A new strategy released on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, by the European Union has called on the United States, Canada, African and Gulf countries to open up new gas supplies to displace supplies of Russian oil and gas.
Campaigners are however of the view that the strategy fails to address the impacts the energy crisis, the global impacts of the war in Ukraine, and Western sanctions have on developing countries dependent on oil and gas imports.
According to them, it also contravenes the EU’s commitments laid out in the REpowerEU strategy to reduce its gas demand by 30% by 2030.
“It is entirely reckless that the EU calls on African nations to open up more gas supplies to feed their fossil fuel addiction. African countries are faced with a multitude of interlinked and mutually reinforcing crises – climate impacts, water scarcity, energy poverty, insufficient food production, post-covid impacts – leaving millions of people vulnerable and unable to meet their basic needs,” said Landry Ninteretse of 350.org.
Svitlana Romanko, Stand With Ukraine campaign coordinator, Ukraine, said: “Russia’s outrageous war against Ukraine fully exposed Europe’s dependence on fossil fuel imports and lack of political willpower to lead the green revolution globally. The European oil and gas-led energy security has failed, and we have to acknowledge this. The EU is poignantly slow in banning and phasing out Russian fossil fuels and every day still sending about one billion euros to feed Putin’s war machine but far more active in mobilising oil and gas reserves worldwide. This severely undermines the EU global leadership in green transformation declared by the EU Green Deal and brings us back to the dark times of fossil fueled colonialism.”
Maria Pastukhova, Energy Diplomacy at E3G: “In its current form, the External Energy Strategy questions the EU’s ability to navigate the ongoing crisis. The EU is about to miss yet another opportunity to take on the role of the global leader supporting the emerging markets and developing economies in addressing the energy and climate emergency. This ‘international crisis response’, driven by the incumbent interests of fossil fuel industry, is short-sighted and risks diluting the strong signal that the remaining REpowerEU strategy sends to foreign partners.”
Nnimmo Bassey of Health of Mother Earth Foundation and Oilwatch Africa: “Now is the time for renewables to be at the core of global energy policies. Ukraine is not just a wake-up call, it is an eye-opener in the heart of Europe. Instead, the continent, like a drug addict, is turning to Africa in what simply amounts to a rash, stubborn, mindless, colonial pursuit of profit at the expense of people of Africa, the continent and the entire planet. We need to be thinking beyond the bottom line of those who have brought us to the brink of catastrophe. Anything less will be nothing other than willful climate and ecological crimes.”
Melinda Janki, A Fair Deal for Guyana – A Fair Deal for the Planet: “In 1972, Dr Walter Rodney, Guyana’s revolutionary scholar, published the seminal text, ‘How Europe underdeveloped Africa.’ Fifty years later, it seems that Europe has learnt nothing. European power remains committed to exploitation of our African sisters and brothers and the mindless destruction of the earth through greenhouse gas pollution from fossil gas. European citizens must rein in their rogue governments and switch to renewables before it is too late.”
Nick Bryer, 350.org: “The strategy’s heavy focus on securing alternative gas and oil supplies is a short-sighted and a reckless response to the ongoing global energy crisis. It fails to address the impacts of the energy crisis and it will accelerate the climate crisis,”
Collin Rees, Oil Change International: “The EU’s new energy strategy is woefully inadequate and would lock in decades’ more extraction of deadly gas and oil. Driving new gas infrastructure development in the United States and across the world while deepening its own dependence on volatile fossil fuels is the last thing Europe should be doing. Europe needs a full-scale mobilisation to expand clean, renewable energy and encourage other countries to do the same, and this new plan badly misses the mark.”
Bobby Peek, GroundWork, Friends of the Earth, South Africa: “The Ukrainian crisis is an opportunity for Europeans to start in their own backyard and move to a people’s centred RE and shift away from all fossil fuel. It is time to ramp up RE and fast track the exit from fossil fuels. What a better opportunity to do this. The link between war, ‘undemocracy’ and fossil fuel is so clear now.”
Lorraine Chiponda, Africa Coal Network: “African communities have suffered and lost lives to the intensified and frequent impacts of the climate crises. Cyclone Idai killed more than 3,000 people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Madagascar. The recent floods in the KwaZulu Natal Province in South Africa destroyed people’s homes, livelihoods and people are still mourning the 443 lives that were lost and more than still 50 missing due to this climate change disaster.
“Across the Horn of Africa 13 million people are threatened by severe hunger due to the consistent drought. Africans cannot stand by and watch while the reckless political elite in Europe and the fossil fuel corporations proliferate the burning of fossil fuels which leads to more climate change impacts. Community groups and NGOs in Africa demand the push back on the expansion of fossil fuel extraction in Africa by Europeans and Africans.
“We demand a Just Transition that puts into perspective the colonial, capitalist, racist, patriarchal and unequal legacy brought by the fossil industry and that justice be delivered to the millions of African people that daily bear the brunt of the climate crisis.”
Lidy Nacpil, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD): “It is frankly unacceptable that Europe, amid a war reminiscent of World War II, decided to perpetuate the model which led it down this frightening path. Sourcing gas in the midst of a climate crisis from parts of the world it has previously devastated through selfish interests is irresponsible and reprehensible.
“The opportunistic dangling of a quick cash cow before misguided leaders will only serve to perpetuate a toxic addiction to fossil fuels. Europe should stop spreading the global death sentence oil and gas dependency represents. Instead, it should seize the opportunity to accelerate a transition which needed to have begun long ago.”