Discuss freedom of oil production – Hoima environmentalist tells COP28

The Project Manager for Bulindi Chimpanzee and Conservation Project in Hoima District, Mr Moses Semahunge, in an interview with Kazi-njema online radio in 2023. (Image: Kazi-njema News)

Mr Moses Semahunge, the Project Manager for Bulindi Chimpanzee and Conservation Project, has challenged the conveners at the COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) to consider discussing the freedom of oil production to developing countries.

In a special interview for the COP28 series by Kazi-njema online radio, Mr Semahunge said that to him it is unfair for the developed countries that used oil and coal for example to develop, to stand out to oppose oil production in developing countries of Africa and elsewhere.

According to him, if they are to oppose oil production on climate change grounds, they should pay dollars equivalent to the value of oil reserves in a given country like Uganda in order to adopt renewable technology.

Members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) visit an oil rig at Pakuba Village in Nwoya District in 2023. (Image: Kazi-njema News)

In the same vein, industrialised countries shall be paying for the damage they have caused to the global environment while amassing the wealth they have, he added.

Asked to explain what is hard with promoting renewable energy in Uganda other than carrying environmental risks, Mr Semahunge said they can be adopted later but due to associated costs and geographical disparities.

“For example, solar energy is very expensive to many people for now. It depends on sunshine but some areas don’t have enough sunshine and other technologies like wind are still far away from developing countries,” he said.

Audio: Semahunge on energy (English)

He, however, acknowledged that oil production is dangerous to the environment to all countries intending to produce oil; highlighting a couple of issues to be taken seriously to avoid succumbing to the warnings of developing countries.

“There are risks of course. But chances of mitigating the dangers are available as long as we responsibly produce oil and use the revenues wisely through strategic investment,” he said.

Ngiri oil rig in Buliisa District in 2023. (Image: Kazi-Njema News)

Mr Semahunge highlighted the protection of fragile ecosystems and including natural forests and swamps as critical steps which he, however, noted as badly lacking in Uganda for now.

Investment in human resource and strategic social infrastructure to serve beyond oil are other issues he highlighted.

Mr Semahunge called upon the Ugandan delegation at the COP28 to consider lobbying resources and make strategic partnerships to revitalise degraded forests in a sustainable manner.

He expressed dismay that Bugoma forest reserve which is Uganda’s largest forest reserve is being degraded in favour of sugarcane plantation in the face of government monitors and bodies mandated to protect the environment.

“That could not be happening at the time we are also moving towards oil production,” he said.

Audio: Semahunge on Bugoma forest (English)

The COP28 which is a global climate summit kicked-off on October 30, 2023, and will last for two weeks in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

VIDEO: Discuss freedom of oil production issue – Hoima environmentalist tells COP28

Discuss freedom of oil production issue – Hoima environmentalist tells COP28

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