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COP27: Uganda-Tanzania Oil Pipeline Sparks Climate Row

Vicki Woolven

25th October 2022

International agreements to limit carbon emissions are always a minefield because mitigating climate change has a very real economic impact for developing nations. Uganda and Tanzania are set to construct a huge crude oil pipeline, which is bad news for the environment, but they say that economic development is their priority.

In 2021 the International Energy Agency warned that the world risked not meeting its climate goals if fossil fuel projects across the globe were not stopped. Yet a year down the line we have two developing nations set to start work on a 1,440km crude oil pipeline, after the Tanzanian government signed a deal to construct a pipeline to transport crude oil from the shores of Lake Albert in western Uganda - which will be known as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

Last month the EU called for the project to be cancelled, citing environmental concerns and human rights abuses - however this intervention was dismissed by the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments which see the pipeline as vital to turbo-charge their economies, and led to widespread protests arguing that both countries have the right to use its fossil fuel riches to develop, just like rich nations have done for hundreds of years.

They can also throw in some interesting statistics here - firstly Africa has only emitted 3% of climate-warming gases compared to 17% from EU countries, and perhaps more crucially only 22% of energy across the EU comes from renewable sources, compared to 84% in Tanzania and 92% in Uganda! Supporters of the project point out that even when EU member states stop using fossil fuels they will still remain wealthy, so it is not fair to gamble the economic futures of Tanzania and Uganda on a series of what-ifs.

But not everyone across developing nations agree that economic development should push ahead without addressing environmental concerns...

Linking to COP27

COP27 kicks off on 6th November - and how to balance economic development as well as fight climate change is set to dominate discussions. Last year rich nations agreed to support developing nations in their adaptation and mitigation projects through a large economic package (that was previously agreed to at the Paris Accord in 2015 but hadn't been honoured), as well as compensating them for loss and damage that has already been caused by climate change.

Have a listen to this excellent podcast about the pipeline -

Vicki Woolven

Vicki Woolven is Subject Lead for Key Stage 4 Humanities at tutor2u. Vicki previously worked as a Head of Geography and Sociology for many years, leading her department to be one of the GA's first Centres of Excellent, and has been a content writer, senior examiner and local authority Key Practitioner for Humanities.

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