Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has criticized Western countries for what he calls a “reprehensible double standard” in their response to the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In Twitter post on Sunday, Museveni blasted Germany for demolishing wind turbines to allow expansion of coal-fired power plants as Europe grapples with an energy crisis caused by the Russia/Ukraine war.
In September, Russia, which had faced multiple Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, cut 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 froze. Just like Germany, many other European countries are reviving coal projects as an alternative 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 huge wind farm is being demolished to make way for a new open pit coal mine is the reprehensible duplicity that we in Africa have come to expect. It makes a mockery of Western commitments to climate goals,” the Ugandan leader said, further describing the move as “pure hypocrisy”.
CNN has contacted the German Embassy in Uganda for comment.
In a statement published on his official website, Museveni said “Europe’s failure to meet its climate targets should not be Africa’s problem”.
The continent of Africa has been the most vulnerable to climate change despite having the lowest emissions and contributing the least to global warming. While rich nations (which are the biggest emitters) are better placed to manage the effects of climate change, poorer countries like Africa are not.
“We will not accept one rule for them and another rule for us,” said Museveni, who has ruled the East African nation for 36 years.
Uganda aims to explore its oil reserves at the commercial level over the next three years, but a resolution from the European Parliament in September warned that the project will displace thousands, endanger water resources and endanger marine protection.
Museveni reacted to the resolution at the time and insisted “the project shall continue,” and threatened to find a new contractor if the current supervisors of the oil projectchoose to listen to the EU Parliament.”
African leaders have continued to press richer nations for climate adaptation funding at the ongoing COP27 climate conference in Egypt, as many parts of the continent grapple with severe droughts, floods and other catastrophic consequences of climate change.
Malawi 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 had campaigned in 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 effects of climate change, with 10% of economic our losses are caused by disasters.
A pledge by developed countries to pay $100 billion every year from 2020 to help developing countries switch from fossil fuels to clean energy has yet to be fulfilled.