A Window of Opportunity for African Fossil Fuels
As the world pursues a more sustainable future, it would be a mistake for African countries to base their development strategies on fossil-fuel exploitation. Instead, they must figure out how to maximize the oil and gas industry’s short-run benefits for development, while advancing the clean-energy transition.
WINDSOR, ONTARIO – In August, a plaque was installed where Iceland’s once-iconic Okjökull glacier stood, before climate change turned it into a lake. “This monument,” the plaque reads, “is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and know what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”
What is happening, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and virtually the entire scientific community warn, is the rapid approach of a climate catastrophe. And while much must be done to prevent it, for developing regions like Africa, this will require a new approach to industrialization.
In many ways, the world is finally beginning to take climate change seriously. A total of 195 countries have signed onto the 2015 Paris climate agreement. In the United States, while President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the Paris accord (and rolled back environmental protections), state governments have taken up the mantle of achieving its goals, and Democratic presidential candidates are proposing ambitious climate strategies.
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