Skip Navigation

UN COP27: It's a Gas, Gas, Gas

November 3, 2022

Who would have guessed that a UN COP would turn into a promotion point for fossil fuel development?

Who would have guessed that a UN COP would turn into a promotion point for fossil fuel development? COP27 is looking that way, thanks to the energy crisis and Africa’s determination to develop itself.

After all, these are developing countries, right? In this case some of them want to develop, use and sell their abundant natural gas resources. Imagine the green horror! Poor countries actually making money from fossil fuels.

How, or even if, this rapidly emerging issue will get on the COP 27 table remains to be seen, but it is certainly a lively topic of discussion on the side. Europe needs gas and Africa has it; green agenda be damned.

Here are just a few of the high points on this fascinating new issue.

In June the EU Parliament made gas green. I am not making this up. Their action made this fossil fuel eligible for a bunch of subsides and related green goodies. It also opened the door to investment.

About the same time a bunch of African nations issued the Kigali Communique, saying this:

We “Support Africa in the deployment of gas as a transition fuel….”

The signers are Ministers and high-level representatives from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

More recently Germany and Poland’s top dogs actually went to Senegal to talk up development of its considerable natural gas resources. Other EU leaders and ministers have visited other African countries. America is doing a bunch of gas investment too.

Numerous deals are in the works, including tapping many new gas fields, building pipelines and building or enlarging LNG terminals and ports. For example, Mozambique is seeking to double its LNG poetry capacity.

Getting off Russian gas means getting on African gas. It is that simple.

Of course everyone gives lip service to a far distant net zero goal, calling gas a “transition” step. In the meantime GET THE GAS. This so-called transition might last right thru 2030 or even 2050.

The green agenda can be turned around without a word to that effect. In politics and diplomacy you never have to admit error. You just stop doing the wrong thing.

Africa already sees a lot of gas production so this is just more of the same, a lot more. Here is a quick list of the major existing gas produces, with their rank in global production. Of course none is close to the giants — America and Russia — but they clearly know how to get the gas.

Algeria 5th globally

Nigeria 12th

Egypt 20th

Libya 40th

Note that COP27 host Egypt is high on the list of gas producers. They may well want to get gas onto the table. Egypt’s foreign minister and Cop27 president Sameh Shoukry Is quoted saying We might see in gas a transitional source of energy with certainly less emissions”. Better than coal, right? Not that gas is replacing coal as we are talking about growth and development.

The president of COP26 tabled a whole set of radical proposals so we shall see what happens in COP27 as far as gas goes. A logical place for it to emerge is on the topic of new commitments, which is supposed to be central to the discussion.

But as I said, the gas work may just happen along side the COP27 climate negotiations. Many countries send dozens of delegates, while some send over a hundred. Few of these folks actually sit in on the negotiations and there is no room for them to do so. Cutting deals is likely.

What is never reported is the huge international carnival that each COP also includes. Some countries actually have big pavilions, where they give away free stuff by the bag full. There are also hundreds of presentations over the ever do long deliberations. These are called side events and here is a recent list:

https://seors.unfccc.int/applications/seors/reports/events_list.html?session_id=COP%2027

I have not measured this list but it looks to be over seven feet of small print.

In short the energy crisis is rolling the climate agenda, using natural gas for power. Whether or not gas becomes a COP27 discussion point remains to be seen.

How the COP handles the energy crisis is a fascinating question. Maybe the gas gorilla will just sit there quietly while the talks drone on. Maybe not.

Stay tuned to CFACT.

Article Tags
Energy
Author
David Wojick is a former consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science.
dwojick@climatechangedebate.org

Related News & Opinion View All News