Climate Change

I hear 150 or so heads of state are getting together in Paris. Hope you enjoy the Christmas shopping and a few meals out.

But while you are there – please, do us all a favour. Don’t look to Africa to save the planet.

We are already doing our bit!

You may point to all those lorries spewing out clouds of diesel and our coal fed power stations, but really!

You are missing the point.

We are playing our part – sharing the burden. How? Well, haven’t you noticed? Most of us are pretty poor.

All those wars, coups and corruption have held back an entire continent.

And that really, really makes a difference!

Don’t believe me? Let’s turn to those handy stats from our friends at the World Bank.

Take Sudan. That nice President al-Bashir has fought wars from Darfur in the West to Blue Nile in the East with plenty in-between. And the result is there for all to see: carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is low – very low. Just 0.3 tonnes per capita.

By comparison the United States produces 17 tonnes. And in case you think they are the real culprits, let’s look at our friends a little further afield: the United Arab Emirates produces a staggering 20 tonnes per person.

So come on! Its time to give Africans a break.

Not that we would not help if we could. Look at the mighty Congo river, draining half the continent. The Grand Inga dam alone could produce twice as much power as the biggest hydro-electric scheme of them all: the Three Gorges on China’s Yangtze river.

But our colleagues in the Peoples Republic can relax. Their record is safe. Grand Inga has a price tag of 80 billion dollars. Who would stump up the cost given the track record of Congolese governments?

In fact one giant dam is being built. Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile. The Egyptians are none too pleased. Where will their water be coming from with this lump of concrete in place? Cairo even threatened war over the issue, but recently they have been persuaded that it will all be OK on the night. Not sure the Nile gods are convinced, but there you are.

The Ethiopians have the water and there’s not much Egypt can do about it.

In fact Africa has plenty of fine projects already on the table.

Giant fields of parabolic mirrors in Morocco and my own country – South Africa’s plans for its very own “Solar Corridor” in the Northern Cape. It’s a blisteringly hot area and nobody much lives there – sorry all you gemsbok and aardvark – you will just have to move over while we build our very own solar fields.

So, President Hollande, I hope you get my drift. Leave Africa alone. We are doing our bit.

Just keep that aid money coming and don’t look too closely at all our Swiss bank accounts — and we will keep doing plenty more!