By Lawrence Freeman
Part I: Energy for Development
Western nations and their institutions are attempting to dictate that African nations do not exploit their own valuable energy resources of oil, gas, and coal. They are hysterically disseminating an unfounded fear that development of Africa’s energy will lead to catastrophic consequences for civilization. However, more African leaders are speaking out on the necessity and sovereign obligation for African nations to consume their natural resources to develop their economies.
Mo Ibrahim has added his voice to other African leaders who object to denying African nations the right to utilize their natural hydro-carbon resources for the benefit of their people. Sub-Saharan Africa is resource rich and energy poor, which is the leading cause of poverty and hunger for hundreds of millions of Africans. Unless and until and African nations install a density of energy to power the creation of industrialized economies, their people will continue to suffer.
In a recent interview in The Guardian, entitled, Billionaire Mo Ibrahim Attacks Hypocrisy Over Africa Gas, the philanthropist and Sudanese businessman, bluntly criticized the obscene and unfair policy to prevent African nations from exploiting their gas reserves.
“We have 600 million people without electricity. How can we even think of development if people don’t have power?…Development is a major issue for us, and power is essential.
“Nine hundred million people in Africa suffer from unclean cooking – mainly women. What about the pollution effect of that? It’s a serious problem, a health disaster, and an environmental disaster. That’s why we need gas.
Contrasting the dictates from the U.S. and EU, for Africans increasingly rely on so called renewables, Mr. Ibrahim appropriately objected: “If [renewable energy] is valid, why don’t those guys jump immediately and stop using gas? They’re not doing that – they’re building [LNG infrastructure], they’re actually even reopening coalmines. So, you’re giving me advice which you’re not following yourself.”
The hypocrisy of the West is blatantly obvious. Europe is in overdrive to obtain fossil fuels in Africa now that energy flows from Russia are in jeopardy. Last month, reporters from the New York Times wrote, “European leaders have been converging on Africa’s capital cities, eager to find alternatives to Russian natural gas.” NYT-Europe turns to Africa for natural gas.
What the West is demanding of African nations goes beyond hypocrisy; it is immoral and wicked.
Every competent leader, as well as any honest economist, knows from the history of the development of modern society, that abundant, and accessible forms of power have been essential for nations to progress. That is why all advanced sector nations have exploited fossil fuels in the past and continue to depend on them in the present, even as they demand that African nations do not.
It is scientifically known, that forcing African nations to rely on wind and solar as primary sources of energy will guarantee that these nations will not develop, will not become industrialized, will not be able to feed their populations. Resulting in endless poverty. Hence, is this not a new, modern form of imperialism?
African Leaders Speak Out
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe
- Speaking in December 2021, South African Minister of Energy, Gwede Mantashe, said:
“Africa deserves an equal chance to develop its economies on the strength of her natural resources.
“Several countries on the African continent have announced their oil and gas finds which present massive opportunities for economic growth, industrialization, and job creation. As these developments unfold, we have noted with interest, the pushback, and objections from environmental lobby groups against the development of these resources.
“I cannot help but ask myself, are these objections meant to ensure the status quo remains in Africa, in general, and South Africa, in particular? That is, the status quo with regards to energy poverty, high unemployment, high debt to GDP ratio at country level and economies that are not growing and, in some cases, jobless economic growth. Could it be possible that this is an extreme pure love for the environment or an unrelenting campaign to ensure that Africa and South Africa do not see the investment inflows they need?“
“South Africa deserves the opportunity to capitalize on its natural resources including oil and gas, as these resources have been proven to be game changers elsewhere. We consider the objections to these developments as apartheid and colonialism of a special type, masqueraded as a great interest for environmental protection.” Nigerian VP: Osinbajo “Climate Justice Must Include Ending Energy Poverty” Especially for Sub-Saharan Africa
- Speaking in October of this year, Minister Mantashe got to the heart of the matter:
“I see the protests outside this venue that said, ‘fossil fuels a killer’, but I can tell you that hunger kills faster”.
“We have seen the increase of coal purchasing from us to EU growing eightfold, 780%. As they take our coal, they at the same time tell us to move out of it quickly. That is a contradiction that Africa must look at.
