Nov 11 Coverage in Reuters (“African Nations Tell COP27 Fossil Fuels Will Tackle Poverty”) and in African media report that African leaders are asserting their right to development at the conference, and with that, the necessity of fossil fuels to power development. “Government officials and executives said the interest of Egypt ... in developing its resources had led to a thawing in attitudes towards oil and gas companies,” reported Reuters yesterday. Leaders of oil and gas companies have turned out in numbers in contrast to FLOP26 in Glasgow last November.
More important was the African leaders’ representation of developing countries’ demands. Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy’ petroleum commissioner Maggy Shino was quoted by Reuters: “There is a lot of oil and gas companies present at COP because Africa wants to send a message that we are going to develop all of our energy resources for the benefit of our people, because our issue is energy poverty.” Lacking, over years since 2015, developed countries’ funding for renewables, “If you are going to tell us to leave our resources in the ground, then you must be prepared to offer sufficient compensation, but I don’t think anyone has yet come out to make such an offer,” she said.
Germany, which negotiated with Senegal earlier this year for LNG to replace Russian natural gas, had its deputy Environment Minister criticize African countries for using natural gas.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized developed countries at Sharm el-Sheik, and said, “Our emphasis must be on the health, well-being and food and water security of the most vulnerable. ... We are already scaling up investment in renewable energy, and are on course to retire several of our ageing coal-fired power plants by the end of 2030.”
U.S. President Joe Biden at COP27 was “just the wind, and nothing more,” as Poe might have said, although Biden came with half his administration’s Cabinet members. The White House put out a fact sheet that the United States and Germany were putting up $250 million, the kind of amount which is no longer even worth laughing at, into a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development program. It’s intended to “enable” (great word!) Egypt to build 10 GW of offshore wind energy, which would likely cost $25-30 billion, but perhaps might be worth only $250 million. Biden also claimed that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was going to “help the world” rather than just helping higher-income American households buy EVs and solar roofs panels. His speech, in other words, was horse manure. It’s no wonder that, as the Washington Post reported, “the poor nations pushed back against the large U.S. delegation in attendance.”