Hypocrisy by any other name is a double standard

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Liquified Natural Gas Source: Google Images

A recent press release from NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber (www.EnergyChamber.org) entiled Mozambique LNG project could be transformational – if western environmentalists don’t interfere gave me an issue to ponder.

In the name of acknowledging climate change and protecting the planet and future generations, should those that finance fossil fuel development and exploration be sent to the gas (LNG) chambers?

If the contents of the African Energy Chamber press release are indeed factual, then the director of Friends of the Earth, Jamie Peters would probably be the one that opens the taps.

To quote NJ Ayuk: French oil major Total acquired the project and finalized project funding in July, even in the face of recent terror attacks in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, where Total’s LNG plant will be constructed.

That’s why it’s so disheartening to learn that a UK-based environmental group is pursuing actions that could jeopardize the project’s timely progression, all in the name of preventing climate change. Friends of the Earth has said it will initiate a legal challenge against the UK’s decision to provide $1 billion in funding for the Mozambique LNG project.

While I wouldn’t dream to criticise Mr Peters seemly impeccable Green credentials and his passion for a more just society, his idealism appears fostered from a comfortable academic environment. According to his bio on Linkedin (which he penned) he hasn’t had what some might call ‘a proper job’ where a profit motive is involved, nor has he had any practical experience in African upliftment, so pontificating about a Mozambique LNG project that could positively impact millions of people in our sub-continent, from the comfort of a cossetted environment 10 000 km away is a bit rich.

I’m sure Mr Peters strives for a perfect world – don’t we all – but the realities of Africa – drought, flood and pestilence – is a reality in which millions live their daily lives. Millions have also perished though natural disasters and those caused by the largely Western countries exploitation of Africa’s natural resources, proxy wars and political interference.

Development and investment in infrastructure will bring upliftment to many millions of mud hut and shack dwellers in this region, providing jobs, food, shelter and the opportunity for education and improved health care – surely nothing there that would wrangle Mr Peter’s lofty ideals? Sure there will be corruption and money laundering et al but the positives will outweigh the negatives and LNG is a much cleaner burning fuel that say coal or diesel.

I wonder how Mr Peters heats his home in winter? Odds are it’s by gas fired central heating which is by far and away the preferred energy source for heating in the UK. And that gas is LNG, piped hundreds of kilometres from the North Sea.

Norway’s economy is based on North Sea LNG and oil extraction and German society and industry absolutely depends upon LNG from the Russian Nord Stream gas fields in Vyborg.

Why I wonder is it OK for Western nations to benefit from the widespread use of LNG when it is not OK for Africans to do so?

We don’t live in a perfect world Mr Peters; so is it, do as I say, not as I do Mr Peters?