Stop Europe’s Dash for Gas in Africa

Climate action| Energy transition| Financing the transition| Global transition

To:

  1. EU Commission: President, Von der Leyen; Vice President, Timmermans; Vice President, Borrell
  2. German Chancellor, Scholz; German Vice Chancellor, Habeck
  3. President of France, Macron
  4. President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella; Prime Minister, Georgia Meloni 
  5. Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez; Deputy Prime Minister of Spain, Teresa Ribera

We, [signatories] are gravely troubled by developments in Europe as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the fossil fuel energy crisis and associated cost of living crisis. We empathise with the pressure European households are under to keep their families warm this winter. 

We stand in solidarity with our African allies who, faced with an economic and climate crisis caused by fossil fuels, are demanding an end to gas on their continent through a campaign called  “Don’t Gas Africa”. This African civil society led campaign works to ensure that the continent is not locked into fossil gas production. We believe that Africa’s development agenda and the climate emergency require a rapid shift from harmful fossil fuel based technologies towards a renewable energy future.

Europe’s response to this crisis must not be to promote new oil and gas extraction and export infrastructure. This “dash for gas” in Africa is dangerous and short-sighted. 

It would be a disaster for our climate, undermining your existing commitments to keep temperatures to 1.5°C and to phase out international finance for oil and gas as promised in Glasgow at COP26. It would worsen the climate impacts in regions least responsible for the crisis. It is not just bad for the climate, gas extraction and infrastructure also have hugely detrimental impacts on existing livelihoods, public health, air quality, and biodiversity. 

New gas production and infrastructure would be bad for European and African economies as well. Any new gas infrastructure that was developed would come online too late for our near-term needs. This would lock our behaviours, industrial processes, and economies into polluting fossil fuels well beyond their useful life. It also risks undermining African development, saddling countries with debts for export-oriented gas production for which there will be fewer and fewer customers as demand drops, leaving African people on the hook to cover the costs of these stranded assets. This is despite the reality that these countries are already owed a climate debt. There is also an opportunity cost: investment in gas distracts from the urgent necessity of financing increased access to clean and reliable electricity for the more than 570 million people on the continent who lack energy access. 

Perhaps most pressingly, oil and gas fuels conflict. We have seen this, of course, in Ukraine, but also in many parts of Africa from where European governments are now looking to source gas. 

As the UN Secretary General said this year, investing in new fossil fuel production and power plants is moral and economic madness.

Instead of rushing for new gas projects overseas, rapid expansion of renewable energy and greater demand management is the urgent priority. Domestic policies, such as Repower EU and Fit for 55 package, and other demand reduction measures are encouraging and will have a concrete positive impact, reducing gas demand significantly by 2030. They are a step in the right direction but, as European nations’ own officials have noted, are not enough. Lamentably, the “dash for gas” foreign policy approach contradicts European countries’ domestic direction of travel. 

We urge you to move beyond gas in Europe and around the world as quickly and fairly as possible. In concrete, we demand: 

  1. Immediately cease any deals to expand gas production and infrastructure in Africa, reaffirm the COP26 Glasgow Statement to halt investment in new gas and oil, and apply it to projects not yet developed.
  2. Introduce rapid gas demand reduction measures in Europe that apply to energy and industrial processes (for example, reducing plastics production would cut gas consumption close to the volumes that could feasibly come from reserves in African countries).
  3. Invest in large scale rollout of renewable energy in partnership with African countries and democratic institutions to support energy access and enable governments to develop zero carbon industrial strategies that do not entrench fossil fuel development.

We must work cooperatively, in partnership with people, communities, and governments from across Europe and Africa to shift off fossil fuel energy systems and accelerate a just and equitable energy transition based on 100% renewable power. Only this will allow us to free ourselves from the shackles of a dirty energy economy and move rapidly, together – in every country – beyond polluting, conflict-causing fossil gas. We urge you to grasp this historic moment and be true climate leaders.

Signed,

Europe

  • 350.org
  • Aitec
  • Alliance of Associations Polish Green Network
  • Andy Gheorghiu Consulting
  • Asociación de Cultura Popular Alborada -Gallur
  • BankTrack
  • Both ENDS
  • Campagna Per il Clima Fuori dal Fossile
  • Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  • Climate & Sustainability
  • Climate Action Network Europe
  • Climate Action Network France
  • Climate Emergency UK
  • Coordinamento Ravenna Fuori dal Fossile
  • Corporate Europe Observatory
  • CSIC (Spanish Council for Scientific Research)
  • Debt Observatory in Globalisation (ODG)
  • Deutsche Umwelthilfe
  • Feminist Exchange Network
  • ECODES
  • Ecologistas en Acción
  • Emergenzaclimatica.it
  • Food & Water Action Europe
  • Fossielvrij NL
  • Fridays For Future
  • Fridays for future Chieri
  • Fridays for future Italia
  • Fridays for Future Madrid
  • Friends of the Earth Europe
  • Friends of the Earth Germany/ BUND
  • Friends of the Earth Ireland
  • Friends of the Earth Malta
  • Friends of the Earth Norway (Naturvernforbundet)
  • Friends of the Earth Scotland
  • Fundación Savia por el Compromiso y los Valores
  • Gallifrey Foundation
  • Gastivist Collective
  • Germanwatch
  • Global Witness
  • Gonçalo Diniz
  • GreenFaith, France
  • Humusz Szövetség
  • Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC)
  • Jordens Vänner /Friends of the Earth Sweden
  • Just Finance International
  • Laudato Si Movement
  • Leave it in the Ground Initiative (LINGO)
  • Les Amis de la Terre France
  • Luisa Neubauer, Fridays for Future Germany
  • Maan ystävät – Friends of the Earth Finland
  • Member of the European Parliament (Greens/EFA)
  • MEP Greens-EFA
  • Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands
  • Movimento No TAP/SNAM di Brindisi
  • NOAH – Friends of the Earth Denmark
  • Plataforma Ciudadana Zaragoza sin Fractura
  • Razom
  • Reclaim Finance
  • Rethink Plastic alliance
  • Rettet den Regenwald / Rainforest Rescue
  • SHE Changes Climate
  • Skiftet
  • Society for the Earth
  • Stop ny fosil infrastruktur
  • Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczne EKO-UNIA
  • Stowarzyszenie Pracownia na rzecz Wszystkich Istot
  • The Artivist Network
  • Towarzystwo na rzecz ZIemi
  • Transition Crich
  • Transport&Environment
  • Uplift
  • Urgewald
  • Zero Waste Kiel e.V.

Africa

  • AbibiNsroma Foundation, Ghana
  • Africa Institute for Energy Governance
  • Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)
  • Elamilima Environmental Project
  • Environment Governance Institute (EGI)
  • Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
  • Fridays for future MAPA
  • Friends of the Earth Africa
  • Friends of the Earth Ghana
  • Ghana Loss and Damage Alliance
  • groundWork
  • Health of Mother Earth Foundation
  • Just Share, South Africa
  • Justiça Ambiental (JA!)/ Friends of the Earth Mozambique
  • Kikandwa Environmental Association
  • Laudato Si Movement- Africa
  • Oil Watch Africa
  • Sustainable Development Institute 

Asia

  • Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
  • Korea Federation for Environmental Movement

North America

  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Environmental Defence Canada
  • Friends of the Earth US
  • Institute for Small Islands
  • Stand.earth
  • The Council of Canadians

International

  • Friends of the Earth International
  • The Club of Rome

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