by Vijay Jayaraj
Many people read history to understand colonialism — how it looked and felt. However, for those in the Third World colonialism is a living experience, courtesy restrictive energy policies forced upon them by Western political leaders.
This modern form of enslavement — to the West’s so-called green agenda — is variously known as climate colonialism, carbon imperialism and other monikers. Whatever the nomenclature, the reality is suppression of access to fossil fuel energy sources in the name of saving the planet from a made-up climate emergency.
The effect of this imposed energy crisis on developing countries is lethal and quick. What climate-woke politicians decide in their temperature-regulated offices in Europe and North America has disastrous consequences for the world’s poor who live — and die — without reliable electricity, running water, washing machines, refrigerators, ovens and hospitals connected to a power grid.
Societal objectives supposedly cherished in the West — from improving one’s livelihood to empowering women — are sacrificed by anti-fossil fuel activism of the colonialists.
John Kerry, the U.S. administration’s special presidential envoy for climate change, asked African leaders to limit the role of natural gas to being a short-term replacement for coal and oil. Kerry expressed reservations about long-term gas projects because he believes that the fuel’s CO2 emissions are problematic.
The authoritarian drum beat from the likes of Kerry has led the prime minister of India to call out the “colonial mindset” of western leaders who continue to suppress access to affordable and reliable energy in sovereign nations.
The issue was also brought up in a recently concluded political conference where Russia, China, India, and other countries expressed deep concerns over the coercion of restrictive Western energy policies.
The most astonishing aspect of these persistent calls for reducing Third World consumption of fossil fuels is that they come from people who have some of the highest CO2 emissions. For example, Kerry’s family owns a private jet and multiple mansions, with emissions higher than that of thousands of villages in Africa and Asia.
As per data obtained by media in July, the Kerry jet, a Gulfstream GIV-SP, “has made a total of 48 trips lasting more than 60 hours and emitted an estimated 715,886 pounds, or 325 metric tons, of carbon since President Biden was sworn into office.” Reports indicate that the jet “produced 30 times more carbon in 2021 than an average vehicle.”
So, on what moral ground do politicians like Kerry ask the poor to reduce emissions? What authority do they have to deny energy liberation to 620 million Africans still without electricity?
This fathomless level of hypocrisy was displayed during the recent energy crisis in Europe. European preachers turned to coal and oil when Russian gas supply was interrupted. National leaders who had discouraged poor countries from using fossil fuels turned to the very same countries to produce and export fossil fuels to European shores.
Wealthy western economies return to fossil fuels because neither wind nor solar can meet the energy demands of modern society. Only fossil fuels, hydroelectric, and nuclear can. Yet, wealthy climate elitists somehow feel it is necessary for the Third World to forgo the coal and oil that enabled the growth of Western economies during the last couple of centuries.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the UK, whose economy constitutes approximately 3.2 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) has lifted a ban on fracking to secure long-term hydrocarbon production. Meanwhile, Africa with a GDP share of about 2.9 percent is being pressed to give up gas projects and embrace abject poverty.
Vijaya Ramachandran, Director for Energy and Development at the Breakthrough Institute, says, “Africans must not be the target of climate colonialism. Alignment with the Paris Agreement is becoming code for banning critical energy projects in very poor countries.”
As Syd Lucas puts it, “We cannot let climate colonialists rip the rug out from under these developing countries as they are growing and developing their energy industry.”
Climate colonialism threatens to usher in a period of sustained poverty, wiping out decades of economic progress in just a few years.
This commentary was first published at The Western Journal, September 30, 2022, and can be accessed here.
Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK, and resides in India.