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Europe at risk of civil unrest unless it returns to fossil fuels, EU warns

Europe at risk of civil unrest unless it returns to fossil fuels, EU warns

1) Europe at risk of civil unrest unless it returns to fossil fuels, EU warns
The Guardian 8 July 2022

2) Rising social unrest over energy costs & food shortages threatens global stability
David Blackmon, Forbes, 11 July 2022

3) Farmers ‘freedom convoy’ takes aim at strict Dutch Net Zero regulations

The Daily Telegraph, 9 July 2022

4) Dutch farmer protests against emissions cuts spread across EU
Farmers Weekly, 9 July 2022

5) Green Tories fear next party leader could ditch Net Zero strategy

The Observer, 10 July 2022

6) Andrew Orlowski: Boris Johnson, the Net Zero zealot

7) Lifeline for millions in Red Wall as fracking return could provide ‘cheap or free gas’
Daily Express, 8 July 2022

8) Europe’s rush to buy Africa’s natural gas draws cries of hypocrisy
Bloomberg, 10 July 2022

9) ‘Complete Collapse’: How ESG and green extremism destroyed Sri Lanka’s economy
The Daily Caller, 6 July 2022

10) If you want to know how Sri Lanka’s president destroyed his country read his COP26 speech
High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom, 1 November 2021

1) Europe at risk of civil unrest unless it returns to fossil fuels, EU warns
The Guardian 8 July 2022

Europe is in danger of highly damaging “very, very strong conflict and strife” this winter over high energy prices, and should make a short-term return to fossil fuels to head off the threat of civil unrest, the vice-president of the European Commission has warned.

Frans Timmermans, the second most senior official in the EU, said the threat of unrest this winter, a deliberate outcome of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, must take precedence over the climate crisis.

He said: “If our society descends into very, very strong conflict and strife because there is no energy, we’re certainly not going to make our [climate] goals. We’re certainly not going to get where we need to get if the lack of energy leads to strong disruption in our societies, and we need to make sure people are not in the cold in the coming winter.

“We need to make sure we keep our industry, as much as possible, functioning because the one thing that could help Putin is divisions in our society.”

People suffering from the cold this winter because they cannot afford heating would also be disastrous for solving the climate crisis, Timmermans argued in an interview with the Guardian in Brussels.

“I’ve been in politics long enough, over 30 years, to understand that people worry most about the immediate crisis and not about the long-term crisis And if we don’t address the immediate crisis, we will certainly be off-track with the long-term crisis,” he said.

Timmermans said his goal was to reassure the public of the EU, by 1 November at the latest, that they would not face a crisis in heating their homes this winter.

“I honestly believe that if we can’t give that guarantee then society is on edge, as it is everywhere because of high energy prices, inflation, food prices rising rapidly – because of this uncertainty caused by the war,” he said. “Putin is using all the means he has to create strife in our societies, so we have to brace ourselves for a very difficult period.”

Coal would have to be used, he said. “If we were just to say no more coal right now, we wouldn’t be very convincing in some of our member states and we would contribute to tensions within our society getting even higher.”

Energy prices have soared across the world as a result of the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine, but Europe has been particularly badly hit. Before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, Germany – the EU’s biggest economy – relied on Russia for the majority of its gas. Overall, Europe depends on Russia for about 40% of its gas.

The German government has started to increase electricity production from coal-fired power stations, the dirtiest form of energy, while allowing the phaseout of nuclear power to continue as planned.

Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor, also insisted that the G7 reverse its stance on banning overseas investment in gas projects to assist in the exploration of new fossil fuel fields in developing countries.

The European parliament also voted this week to class some gas and nuclear power projects as “clean” energy for investment purposes, to the dismay of climate campaigners who worry the climate agenda has been lost amid fears over energy prices.

Full story

2) Rising social unrest over energy costs & food shortages threatens global stability
David Blackmon, Forbes, 11 July 2022

Governments in all parts of the world are making choices designed to help meet their often-arbitrary climate and ESG goals at the expense of feeding their populations and enabling citizens to keep their homes warm during the winter.

The nation of Sri Lanka has an almost perfect ESG rating of 98.1 on a scale of 100, according to But the government which had forced the nation to achieve that virtue-signaling target in recent years collapsed over the weekend because it led the country into self-declared bankruptcy, leaving it unable to purchase adequate supplies of fuel and feed its population. Thousands of angry Sri Lankans stormed the presidential residence on Saturday, forcing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down and reportedly flee the country.

Should current trends in global energy supplies continue, Sri Lanka could end up being just a harbinger of larger things to come around the rest of the world in the months and years ahead. Somewhat ironically, an analysis of the full ESG rankings linked above shows that many of the nations with the highest scores are developing nations with the highest degrees of famine risk. Haiti, as an example, has an ESG score of 99, while the well-fed United States stands far down the list at just over 58.

