Cape Town - Climate activists took to the streets to picket against the continuation of offshore oil and gas exploration and express their concerns with the Africa Gas Forum which took place on Wednesday as a side event of the Africa Energy Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
The Africa Gas Forum looked to bring together people and businesses interested in capitalising on the opportunities presented by the gas sector in Africa as, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), gas was set to become the world’s key energy source towards 2050.
Michael Wolf, Extinction Rebellion Cape Town’s spokesperson: “The Africa Gas Forum promotes further investments in oil and gas. We believe that these investments are not only more costly than renewable alternatives, but are also setting Africa up with infrastructure which will become stranded assets since fossil fuels will be abandoned because of their effect on catastrophic global warming.”
Wolf said various studies confirmed that although fossil gas produced less greenhouse effects than coal when burnt, the impact of the methane gas that leaked into the atmosphere during production, was far greater.
While organisers of the forum described it as the quintessential platform from which low-carbon alternatives would be thoroughly unpacked, Wolf lamented that the IEA also stated that no further oil and gas wells must be exploited if the world was to achieve its goal of preventing global temperatures from rising above 2ºC to avert catastrophic climate change.
One of the picketers was small-scale fisher from Steenberg Cove, Christian Adams, who said they took issue with business and the government’s insistence on excluding coastal communities, fishers and other groups that relied on the ocean for their livelihoods, from participating in these decisions that affect the ocean and their livelihoods.
The Green Connection strategic lead Liziwe McDaid said the aim of their picket action on Wednesday was to raise public awareness that business and the government were discussing their energy future without input from the public and civil society.
“There are no civil society representatives on the panels taking place. Panels that purport to discuss a just transition without those affected. Civil society will continue to fight for the right to be consulted about development decisions, as we are affected. Hiding in secret exclusive halls cannot be how development happens,” said McDaid.