continent which is just picking up pace.
Even though Africa is generally new to industrialization, the effects caused by developed countries across the world have affected the continent disproportionately ranging from bad effects of climate change that have led to chronic drought in places such as Ethiopia, Somalia, and Northern Kenya as well as desertification in the Sahel or flooding in South Sudan and everywhere else.
Regardless of the challenges, many African countries are determined to make adequate use of their oil and gas reserves to power their industrialization which should be very understandable.
Even at that, African countries still show interest in cleaner energy sources and are willing to work with developed countries in order to build climate resilience projects throughout the interior of the continent.