Ugandan President Museveni slams ‘Western double standards’ over German coal mine plans



CNN

The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has criticized Western countries for what he describes as a “reprehensible double standard” in their response to the energy crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In one Post on Twitter on Sunday, Museveni singled out Germany for demolishing wind turbines to allow the expansion of a coal-fired power plant as Europe grapples with an energy crisis triggered by the war between Russia and Ukraine.

In September, Russia, which had come under a series of Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, halted gas supplies to Europe, leaving the region dependent on Russian oil and gas imports to look for alternatives.

Germany had proposed phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions. But Europe’s biggest economy has now been forced to prioritize energy security over clean energy as gas supplies from Russia freeze. Like Germany, many other European countries are reviving coal projects as alternatives to Russian energy.

Museveni, 78, says Europe’s shift to coal-based power generation “makes a mockery” of the West’s climate goals.

“News from Europe that a large wind farm is being demolished to make way for a new opencast coal mine is the reprehensible double standard we expect in Africa. It makes a mockery of Western commitments to climate goals.” said the Ugandan leader, while describing the move as “the purest hypocrisy”.

CNN has reached out to the German Embassy in Uganda for comment.

In a statement published on his official website, Museveni stated that “Europe’s failure to meet its climate goals should not be Africa’s problem”.

The African continent remained the most vulnerable to climate change despite having the lowest emissions and contributing less to global warming. While rich nations (which are the biggest emitters) are better equipped to deal with the impacts of climate change, poorer countries such as those in Africa are not.

“We are not going to accept one rule for them and one rule for us,” said Museveni, who has ruled the east African nation for 36 years.

Uganda intends to explore its oil reserves at a commercial level over the next three years, but a resolution by the European Union parliament in September warned that the project will displace thousands, endanger water resources and endanger marine protected areas.

Museveni reacted to the resolution at the time, insisting that “The project will continue,” and threatened to find new contractors if the current managers of the oil projectchoose to listen to the EU Parliament“.

African leaders continued to press wealthier nations for climate adaptation funding at the ongoing COP27 climate summit in Egypt, as many parts of the continent struggle with severe droughts, floods and other catastrophic effects of climate change.

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, who is attending the COP27 summit, said his country and other poorer nations “continue to bear the brunt of carbon emissions from the biggest polluters elsewhere”.

Chakwera said he lobbied Egypt for more climate finance from richer nations, adding: “Despite our marginal contribution to global warming, we continue to bear the brunt of the worsening impacts of climate change, with 10% of our economic losses caused by disasters”.

A pledge by developed countries to pay $100 billion each year starting in 2020 to help the developing world transition from fossil fuels to clean energy has yet to be fulfilled.

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