What you need to know:
- President Museveni, who is in Tanzania for a three-day state visit, has held bilateral talks on joint projects, including the EACOP, which will transport Uganda’s crude oil.
President Museveni yesterday weighed in on the polarising debate of fossil fuels and climate change saying oil remains a key resource that cannot be phased out immediately which makes current upstream and midstream projects worthwhile investments.
Speaking at the closure of the two-day Tanzania-Uganda Oil and Gas Symposium at State House Dar-es-Salaam, President Museveni said the ongoing rancorous campaign against oil by especially environmentalists “is good for us” as many companies are fearing to invest in oil.
“First, we shall use fossil energy for another 40 years. There will always be demand for oil,” he said. “Even if they stopped the use of petrol cars, the use for car tyres will remain and tyres made using oil are better than the rubber tyres.”
The fossil fuels versus climate change debate—stopping usage of fossils including oil, natural gas, biomas, and coal, which available science shows yield significant greenhouse gas emissions than wind and solar power, hydropower, and nuclear energy—is one of the most polarising in the world today.
The debate has pitted governments against each other, especially over “empty pledges” and rhetorical commitments to treat climate change as a matter requiring urgent action.
At the just concluded United Nations COP26 Climate Change summit held in the Scottish capital of Glasgow early this month, countries reached the Glasgow Climate Pact that aims to reduce the debilitating impacts of climate change, but some world leaders and, especially climate change activists, criticised it as “not enough”.
The countries agreed to meet next year to further chart a path to cut greenhouse emissions—an attempt to keep global temperature rise within the 1.5C range, which scientists say is required to prevent a “climate catastrophe.”
President Museveni said the “climate salvation efforts are targeting efforts’’ but in Uganda’s case, like in many developing countries, the environment is not about greenhouse gasses, but waste disposal—plastics and polyethene, which are choking the ecosystem.
During the past months, local and international civil society actors have been massively de-campaigning the proposed East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and calling upon international banks not to provide financing for the project citing environmental, social and governance risks.
The CSOs have specifically urged the financing institutions to invoke their new fossil fuels financing policies that set out stringent conditions for lending to fossil fuel projects, including requiring project owners to commit to minimising or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
President Museveni arrived in Tanzania on Saturday mid-morning on a three-day state visit. On Saturday evening he and his Tanzanian host, Samia Suluhu Hassan, held bilateral talks on joint projects, including the EACOP which will transport Uganda’s crude oil to the international market via the Indian Ocean port of Tanga.
“I am happy to tell Tanzanians, Ugandans and the world that the activities on the pipeline are complete,” he said at a press conference at State House, Dar-es-Salaam.
President Suluhu, who was in Uganda twice earlier in the year for the signing of the remaining EACOP agreements, and for Museveni’s swearing-in-ceremony for a seventh term, described Uganda as true partner. On Sunday, President Museveni addressed the Tanzania-Uganda Oil and Gas Symposium co-organised by the Ugandan High Commission in Tanzania and the Private Sector foundations of the two countries.
The President said he is personally “not intoxicated by oil”, first discovered at the turn of the last century but commercial volumes were confirmed 15 years ago, saying it can only grow Uganda’s economy complimented by other sectors.
Peak commercial oil production, according to the World Bank, could earn the Uganda up to $3b (approx. Shs7 trillion) in revenues from exports of up to 60,000 barrels of oil per day which could grow the economy at 12 percent but if the money is used properly and not pillaged.
Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania Richard Kabonero said the symposium was organised to offer overview to the private sector of both countries about current developments and available opportunities around the EACOP project.
Physical works on the 1,443km duct running from Hoima to the Indian Ocean Port of Tanga have already commenced in Tanzania with establishment of a pipe coating plant, among others. Eighty percent of the pipeline, 1,147km, will be on the Tanzanian side.
In Uganda, the EACOP holding company, is working on fast-tracking land acquisition starting with financial literacy for the project affected persons. The Ugandan section of the pipeline is about 296km through 10 districts and 25 subcounties, and 172 villages, and affecting at least 4,00 persons.
On Sunday, President Museveni toured the Tanzanian Standard Gauge Railway which he said will ease connectivity to neighbouring countries, and later the expansion of the Dar-es-Salaam port.
Today, he is expected to among others visit the resting place of fallen Tanzanian President John Magufuli in Chato District, Geita region, in the northwestern.
COP26: What was agreed
Coal. For the first time at a conference, there was an explicit plan to reduce use of coal - which is responsible for 40 percent of annual CO2 emissions. However, countries only agreed a weaker commitment to ‘‘phase down’’ rather than ‘‘phase out’’ coal after a late intervention by China and India.
Fossil fuel subsidies. World leaders agreed to phase-out subsidies that artificially lower the price of coal, oil, or natural gas. However, no firm dates have been set.