“Africa must determine its pathway from high carbon emissions to low carbon emissions. It must take into account our developmental needs & must not be dictated to by anybody else who is at a different level of development.” South Africa Energy Minister Rejects Western Dictates & Hypocrisy Against Africa’s Use of Energy Resources
- Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice-President, wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine in August 2021:
“But limiting the development of fossil fuel projects and, in particular, natural gas projects would have a profoundly negative impact on Africa. Natural gas doesn’t make sense in every African market. But in many, it is a crucial tool for lifting people out of poverty. It is used not only for power but for industry and fertilizer and for cleaner cooking. Liquified petroleum gas is already replacing huge amounts of hazardous charcoal and kerosene that were most widely used for cooking, saving millions of lives that were previously lost to indoor air pollution. The role of gas as a transition fuel for developing countries, especially in Africa, cannot be overemphasized.
“Yet Africa’s progress could be undone by the rich world’s efforts to curb investments in all fossil fuels.” Nigerian VP: Osinbajo “Climate Justice Must Include Ending Energy Poverty” Especially for Sub-Saharan Africa
- Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari wrote in Newsweek magazine, (10/31/21):
“It is an inconvenient truth, but energy solutions proposed by those most eager to address the climate crisis are fuel for the instability of which they warn. No more clearly can this be seen than in Africa.
“For today’s 1.3 billion Africans, access to low-cost and reliable energy is the highest of all possible concerns. Estimated to rise to 2.5 billion by 2050—by 2100 Nigeria alone is projected to have the second largest population on the planet—this “great doubling” (for Nigeria, quadrupling) has the right to more dependable electricity than their forebears.
“Without extra and stable power, we cannot build the factories that will transform Africa from a low-job, extractives-led economy to a high employment middle-income continent. Children cannot learn for longer and better by battery light any more than by candlelight. No more than the Africa of today, the Africa of tomorrow cannot advance using energy production that intermittently delivers.” President Buhari of Nigeria, Demands More and Reliable Energy for Africa from COP26
Part II: Climate Change Is Complex
Hysterical claims that human generated carbon dioxide (CO2), will destroy civilization, is simply not true. Civilization is not facing a cataclysmic future from “Anthropogenic Global Warming.” Destruction of civilization by nuclear war is a far more likely possibility if we do not pull back from the brink of confrontation with Russia.
Even the term “climate change” is a misnomer and completely misleading. Our planet, since its creation, estimated to be over four billion years old, has undergone constant climate change, driven by geological, solar, astronomical, and galactic forces.
One cannot determine the causes for climate change in days, months, or even years. Serious thinkers seek to understand changes in climate by examining data from hundreds, thousands, and millions of years ago.
Our Solar System not only rotates around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy every 230 million years, but also bobs above and below the elliptic plane of the Milky Way every 60 million years. Both of these long cycle movements affect weather. The intensity and density of the 11-year cycle of Sunspots also affects our climate.
Over millions of years, there have been huge temperature swings. Our planet has experienced many ice ages followed by warming periods. The Sahara Desert only came into existence a few million years ago, as the African tectonic plate crashed into what is today known as Europe. However, even the Sahara, which is the largest, driest, hottest desert in the world is constantly undergoing change from wet to dry. This is the result of a 22,500-25,000-year cycle caused by the wobble of the earth due to its tilted axis, as it rotates around the Sun. This wobble causes dramatic changes in temperature and rainfall.
C02 Is Not Our Enemy
The theory, if you can call it that, falsely predicts that civilization will die from rising temperatures as a result of industrial societies producing too much CO2. It is based on the simplistic assumption that if you pump CO2 into a sealed container, it will heat up. This heat-death scenario for the human race relies on the erroneous theory that our universe is entropic. In fact, our universe is not marching towards ultimate heat-death. Our biosphere is a developing organism, which does not function as a closed system, but exists in a growing living universe.
Anthropogenic contributions to CO2 emissions are minuscule and have no impact on our climate. Examine the facts from In Defense of co2 and Astro Climatology listed below.
Today, large amounts of carbon dioxide are regularly generated by biotic and abiotic activity from living animals, decaying biomass as well as volcanos which constantly emit CO2 and other greenhouse gases. A surprisingly small portion of that naturally occurring CO2 is caused by human economic activity.
