Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has warned developed countries that they risk condemning countries like Mozambique to poverty if they cut funding to all fossil fuel exploration projects because of environmental concerns.
In a foreword to a report entitled “A Just Transition for Africa: Advocating a Fair and Prosperous Path to Zero Emissions”, Blair warned of the consequences of ending funding for energy produced from natural gas.
If high-income countries “limit development opportunities, for example by suspending funding for gas-fired power, without making provision for equally affordable alternatives, they risk condemning countries to continued poverty and food insecurity.”
An unintended effect could be African countries resorting to funding from other countries less concerned about the environment and climate change.
“Global climate action and the zero [carbon dioxide] emissions approach in Africa often fail to take into account the urgent need for development and industrialisation in much of the continent,” he laments.
Blair argues that richer countries should not only take on the lion’s share of greenhouse gas reductions to combat global warming, but also significantly increase funding associated with adapting and protecting developing countries from the impact of climate change.
Mozambique is highlighted in the study published on Thursday by the Tony Blair Institute for World Transformation as a flagship case, as the natural gas reserves in the north of the country represent potential for the country’s economic and social development.
While some of the natural gas extracted, which is not expected to happen until 2026, will be destined for domestic consumption, they note, most of it will be exported and will help other countries rely less on more polluting energy sources such as coal and oil.
“Harnessing the transformative power of gas is a development imperative that serves people, prosperity and the planet, while recognising the legitimate aspirations of Mozambicans”.
The report is published less than a month before the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow between 31 October and 12 November.
The conference will seek to put into practice the commitments of the Paris Agreement, reached in 2015, to limit global warming below two degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
More than 120 world leaders are expected at a high-level meeting in the early days of COP26, which is expected to bring together some 25,000 participants, including politicians, activists, experts and national negotiators.