Oilwatch Africa has made a radical proposal to African countries to move away from the use of fossil fuels to renewable energy; arguing that the continuous exploitation of fossil fuels is impacting negatively on primary economies including agriculture, fisheries, livelihoods and the environment.
The Environmental civil Society group insist that “leaving fossils fuels in the ground and replacing with renewable energy is possible and an inescapable path to protecting our nations, tackling global warming and securing a future for new generations.”
For the group, leaving fossil fuels in the ground would be a powerful means of mitigating the impact of climate change, noting that their call is in consonance with science.
These calls were part of a communiqué issued at the end of the group’s annual General Meeting held in Accra recently on the theme, ‘Africa rise in Fossil Fuels and Alternative Energy.
The meeting brought together oilwatch network members from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya,Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.
The meeting analyzed among other things the political and economic interests of the governments and multinational oil companies, political corruption and abuse of political power as well as the rise of human and environmental rights abuses visited on communities and peoples.
Other issues discussed included land grabbing, displacements and the marginalization of communities, Data paucity on renewable energy resources as well as abuse of tools for socio-economic and environmental assessments in interrogating proposed projects.
After these deliberations the network further demanded that the environmental and social externalities associated with fossil energy extraction be included in the true price of oil; while Priorities be given to primary economies, such as of fisheries, over the enclave economies of the extractive sector.
In a speech on her behalf, the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development
Mrs. Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, congratulated the oilwatch for putting together the conference and for bringing out issues that demands policy attention.
The Minister noted though oil is being exploited in Ghana, no significant oil spills has been recorded since oil find affecting our shorelines, marine mammals and fisheries.
She said in Ghana, and within the fisheries sector, studies have shown that the resting stock of our main fisheries resources the sardines are off the 300-400 metre depth contours and mainly from Axim to Cape-3 points. This area is adjacent the catchment area where significant oil fields are found notably the Jubilee fields, Tano oil basins, TEN-(Tweneboa EnyerraNtumy) fields, GyeNyame, Sankofa field.
She said in order to exploit natural resources judiciously, there is the need for close collaboration among the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development; the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology; the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum; the Ghana National Petroleum Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency; Oil companies and all related stakeholders have to continue with more emphasis to strengthen linkages existing to improve the harmonization of regulations governing the exploration and use of oil fossils for energy and fish for food.
She added that a good balance in rules and regulations governing the oil, gas and fisheries is vital for the smooth growth of the economies in Africa.
By Mohammed Suleman