Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has criticized Western countries for what he calls a “reprehensible double standard” in their response to the energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a Twitter post 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 been under a series of Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, cut off gas supplies to Europe, leaving the region dependent on Russian oil and gas imports scrambling for alternatives.
Germany had proposed phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions. But now Europe’s biggest economy has been forced to prioritize energy security over clean energy as gas supplies from Russia were frozen. Like Germany, many other European countries are reviving coal projects as alternatives to Russian power.
Museveni, 78, says Europe’s switch 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’ve come to expect in Africa. It makes a mockery of Western commitments to climate goals “, the Ugandan leader said, 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 has remained the most vulnerable to climate change despite having the lowest emissions and contributing the least to global warming. While rich nations (which are the main emitters) are better equipped to manage the impacts of climate change, poorer countries such as those in Africa are not.
“We will not accept one rule for them and another for us,” said Museveni, who has ruled the East African nation for 36 years.
Uganda aims 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 would displace thousands of people, 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 have continued to push wealthier nations for climate adaptation funding at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, as many parts of the continent suffer from severe drought, 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 major polluters elsewhere”.
Chakwera said he pressed Egypt for more climate finance from wealthier nations, adding: “Despite our marginal contribution to global warming, we continue to bear the brunt of the worsening impacts of climate change, with a 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.