Taking the entire composition of greenhouse gases together, water vapor makes up 95% of the bulk, carbon dioxide makes up 3.6%, nitrous oxide (0.9%), methane (0.3%), and aerosols about 0.07%.
Of the sum total of the 3.6% carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, approximately 0.9% is caused by human activity. To restate this statistic: Human CO2 makes up less than 1% of the 3.6% of the total greenhouse gases influencing our climate. (Emphasis added)
Causation between CO2 and rising temperatures has not been proven. During the ice ages, thousands of years ago, CO2 levels were magnitudes higher. More recently, from 1000-1350 A.D., during the age of the Vikings, global mean temperatures were also elevated. This was followed by the Little Ice Age that lasted from (1450-1850). Both these periods of history existed before human industrialized activity, which is falsely claimed to be the cause of global warming.
Dr. Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and former Chairman of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, has written: “Another interesting observation, which is regularly overlooked, is that there are clear indications that atmospheric temperature increase precedes CO2 concentration, and not the other way around…if even a shallow depth of the oceans warms by a small amount, huge amounts of CO2 would be expected to be released. So, CO2 atmospheric concentration lagging behind temperature change strikes one as extremely logical.” Climate Change ebb and flow of the tide
Dr Kemm’s point is corroborated by scientific data. If one looks a temperatures and levels of C02 going back hundreds of thousands of years, one observes that rising temperatures proceeded higher concentrations of CO2.
The Promethean Principle
It is scientifically known that any short term drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels as an energy source will lead to more poverty, and an increase in the death rate. So-called renewables are a poor substitute for 24×7 abundant reliable energy. More dangerously for civilization is the neo-Malthusian ideology of the extreme environmentalists. This anti-scientific belief asserts that humankind’s existence is in a fundamental antagonistic relationship to the physical universe, and to the environment. The followers of this dogma have a not so hidden prejudice against the human race, who they see as malignant disrupters of so called pristine nature. They believe that humankind is inherently evil, thus it must have its behavior modified.
Like Thomas Malthus, they falsely claim that we live in a fixed universe, with fixed resources, and therefore the human race must be controlled and curtailed. Sadly, a substantial portion of the world’s population has imbibed their anti-scientific propaganda. To wit: that too many people will use up the planet’s resources, thus we must limit population growth. To this end they intend to use the hysteria of climate change to prevent African nations from ever becoming industrialized. This same ideology will contribute to the deindustrialization of the West, serving the same goal; population reduction and decreasing people’s standard of living.
Enter Prometheus and his successful battle for the soul and mind of humankind against Zeus, the tyrant of the all-powerful Gods of Olympus. According to the Greek myth, Prometheus accepted to be tortured for centuries for his crime of giving fire-energy to the human species. Prometheus brought light, science, and knowledge to the “mud-people,” as Zeus referred to them. In so doing, Prometheus fashioned the human race uniquely endowed with the power of creative imagination, the power to discover the embedded principles of our physical universe. Millions of years of history, provide unmistakable evidence that we humans are not mere care takers or stewards of the universe. Rather, humankind are transmitters of change. We lawfully transform the universe for the perpetuation of our species.
Recent images from NASA’s Webb telescope reveal a highly structured and living universe. Our universe is governed by a creative principle, which corresponds to humankind’s potential of willful creativity. As the great philosopher Gottfried Leibniz understood and eloquently wrote, humankind lives in an “pre-established harmony” with the universe. Humans are not outsiders intruding on a predetermined ecosystem. Quite the opposite. The Promethean human race was created to uniquely intervene through the power of reason to advance the universe to a higher manifold of existence.
Africa’s Energy Future
Governments are obligated to act with speed and determination to produce as much energy as possible from every resources available to address the massive energy deficit that is killing Africans throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Immediately, nuclear fission energy should proliferate across the African continent to power industrialized economies. A fission energy centered economic platform will prepare the transition to a fusion powered economy. Nuclear fusion energy, which replicates the power of the Sun here on earth, will generate energy at magnitudes greater than what we produce from fossil fuels and fission.
Some may object to my optimism that Africa will be powered by fission and fusion energy in the future. Better to be proud Prometheans, than accept today’s diktats from the would be “Gods of Olympus” to remain economically underdeveloped, plagued with hunger, poverty, and death.
Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton