‘Policymakers ignore burning of fossil fuels literally setting the planet on fire’

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey

The Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, has said the notion that fossil fuels will remain the fuel of the future has been sold by speculators and by governments dependent on extractivist economies.

“Because of petrodollars, policymakers are ready to ignore the scientific fact that the burning of fossil fuels is literally setting the planet on fire.”

Bassey, who stated this yesterday, at the opening of Oilwatch Africa Conference in Port Harcourt, in a presentation tagged ‘Africa: A Fossil Fuel-Troubled Continent’, said fossil fuels have been the fuels of rabid capitalism, riding roughshod over people and the planet.

He said even as the petroleum age drew to a close, the fossil fuel companies still insist on searching for more reserves and digging for more crude oil, coal, and gas.

While noting that an estimated 57 per cent of Africa’s export earnings come from hydrocarbons, the director said “for a continent so wedded to foreign direct investment, having five of the top 30 oil-producing countries in the world, and nearly $2 trillion of investments expected by 2036, is quite a big deal.”

“Such intoxicating statistics cement lazy politicians to the apron strings of oil, gas and coal companies. The lure of dollars has stopped policymakers from sparing a moment to consider the truth that cash cannot stop the floods, no matter how high the pile,” Bassey said.

The activist, who berated the grabs of crude oil in exchange for infrastructure by countries like China, said “this is wrong because fossil fuel extraction has had harrowing impacts on the continent. Some of these impacts have snuffed the life out of children and whole communities.”

The solution he said is going green, “We have renewable energy resources and with the right support, we can build biodiversity-based economies that are sensitive to the rights of Mother Earth and support the wellbeing of all beings.”

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