By Musa Adamu
Environmentalists on the continent of Africa have called on their respective governments to think more of the continent future and less of profiteering by transiting from fossil fuel to renewable energy resources.
They made the call in Abuja where they attended the two weeks long Biannual Meeting of the Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), where Just Energy Transition (JET) was one of the focuses.
The Activists who spoke to Peoples Daily exclusively appealed to the various governments on the continent to follow the global trend and embrace renewable energy sources for sustainable development.
According to David Kureeba of Association of Professional Environmentalists and the Coordinator, Friends of the Earth Africa (FoEI) Uganda, time has come for African Leanders to stop behaving like Rats who eats without remembering tomorrow.
He said apart from the environmental harzards posed to the environment, fossil fuel, which was non renewable, was subject to complete depletion someday, wondering what the continent was leaving for the future generation.
He argued that using job creation and general economic development as reason behind indiscriminate mining and minerals excavation in Africa was not tenable, saying a fully developed renewable energy sector could ensure that and even more.
He said: “In Africa and the world over we are aware that energy is the primary engine for development. Most African countries however see fossil fuel as the only energy and this is a non renewable resources that once depleted there would be a huge challenge.
“So, in the conference we are looking at how the funds gotten from fossil fuel can be invested in the development of the renewable resources for sustainable development.”
He said the task before Africa was to think of how best to transit from the use of fossil fuel to renewable energy.
“This is to ensure that Africa does not continue to mine oil and gas since the devastating effect of climate change is already steering the continent in the face.”
Citing his country, Uganda as example, Kureeba said “There is a creeping experience in Uganda where prolonged drought is being experience now, an experience that was not known to us. As a predominantly agricultural country this experience has come down hard on us since we can no longer predict rain fall.”
He said Uganda recently discovered oil in commercial and the country was already laying a pipe stretching about 1400km, a development he said would exacerbate climate change impact on the country.
“It is unfortunate that most African governments are only concerned with economic growth even when it is at the detriment of the environment. They bother mostly about creating jobs, middle income earners but they overlook the fact that developing renewable energy sector would not only ensure availability of employment opportunity but would also safeguard the future of the environment.”
On her part, Nora Bowvier of Friends of the Earth, Liberia and Coordinator, Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), Liberia, regretted that while it takes political will to overlook economic boom in favour of the environment, it was the quality lacking in African leaders.
She said: “They lack the courage to do what is right especially when it has to do with what with challenge their revenue sources.
“They must put on their thinking cap and device ways through which we can take advantage of our natural, abundant renewable energy resources for sustainable development.”
Kwami Kpondzo, Friends of the Earth, Togo, said African continent must go with the rest of the world in embracing renewable energy, adding that the continent can not afford to go in opposite direction from the rest of the world.
He said: “ We are calling on the government to do needful by joining the global movement from non renewable energy resources to renewable energy resources. They must know that they cannot continue to move in opposite direction from where the rest of the world is headed.
“We are calling on the governments around the African continent to remember that there is a generation after ours and they have the responsibility to save guard their future and that they should not continue to behave as if we are living for today.”
we are here to attend Friends of the Earth International Biannual General Meeting. Before this we had the Pre- Conference general meeting for FoEI and it was on Just Energy Transition.