“People Worry Most About the Immediate Crisis”

Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission, seems to understand the reality his own continent faces should it be left without adequate energy supplies this coming winter. Last week, Timmermans urged EU and national leaders to make efforts to beef up their fossil fuel energy supplies and delivery systems in the near term in order to try to head off disaster. “If our society descends into very, very strong conflict and strife because there is no energy, we’re certainly not going to make our [climate] goals,” he said, adding “we need to make sure people are not in the cold in the coming winter.”

Wisely, Timmermans noted further that a failure by European leadership to adequately address a looming winter energy crisis could create such a high level of social and economic disruption that it could cripple the continent’s longer-term efforts to meet climate goals. “I’ve been in politics long enough, over 30 years, to understand that people worry most about the immediate crisis and not about the long-term crisis. And if we don’t address the immediate crisis, we will certainly be off-track with the long-term crisis,” he said.

It remains an open question whether U.S. President Joe Biden and his advisors also understand the risks posed to their own political futures by rising energy costs and likelihoods of power and supply disruptions. In an extraordinary pre-trip op/ed published in Sunday’s Washington Post, Biden somehow manages to write roughly 700 words about his pending trip to Saudi Arabia without including the word “oil,” even though no one doubts that a principal motivation behind his trip is to ask Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to produce more crude in an effort to resupply an undersupplied global market.

The President does make one single-sentence implicit reference to Middle Eastern oil, stating “Its energy resources are vital for mitigating the impact on global supplies of Russia’s war in Ukraine.”

That is accurate, but let’s be clear on this point: The current biggest producer of oil on the planet is not Saudi Arabia, but the United States of America. This has been the case for several years now, yet we never hear anyone in this administration making any similar statements about how crucial the U.S. industry is to the maintenance of global oil supplies and the international stability plentiful oil supplies create and sustain.

The level of international stability has begun to crumble over the past year in large part due to the emergence of a chronically under-supplied international crude market. That is partly due to several factors, including impacts of the COVID pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine, the diminishing capacity levels within the OPEC+ cartel and the growing energy crisis in Europe that began to germinate last summer.

But another key reason why that is happening is due to the fact that, despite its ranking as the #1 supplier in the world, the U.S. industry is still about 1 million barrels of oil per day short of the highs achieved during 2018 and 2019. That is in large part thanks to the continuing efforts by the Biden administration to suppress the U.S. domestic industry, and by the efforts of the ESG investor community to deny it access to capital.

“Marching to the Brink of Starvation”

This increasing level of instability resulting from rising fuel shortages, supply chain disruptions and the rapidly-escalating prices that inevitably result are now creating food shortages that have placed hundreds of millions of individuals in developing nations around the world under a very real threat of starvation. The head of the United Nations World Food Program, David Beasley, admitted as much in a report last week.

Beasley said that his agency’s new analysis shows that “a record 345 million acutely hungry people are marching to the brink of starvation.” That amounts to a 25% increase from 276 million at the start of 2022, which was double the 135 million before the advent of the COVID pandemic in early 2020.

“There’s a real danger it will climb even higher in the months ahead,” he said. “Even more worrying is that when this group is broken down, a staggering 50 million people in 45 countries are just one step away from famine.”
It should be noted that some of the food shortages are the result of governments placing a higher priority on achieving climate and ESG goals than on food production. One cause of the collapse of the Sri Lankan government was its decision to force farmers to switch from chemical fertilizers (which use natural gas as a key feedstock) to organic fertilizers in April 2021, a mandate that predictably and dramatically reduced crop yields. By the time the Sri Lankan government realized the disaster it had created and attempted to reverse course in November 2021, it was too late.

The Netherlands government, whose 90.7 ESG rating ranks it in the lower 3rd of European nations, showed a similar preference for ESG over food production last month when it announced plans for dramatic cuts in emissions of nitrogen and ammonia that could force the closing of many farming operations. The resulting protests have been huge, and reminiscent of the truckers’ protests that took place earlier this year in Canada. They have gained massive attention on social and traditional media platforms globally.

“Frustration, Anger, Even Despair”

Netherlands Agricultural and Horticultural Organization’s Wytse Sonnema told Sky News Australia that the proposals have caused a broad sense of “frustration, anger, even despair” among the nation’s farmers. “And imagine if you’re a fifth-generation farmer living on your land, making a living, being part of a local community, and you see a map saying that basically there’s no future. No future for farming, but also no future for the economic, social, cultural fabric of the countryside.”

Exactly so.

