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Regional News of Saturday, 28 November 2020

Source: GNA

CSOs call for transition from fossil fuels to clean energy

These innovations demanded energy which was created by burning fossil fuels These innovations demanded energy which was created by burning fossil fuels

Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have called on the rich nations to stop supporting fossil projects through their ECAs because it undermines their pledge to ensure a clean environment.

We, the environmental organizations, also ask these governments to take a critical look at whether the energy projects supported by ECAs in the South are able to contribute to a just and green energy transition, the partners asked.

This was made known to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Thursday in a press release by the Abibiman and Abibinsroma Foundations which published a research report revealing that, since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, rich countries through ECAs have provided more than 80 times as much support to use of fossil fuels than to renewable energy in four African countries.

The report also called on the Ghana government “to work with regional bodies to set up proper transparent, monitoring and compliance mechanisms to critically monitor all investments in the energy sector.

It also called on world leaders to ensure that international finance flows, such as those supported by ECAs, supported a just energy transition instead of increased fossil dependency.

In the report, Niels Hazekamp of Both ENDS said, The vision that export credit agencies have of sustainability is highly questionable. Our research shows, for example, that since the signing of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, ECAs have supported the oil and gas sector in the four countries with an amount of US$5.6 billion and large hydro projects with an amount of US$5.3 billion.”

Available data from the report showed that only 1 percent of the total support to the energy sector consisted of support for renewable energy, in the form of solar projects. No ECA support for wind projects in the four African countries had been found.

The report indicated that, although many industrialized nations were advocating a switch to renewables at home, such support was not seen in their cooperation with developing countries.

While they committed to phasing out fossil fuel energy domestically, these commitments were abandoned as soon as their companies moved across international borders where they continued to push dirty energy, and as such contributed to climate change.

As such, Hazekamp observed in the report that, “Despite international climate agreements and national climate ambitions, export credit agencies continue to support fossil energy projects abroad on a large scale.”

“This undermines the Paris Climate Targets. Export credit agencies hardly play a role in insuring green, sustainable projects. This report once again makes us wonder whether ECAs are able to make the changes that are urgently needed.”

By supporting the expansion of the fossil sector in these African countries, export credit agencies ensured that economies remained dependent on fossil fuels, "And that in a world that is increasingly switching to renewable energy," says Isabelle Geuskens of Milieudefensie.

Geuskens added by saying, "Those countries risk ending up with huge debts and fossil infrastructure for decades to come, while in the future the demand for their oil and gas will decrease substantially.

The Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB warned of the dangers of huge debts in African countries that were economically dependent on fossil fuels, but at the same time it contributed to this dependency by continuing to support fossil fuels in these countries.

Part of the research was based on reports from local communities that had been affected by fossil energy projects. “People have been evicted from their land or have seen the land and water they depend on becoming destroyed or polluted. They are hardly compensated for this, with many ending up living in poverty,” the report said.

"I first had to leave my land for the construction of the airport for the oil developments. Access to the land that we were given in compensation, was next cut off by the government because of the EACOP oil pipeline developments.

“After my husband died, the government did not want to compensate me. I never signed anything, yet all of a sudden I was no longer allowed to use my land. How can I feed my children now that my husband is dead? Says Beneconsila Busingye, a 56 year-old widow who had to move for a UK ECA UKEF supported oil development in Uganda.

With the report, the organizations involved want to raise some fundamental questions about the role of export credit agencies in supporting dirty energy in Africa.

The report, which comes on the backdrop of an intensifying climate crisis, is a collective effort of Abibiman and Abibinsroma Foundations, Friends of the Earth Ghana and Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities working with three other environmental organizations from Nigeria, Togo and Uganda and in collaboration with Milieudefensie and Both ENDS, both in the Netherlands.