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Europe’s virtue-signalling environmental hypocrisy has given rise to a new ‘green’ colonialism.

Norway recently announced it will fund a satellite map of the world’s vulnerable forests, with the data free for download, to help combat deforestation. That’s shorthand for deforestation in in the Global South, of course. The project is ostensibly a gift to green movements.

But it’s also a curious gift from one of the world’s leading gas exporters and contributors to carbon emissions. Why then is Norway spending its own resources on an initiative aimed outside the country when its own responsibility for climate change is so significant? The simple answer – this is part of an unfortunate pattern.

Western countries have long focused most of their environmental efforts on gaslighting developing nations as a way of deflecting their overwhelming responsibility for the climate crisis.  This double-standard is reflected in a ‘Green Deal’ narrative that overlooks challenges facing poorer countries – resulting in a kind of ‘green colonialism’.

Despite tensions over Brexit, for example, Britain and Europe have both supported environmentally devastating activity in Africa. Despite its Green Deal, the EU plans to invest $100 billion on fossil fuels including in Africa. The US, Britain and Europe all continue to import oil and gas from African producers – while demanding that developing nations contribute to carbon emission reductions.

And despite Boris Johnson recently promising to curb government funding for overseas fossil fuel projects, this fails to address the massive funding such projects receive from private enterprise. At this year’s UK-Africa Summit for instance, 90pc of projects were for fossil fuels. Africa is routinely exploited for petrochemical resources by Western companies and then blamed by Western consumers for the greenhouse gases that their own consumption and economic demand produces. 

Moreover, the proffered £12 billion of investment into Johnson’s climate plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 is a drop in the ocean compared to the £400 billion infrastructure spend estimated to be required by PwC to meet that goal.

Meanwhile, Britain’s oil and gas rigs are the most polluting in the North Sea and there is no plan to clean up the industry amidst plans to allow production to rebound by 25pc by 2030. 

The EU cannot absolve itself from this hypocrisy. As one of Europe’s top gas exporters, Norway demonstrates no intention of cutting back fossil fuel production. While announcing it would divest its trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund from oil and gas exploration, Norway officially opened up its largest ever oil field. The country has even been sued by Greenpeace for illegal Arctic oil drilling and remains the third biggest gas exporter in the world, after Russia and Qatar. 

By emphasising environmental problems in less developed countries, Western nations deflect from their own responsibility.

The developing world should not be given the ultimatum of choosing between poverty and sustainability.

Instead of multiple, piecemeal ‘Green Deals’ serving the narrow self-interests of the affluent nations, to truly win the climate fight we Africans and Global Southerners need an inclusive Global Green Deal in which developing nations are made equal partners in the development of a new, sustainable industrial revolution.

That means partnership in which Western nations work alongside developing countries to create mutually-supportive forms of trade, technology transfer and agricultural production grounded in shared commitments to ecological principles.

Read the original article here.

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