At the Pre-COP27 conference in Kinshasa, the US Climate envoy John Kerry on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, called on the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to cancel some of the oil and gas blocks slated for auction in the country, to save its forests.
Climate activists welcomed the development, citing the danger that the oil and gas development poses to the country’s sensitive ecosystems, as nine out of the 30 new oil and gas blocks up for auction fall within the Congo basin.
As African nations suffer worsening climate impacts, activists have reiterated the dangers of fossil fuels, noting that they are not only responsible for the worsening climate crisis but are also derailing the achievement of national and global climate goals.
Bonaventure Bondo, Climate activist based in Kinshasa, DRC, said: “The move to auction off oil and gas blocks in parts of the DRC not only goes against laws of the Republic but also international conventions on environmental protection and community rights. At a time when scientists say there should be no new fossil fuel developments, we urge our government to halt these plans that spell doom for people and the environment. In the spirit of the climate talks, we call on the government to shun these harmful fossil fuels, protect our sensitive ecosystems and prioritize sustainable renewable energy solutions.”
Landry Ninteretse, 350Africa.org Regional Director, said: “Auctioning off 30 oil and gas blocks located in the world’s second-biggest rainforest would jeopardise climate goals to halt global warming and would not address the pressing priorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“As a ‘solutions’ country, DRC should instead hold the richer nations historically responsible for the climate crisis to account and claim substantial resources and technology transfer to reduce the energy poverty gap, develop robust economies and build resilience in the interest of local communities. This is the climate leadership we would like to see from DRC and other African countries ahead of the climate summit hosted on the continent.”