U.S. Climate czar John Kerry warns Africa against long-term natural gas projects, while over 600 million people in Africa lack access to electricity

While speaking at a conference in Senegal, U.S. Climate envoy John Kerry cautioned Africa against looking at natural gas as a long-term solution for modernizing its energy grid.

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According to Reuters, Kerry told reporters that natural gas can be used in the short term in order to transition to ‘cleaner energy’ sources.

However, Kerry added that they are “not saying no to gas,” but “What we are saying is, over the next few years, gas replaces coal or replaces oil,”.

He believes that gas should only be used as a means for Africa to transition to other sources. 

Reportedly, Senegal and other countries in the region are hoping to start producing their own oil and gas to boost their electricity production and power industries and curb energy poverty. 

Currently, over 600 million people or 43% of Africa’s population lack access to electricity.

In recent months, countries like Senegal have said that western countries ending oil and gas financing would prove to be a “fatal cost” for African countries.

“A few days after the end of COP26, I must also draw the attention to the decision taken by certain countries to stop foreign financing of fossil fuels, including the gas sector, even as the use of other more polluting energy sources continues,” Senegal President Macky Sall said in November 2021. 

Sall added that, “”At a time when several African countries are preparing to exploit their significant gas resources, the end of funding for the gas sector, under the pretext that gas is a fossil energy, would bear a fatal cost to our emerging economies,”.

During his comments, Kerry cautioned that some of the oil and gas projects are set to have a lifespan of 40 years. 

“We do not have to rush to go backward, we need to be very careful about exactly how much we are going to deploy, how it is going to be paid for, over what period of time and how do you capture the emissions.” Kerry said.

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