What it all amounts to is that governments in all parts of the world are making choices designed to help meet their often-arbitrary climate and ESG goals at the expense of feeding their populations and enabling citizens to keep their homes warm during the winter. Oddly, many of these political leaders seem genuinely surprised when such decisions and the damage they create cause social unrest that often ends with their being tossed out of office and even, as in Sri Lanka, run out of the country.

If this current dynamic continues, expect to soon see government officials interested in remaining in office to begin dropping the maintenance of their national ESG ratings down their list of pressing priorities.

3) Farmers ‘freedom convoy’ takes aim at strict Dutch Net Zero regulations
The Daily Telegraph, 9 July 2022

Lauded by Mick Jagger and vilified by their own prime minister, Dutch farmers are giving Europe a taste of the backlash the Continent faces in its drive towards net zero emissions.

Huge protests have swept the Netherlands triggered by the introduction of new laws designed to cut nitrogen and ammonia emissions, by up to 95 per cent in certain areas, from its agricultural sector.

Inspired by the “freedom convoys” which began in Canada and saw truck drivers bring major roads to a standstill in protest at Covid vaccine mandates, tractors are blockading supermarkets and industrial complexes across the Netherlands, at a cost of tens of millions of euros to businesses and the economy.

The demonstrations, some of which have turned violent, materialise with little notice and are organised via secretive channels on the Telegram messaging app.

They are a sign of the growing discontent among European farmers faced with spiralling fertiliser costs owing to the war in Ukraine and demands to cut down on emissions. In Britain, unions have urged Downing Street to give them more time to overhaul their businesses to make them more sustainable.

The working-class uprising has not only won over the support of the Rolling Stones frontman and popular conservative broadcasters in the US, but the Dutch public is also siding with the farmers.

Recent polling showed the Farmer-Citizen Movement, formed three years ago in response to the climate laws, would secure 11 parliamentary seats if a general election was to be held now. Dutch fishermen have also joined the protests, blockading ports.

Earlier this week, police opened fire on Jouke Hospes, a 16-year-old who was driving one of his father’s tractors, and two others, at a demonstration in the Friesland region.

On Friday, when The Telegraph visited the Netherlands, hundreds of businesses across three towns were brought to a complete standstill by three separate demonstrations, which came and went with very little warning.

Full story

4) Dutch farmer protests against emissions cuts spread across EU
Farmers Weekly, 9 July 2022

Dutch farmer protests over government policies and rising “agflation” destroying their businesses have spread to more European countries.

The farmers are protesting about rising costs and government restrictions put on livestock numbers and fertiliser use in a bid to cut carbon emissions.

Last month, the Dutch cabinet announced plans for a £22bn programme to cut nitrogen emissions by 50% by 2030, to comply with EU regulations on nitrate pollution. In some areas, emissions cuts of 70% or more may be required.

Under the proposals, farmers would have to drastically reduce – by 40% – the amount of nitrous oxide and ammonia emissions their livestock produce, which would force many farms to downsize and some to close (see panel below).

Thousands of angry Dutch farmers have used their tractors to blockade ports, airports and roads. Straw bales have been torched in streets and manure has been dumped at government buildings.

Meanwhile, videos have emerged of Dutch supermarkets running out of food.

Now, in a show of solidarity, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish farmers have launched protests, in what is fast becoming an EU-wide campaign against “anti-farming” policies.

The farmers fear they could be next and that their governments will seek to impose similar climate policies to comply with EU rules, which they say would threaten their livelihoods and disrupt global food supplies.

On Wednesday 6 July, German farmers joined their fellow Dutch farmers to block roads into the city of Heerenburg, on the Dutch-German border.

In Italy, farmers have held tractor protests on roads in rural areas and have threatened to take their protests to the streets of Rome.

A video posted on social media shows dozens of tractors gathering on a rural road, narrated by one farmer shouting: “We are not slaves, we are farmers! We cannot make ends meet!”

In Poland, thousands of farmers held a protest in Warsaw, carrying anti-government banners and placards. They shouted: “Enough is enough! We won’t let ourselves be robbed!” and “We workers cannot pay for the crisis created by politicians!”

Polish farmers say the rising costs of production, especially fertiliser, are threatening their livelihoods. At the same time, they say their government is allowing cheap food imports.

On 1 July, Spanish farmers blocked the A4 highway in Jaén, Andalusia, to protest against the rising cost of fuel and essential products.

On Twitter a French account called “Le convoy de la liberté” (Freedom convoy) tweeted: “German farmers are also rising up. Dutch, Italian, Polish and German, it becomes a worldwide movement.”

Full story

5) Green Tories fear next party leader could ditch Net Zero strategy
The Observer, 10 July 2022

The next Conservative party leader could be swayed into ditching its net zero strategy in order to receive the backing of climate-sceptic MPs, senior Tories fear.

Prominent backbenchers have been plotting for months to persuade any possible replacement for Boris Johnson to ditch climate commitments in favour of expanding the use of fossil fuels.

Any opposition would come from the green wing of the Tory party, which admits it is disorganised and weak, with one environment minister saying the ostensibly large grouping has many MPs who “do fuck all and don’t give a shit”.

The attorney general, Suella Braverman, this weekend vowed to suspend net zero measures, saying: “In order to deal with the energy crisis we need to suspend the all-consuming desire to achieve net zero by 2050. If we keep it up, especially before businesses and families can adjust, our economy will end up with net zero growth.”

While she is not a frontrunner in the contest, there is a fear that any winning candidate could be forced to weaken their climate stance in order to gain the backing of her supporters.

Eco-friendly conservatives are concerned that she has joined forces with MP Steve Baker, who has denied climate change is a pressing matter and wants to dismantle green policies. Instead, he favours expanding the use of gas and reinstating fracking.

The MP for Wycombe holds sway within the party’s right wing and commands the powerful Eurosceptic ERG group. His pugnacity during the EU negotiations led Baker to dub himself the “hardman of Brexit”. Another worry is that Kemi Badenoch, who is also running for leader on an “anti-woke” platform, also this weekend came out against net zero by 2050.

Meanwhile, the green wing of the party is still scrambling to fall behind an ecofriendly candidate, with nobody yet setting out a positive climate policy vision. A number of green conservatives have unenthusiastically mooted Nadhim Zahawi and Sajid Javid as potential contenders for their support, but neither has yet committed to net zero.

Chris Skidmore, the chair of the environment all-party parliamentary group, is organising a climate hustings with the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) and trying to get candidates to sign up to net zero commitments.

He is pointing to the successful election of the Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen, who ran on a green jobs platform. He said: “MPs in the red wall know that the price of rowing back on net zero would be to pull the plug on economic regeneration in their seats.

“Thousands of jobs could be at stake. It would be economic and electoral madness to abandon net zero, which is why I am calling on every candidate to set out their plans to commit to the environment, nature and net zero.

“We will be holding hustings and ensuring that this contest does not put one of the Conservative party’s greatest achievements in recent years at risk”.

Skidmore is warning prospective candidates that while ditching climate commitments could play well to some of the Tory base, that it would lose them the next general election.

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“The Conservative party cannot afford to abandon the progress it has made on the environment and climate change over the past decade,” he said. He added that “polling has repeatedly shown that the party would pay the penalty at the next general election if we abandoned or watered down commitments to protect our environment” by up to “1.3m votes”.

Skidmore is confident that with the support of the 133 MPs in CEN, a green candidate could win. He thinks Baker’s support is a “mirage”, and notes that the net zero scrutiny group, which the MP co-founded, has only 20 (sic) supporters.

However, sources close to the Braverman campaign, with which Baker is helping, told the Guardian they had spoken to MPs in CEN to win them over to the anti-net zero cause, calling members of the group “windsocks”, adding that the argument for cheaper energy is powerful.

Zac Goldsmith, an environment minister and conservative peer, agrees that support for green measures among his colleagues could be at risk.

“There are loads of MPs in CEN, but most aren’t fighters,” he told the Guardian. “Others sign up just so that they can tell their constituents they are members – but they do fuck all and don’t give a shit. Very few really care. I’m going to be fighting this very, very hard in the coming days and weeks.”

If net zero was ditched but then reinstated after a general election 2024, this would be too late to avoid exceeding 1.5C, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC says in order to avoid climate catastrophe, we must reach peak fossil fuel use by 2025.

This week, the Green MP Caroline Lucas said she feared the climate could be put at risk by “Tory psychodrama”.

6) Andrew Orlowski: Boris Johnson, the Net Zero zealot

Spiked, 10 July 2022

After his surrender to green ideology, no government has ever imposed so many burdens on so many as that of Boris Johnson.

Could Boris Johnson be the first prime minister since Margaret Thatcher who believes in free will? So some of us dared hope, privately, three years ago.

Over his writing career, Johnson had given every impression that while he may hold no strong political convictions or original ideas, then at least he valued personal freedom. Perhaps he even valued it a lot. A few optimists even imagined he would preside as a kind of Lord of Mischief, an anarchic antidote to the grim behaviourism that so many political leaders sign up to today.

As a prime minister with the largest majority in 14 years, Boris Johnson had the chance to prove this hypothesis. He also had as his chief adviser one of the few genuine radicals in government, Dominic Cummings, who had many ideas for reforming the administrative state.

But Johnson flunked every opportunity he had.

After catching Covid in March 2020, Johnson doubled down on nanny-state food regulation. And later, he only lifted Covid restrictions gingerly and slowly. But his greatest failure was entirely unforced – namely, his capitulation to apocalyptic environmentalism, the pagan religion of our age.

It is hard to believe now that Johnson had once praised the weather forecasts of conspiracy theorist and climate sceptic Piers Corbyn, scorned the poor performance of wind energy (which ‘couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding’) and praised fracking. Once in office this rebelliousness was forgotten.

In June 2019, as one of her last acts, his predecessor, Theresa May, had amended the 2008 Climate Change Act to enshrine Net Zero emissions targets in law – ‘the UK will eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050’, ran the press release. Johnson could have quietly buried this footnote to May’s reign, but instead he elevated Net Zero to a headline pledge in the Conservative manifesto for the 2019 General Election.

The only concrete measure to achieve Net Zero was ‘a £640million new Nature for Climate fund’, with ‘an additional 75,000 acres of trees a year by the end of the next parliament’. That sounded harmless enough – everyone likes trees. Yet almost immediately, under Johnson’s premiership, the environmental rules came thick and fast, and they were not just about new trees.

Petrol and diesel cars would be banned by 2030 – even though electric cars are more expensive and their production emits far more CO2 than petrol-car production. The government commissioned cookery writer Henry Dimbleby to tell us to eat less meat to reduce greenhouse gases. Businesses of all sizes have to report their CO2 emissions in great detail. And in three years time, no newly built residential property will be allowed to have a gas boiler. Soon it will become impossible to buy or sell a property unless it conforms to the minutiae of the new regulations.

Arguably Johnson’s most wretched exhibition was reserved for the UK-hosted climate summit, COP26, held in November last year. Johnson had been London mayor for the 2012 Olympics, and appeared to have mistaken the climate junket for another competitive event, with the world watching and judging our ‘performance’ in setting green targets. All the stops were pulled out.

Johnson gave a speech at COP26 in which he said that the industrial revolution – which gave rise to the most rapid advance in living standards the world has ever seen – had come at a terrible cost. ‘We were the first to send the great puffs of acrid smoke to the heavens on a scale to derange the natural order’, he said, confusing sulphur with carbon dioxide. And to curry favour with schoolchildren, Johnson even echoed the rhetoric of environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg, suggesting that adults had ‘stolen’ children’s future.

In retrospect, his posturing at COP26 looks increasingly unwise. Before the junket had even ended, its main stated goal of eliminating coal power had already been ruled out by the two growing economies of India and China, both of which need the cheap energy it produces.

And today, with domestic heating bills trebling, fuel poverty going through the roof and swathes of UK industry facing the prospect of closing for good, the obsession with reducing carbon emissions looks ever more foolish. It is a folly other nations, aside from India and China, are now wising up to. Indeed, only recently Germany effectively dissolved its own equivalent Net Zero pledge by extending the life of its coal plants.

Should we be surprised that Boris went full Greta, and threw his lot in with people who glue their faces to electric trains? Perhaps not. To argue that climate change can be addressed through adaptation rather than mitigation – by building bigger sea defences, for example, rather than radical lifestyle changes – requires courage. It requires challenging the bureaucracy, the academy and the broadcast media. There are only a handful of critics who even attempt that today, such as Tory MP Steve Baker and Labour MP Graham Stringer, both of whom are backbenchers. If Johnson ever had private qualms about how environmentalism inserts regulation into every corner of our lives, he didn’t let on in public.

In his resignation speech, Johnson said he hoped his successor would continue ‘cutting burdens on businesses and families’. Which is more than a little ironic. After his surrender to green ideology, no government has ever imposed so many burdens on so many as that of Boris Johnson.

Andrew Orlowski is a weekly columnist at the Daily Telegraph. Follow him on Twitter: @AndrewOrlowski

7) Lifeline for millions in Red Wall as fracking return could provide ‘cheap or free gas’
Daily Express, 8 July 2022

RED WALL voters could be poised for a major boost after Conservative backbencher Lord Peter Lilley said that a return to fracking could lead to cheap or free gas in those regions, in an exclusive interview with

Households in the UK are currently feeling the worst impacts of a fossil fuel energy crisis, as the price cap on energy bills is set to reach nearly £3,000 a year. This increase in the price cap, combined with the previous increase by 54 percent to £1,971 in April has put millions of households in a state of fuel poverty, where energy bills constitute a significant portion of their income.

As experts warned that the most vulnerable households in the UK would be most affected by this energy crisis, some have called on the UK to return to fracking, in order to boost the country’s supply of gas and hopefully bring down energy bills.

The Government decided to ban the practice of extracting fossil fuels from shale rock in 2019, after campaigners piled on the pressure regarding environmental concerns, and fears of Earth tremor following a report by the Oil and Gas Authority.

However, Lord Peter Lilley, Vice Chairman of the House of Lords, believed that if done responsibly, and with the consent of the local community, fracking to be a major boon for communities suffering from eye-watering energy bills.

Speaking to, he said: “Fracking would benefit those living near to wells who voted to allow fracking in return for cheap or free gas.

“It would also provide a feed source for industries, like petrochemicals hence the interest of INEOS in developing this resource.”

Lord Lilley added that fracking sites, like onshore wind farms, should be offered to local communities in exchange for lucrative deals on the energy extracted or generated by the companies involved.

Full story

8) Europe’s rush to buy Africa’s natural gas draws cries of hypocrisy
Bloomberg, 10 July 2022

The EU wants to import as much African gas as it can, but doesn’t want to fund projects that would allow the world’s poorest continent to burn more of the fuel at home. 

Near the tip of Nigeria’s Bonny Island, an arrowhead speck of land where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Niger Delta, a giant plant last year produced enough liquefied natural gas to heat half the UK for the winter. Most of it was shipped out of the country, with Spain, France and Portugal the biggest buyers.

Just 17 miles away in the town of Bodo, residents still use black-market kerosene and diesel to light wood stoves and power electricity generators. The fuel is manufactured with crude stolen from the foreign energy giants — Shell, Eni and TotalEnergies — that co-own the Bonny Island facility along with the Nigerian government.

“The gas here goes to Bonny and Europe to power homes and industries but we have no benefits from it,” said Pius Dimkpa, chairman of Bodo’s local community development committee. “Nothing comes to us.”

Nigeria has 3% of the world’s proven gas reserves, yet has tapped almost none of it. Like most African countries, what has been extracted is mostly sent to Europe, which now wants to import even more to make up for supplies lost to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Italy in April struck fresh deals to buy gas from Angola and the Republic of Congo, while Germany has been looking to secure supplies from Senegal. That’s despite discouraging the use of gas and other fossil fuels around the world in pursuit of global climate goals, a case some European leaders made at the United Nations’ COP26 conference in Glasgow last November.

While African leaders are eager for the millions in revenue that the gas deals are likely to bring in, they’re also calling out the sudden interest in their resources as a double standard that perpetuates the West’s exploitation of the region. They question why Africa must move away from dirty fuels — thereby delaying access for hundreds of millions of people to electricity — even as its gas is used to keep the lights on in Europe. Rich countries have been reluctant to fund pipelines and power plants that would facilitate the use of gas in Africa because of its emissions, yet haven’t delivered on promises to help finance green projects that could be an alternative source of energy.

Europe’s awkward position was on display at the Group of Seven leaders summit last month. The world’s most advanced economies walked back a climate commitment to halt financing for overseas fossil fuel projects, but indicated that exceptions would likely apply to projects that would allow for more shipments of LNG to their countries.

In another climbdown, European Union lawmakers recently voted to classify gas and nuclear energy projects within the bloc as “green investments”, potentially opening up billions of euros in fresh funding.

That approach has irked African leaders who need fuel, any fuel, to lift millions out of poverty. “We need long-term partnership, not inconsistency and contradiction on green energy policy from the UK and European Union,” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in written comments. “It does not help their energy security, it does not help Nigeria’s economy, and it does not help the environment. It is a hypocrisy that must end.”

To be sure, sub-Saharan African governments share the blame for their underutilized gas reserves. Few countries have seriously invested in or reformed their power or oil and gas sectors, particularly Nigeria, where the Bonny Island plant has run at least 20% below capacity since 2021 because of pipeline theft and vandalism. Many African leaders support boosting gas exports to help their cash-strapped governments, but they also want access to financing that would allow them to harness the fuel’s potential to create domestic natural gas markets.

“They cannot just come and say, ‘We need your gas, I’ll buy your gas and we’ll take it to Europe,’” Gabriel Obiang Lima, energy minister of Equatorial Guinea, said at a press conference in May. “They need to give something back to us.”

Gas has long been controversial from a climate perspective: it burns cleaner than other fossil fuels but still generates carbon pollution and tends to leak the super-warming greenhouse gas methane. Europe’s own stance on the fuel has shifted since the war began. Its top priority now is to buy up as much LNG as it can get its hands on, while countries including Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have turned to coal as a backup.

European politicians argue the fossil fuels are a band-aid needed to get the bloc through the current crisis, so it can avoid shortages and blackouts that could weaken support for sanctions against Russia. In theory, concurrent plans to ramp up renewable power much faster than previously targeted will balance the climate scale, resulting in lower emissions overall. But the EU has also hesitated to put in place policies that would curb energy consumption right now for fear of political backlash.

While the climate math may end up working out the way EU officials say it will, it’s a more difficult message to sell abroad.

The pathway being pushed by European leaders — that Africa moves straight to clean energy sources — isn’t viable unless rich countries, private investors and development banks help with funding. There’s ample sunshine and wind in Sub-Saharan Africa, which collectively uses less energy than Spain, but little infrastructure to harness it. Developing countries also face much higher financing costs for green projects because they’re seen as riskier investments. Adding to Africa’s frustration is that rich nations have failed to deliver on a target to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance that was supposed to have been met in 2020.

“The whole of the West developed on the back of fossil fuels — even as we speak some Western nations are deciding to bring coal back into their energy mix because of the war. So when the world wants to transition to zero carbon emissions, who has to do more?” said Matthew Opoku Prempeh, energy minister for Ghana, which has in the past few years made significant oil and gas discoveries. “Is the West saying Africa should remain undeveloped?”

The issue of climate finance will likely dominate this year’s COP27 talks in Egypt, which is set to focus heavily on solutions for Africa. The future of gas will also be a key topic given the host nation and many developing countries see it as a way to move away from coal, according to Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary of the UK, which hosted last year’s summit. “For them, gas is part of the transition.”

The International Energy Agency, which last year called for an end to new fossil fuel developments, in a recent report argued that Africa should be allowed to exploit its gas resources. The continent’s share of historical global emissions would only rise to 3.5% from 3% even if it tapped every molecule of its known gas reserves.

Universal energy access on the continent could be achieved by 2030 with $25 billion a year in investment — the equivalent of just 1% of the money pouring into the energy sector globally.

A recent spate of major discoveries has led to big private projects with fossil fuel giants including Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell spending tens of billions in Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal and Mauritania to extract more gas for export. There are plans to grow existing LNG facilities in Nigeria and Angola that could help Africa produce 470 billion cubic meters of gas a year by the late 2030s, equal to about 75% of Russian output this year, according to consultants Rystad Energy. Almost all of it will be headed out of the region.

Meanwhile, there’s a dearth of new funding for power plants to burn gas within Africa. Governments and businesses have $100 billion in planned projects, including 35 gigawatts of gas-powered electricity, but can’t find the money to build most of them. Some countries have negotiated deals for some portion of gas extracted by foreign entities to be used domestically, and all are paid taxes by the companies, but the proceeds often aren’t enough to completely transform electricity grids and build major infrastructure.

Financing from institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Investment Bank for gas power projects has all but disappeared for climate reasons. There’s also a worry from private investors that they could end up as stranded assets as the world tries to reach net-zero emissions in the coming decades.

Projects such as Mozambique’s Central Termica de Temane power station, which secured $652 million of funding in December, have become increasingly difficult to get investment for, according to Mike Scholey, chief executive officer of the plant’s owner Globeleq Inc. The World Bank’s International Finance Corp. and the US International Development Finance Corp., two key investors, have both taken steps to halt overseas funding of carbon-intensive projects.

Vicky Ford, the UK’s minister for Africa, has suggested that the bar for any development financing to flow to gas proposals would be high. “The biggest challenge that the world faces is still climate change,” she said in an interview on May 17. “The long-term strategy must continue to be working towards renewables as well.” At home, her government is pushing for more exploration of North Sea oil and gas wells.

The turn to Africa for a short-term gas fix is “patronizing” and “hypocritical,” said Carlos Lopes, former head of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. It is “absolutely outrageous to say to the Africans that they should basically not look into the options that they have in front of them, and at the same time accelerate the request for gas for Europe because of the Russia-Ukraine war.”

Vijaya Ramachandran, director for energy and development at the Breakthrough Institute, a California-based think tank, was more blunt. It’s “green colonialism,” she said, as rich countries exploit poorer nations’ resources while essentially denying them similar access in the name of climate action.

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9) ‘Complete Collapse’: How ESG and green extremism destroyed Sri Lanka’s economy
The Daily Caller, 6 July 2022

Sri Lanka is in a last-ditch effort to stave off economic collapse after an allegedly climate-friendly ban on artificial fertilizers devastated one of the country’s largest industries, according to experts.

Sri Lanka has run out of fuel and is facing the worst economic crisis in decades.

A chemical fertilizer ban in 2021, part of an initiative to cut nitrogen waste and implement greener farming practices, drastically reduced crop yields and damaged Sri Lanka’s trade balance.

“The decision to overnight shift away from synthetic fertilizers was an absolute disaster,” economist Peter Earle told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Sri Lanka is in a last-ditch effort to stave off economic collapse after an allegedly climate-friendly ban on artificial fertilizers devastated one of the country’s largest industries, according to experts.

Sri Lanka has been wracked with poverty, inflation and fuel shortages on a massive scale, with the Prime Minister declaring Tuesday that the country has gone “bankrupt,” according to Business Insider. A ban on chemical fertilizers, implemented April 2021 in an effort to promote organic farming, proved the final straw after a string of missteps, decimating Sri Lanka’s primary source of income and forcing it into bankruptcy, experts told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Our economy has faced a complete collapse,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on June 23, according to CNN.

The government lifted the fertilizer ban in November 2021, but the damage had already been done, Peter Earle, a former financial markets trader and economist at the American Institute for Economic Research, told TheDCNF.

“The decision to overnight shift away from synthetic fertilizers was an absolute disaster,” he said.

A 2019 bombing and COVID-19 lockdowns crushed tourism in Sri Lanka and lead to a dearth of foreign exchange reserves, putting a strain on imports of fuel and other necessities, according to data from the CIA World Factbook. But a loss of foreign currency only set the stage for catastrophe, according to Earle, when the fertilizer ban devastated Sri Lanka’s domestic crops.

“Agriculture is built not just on science, but it’s built on decades and centuries of trial and error and hard won experience,” said Earle. “There’s a certain degree of know-how in markets and in certain areas where the government should defer to the expertise of people in markets, people who are practitioners, rather than letting bureaucrats rule.”

Earle’s comments accorded with those of Breakthrough Institute founder and leading climate policy thinker Ted Nordhaus, who argued that synthetic fertilizers represent the most “economically and environmentally efficient” way to sustain Sri Lanka’s demanding agricultural sector in an essay from March.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated in the report that crop production for the 2021-2022 season decreased by 40% to 50%, and so far farmers have only utilized a quarter of the available land for the upcoming season, according to a report dated June 9.

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaweera declared a government initiative to save the earth from “our own geoengineering misuse, greed and selfishness” in 2020 ahead of a forum on halving nitrogen waste. The move was part of Sri Lanka’s effort to pursue environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals; the country signed onto a green finance taxonomy with the International Finance Corporation in May that included a commitment to organic fertilizers.

“If you want to go organic you have to cut down more forests to have enough production, because fertilizer use enhances crop production,” Vijay Jayaraj, a research associate at the Co2 Coalition, explained to TheDCNF. “And if you’re cutting down fertilizers, then it means that you need more land to produce enough crops to even meet the domestic demand.”

Sri Lanka gets a significant portion of its revenues from the tourism industry, and nearly a third of Sri Lanka’s population is involved in the agricultural industry, according to the World Factbook.

Inflation in Sri Lanka stood at 54.6% in June, according to Trading Economics, with food prices rising 80.1% and transportation 128% since May, Reuters reported. Half a million people have sunk into poverty as of early 2022, The Guardian reported.

“To the extent that any part of this organic agriculture decision was made based upon some version of green or green from the ideologies, this is just the first of many unintended consequences we’ve seen from these kinds of policies,” said Earle.

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10) If you want to know how Sri Lanka’s president destroyed his country – read his COP26 speech
High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom, 1 November 2021


It gives me great pleasure to address you this evening and I am very happy to see such an illustrious turnout at this event.

As we are all aware, climate change is one of the greatest crises the world currently faces.

The leaders of nearly all countries are meeting over the next two days to discuss and hopefully commit to actions that will start leading us out of it.

In doing so, one of the key issues that Sri Lanka and some other countries will rightfully draw attention to is that of sustainable nitrogen management.

In October 2019, fourteen nations joined the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Management.

This important declaration encourages nations to develop national roadmaps for sustainable nitrogen management, with a view to reducing nitrogen waste in half by 2030.

I thank the nations already associated with this declaration and encourage others to do the same.

Nitrogen is an abundant element that is essential to the sustenance of all living things.

However, reactive nitrogen generated by human activity and released into ecosystems worsens climate change.

Overuse of nitrogen, especially in fertilisers, has adverse impacts on soil, water, air, and human health.

For decades, chronic kidney disease has been a serious issue in Sri Lanka’s agricultural heartland.

The overuse of chemical fertilisers has contributed significantly to this problem.

It is in this context that my Government took firm steps to reduce imports of chemical fertilizer, and strongly encourage organic agriculture.

Although this action has been broadly appreciated, it has also met with some criticism and resistance.

In addition to chemical fertilizer lobby groups, this resistance has come from farmers who have grown accustomed to overusing fertilizer as an easy means of increasing yields.

This is particularly unfortunate considering Sri Lanka’s rich agricultural heritage.

Sri Lanka was known in historic times as the granary of the East.

This reputation was achieved in part due to the sophistication of our ancient hydraulic civilization.

It was also supported by the traditional wisdom and practices inherited by our farmers in the past, who understood the importance of respecting nature and worked hard to sustain it.

The challenge facing us now is to use modern scientific techniques and practices to enhance

agricultural production without causing environmental degradation.

We require a new agricultural revolution that has sustainability at its core.

Full speech