Today, climate activists marked Africa Day by staging protests at Total’s petrol stations. The protests took place in Benin, Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria. The protests highlighted Total’s human rights violations, greenwashing strategies and climate inaction.
Total is involved in controversial projects across the continent, notably the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and the Mozambique Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project that have witnessed displacement of local communities from their ancestral land as well as several human rights abuses other issues that have been called out by activists and frontline communities.
Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan activist, said:
“We cannot drink oil. This is why we cannot accept the construction of the East African Crude oil pipeline. It is going to cause massive displacement of people, destruction of ecosystems and wildlife habitats. We have no future in extraction of oil because it only means destroying the livelihoods of the people and the planet. It is time to choose people above pipelines. It is time to rise up for the people and the planet.”
Andre Moliro, DRC activist, said:
“Total’s fossil fuel developments pose grave risks to protected environments, water sources and wetlands in the Great Lakes and East Africa regions. Communities have been raising concerns on the impact of oil extraction on Lake Albert fisheries and the disastrous consequences of an oil spill in Lake Victoria, that would affect millions of people that rely on the two lakes for their livelihoods, watersheds for drinking water and food production.”
Landry Ninteretse of 350.org said,
“At a time when the international scientific community is telling us that the world cannot absorb any new fossil fuel developments if we are to tackle the climate crisis, Total is still pushing for the construction of highly controversial pipelines such as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline and the Mozambique LNG that threaten to destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people, while affecting a great portion of diverse ecosystems and adding millions of tons of carbon emissions yearly.”
Earlier in the year, more than 260 African and international organisations sent an open letter (https://bit.ly/3fjfi0D) to 25 banks urging them not to finance the construction of the EACOP. Total issued statements on its website describing its environmental and social risk assessment and mitigation strategies for the EACOP and Tilenga oil extraction project as “rigorous” (https://bit.ly/2SrCUr6) and claiming to act “responsibly and transparently” (https://bit.ly/3wwNCuZ) on the social and environmental issues related to the projects.
The #StopEACOP Alliance went ahead to issue a statement (https://bit.ly/3vonX7Q) clarifying several misleading figures presented by Total such as the number of oil wells to be drilled within Murchison Falls National Park, and the number of project-affected people for Tilenga and EACOP.
Total seeks to position itself as a climate leader but chooses to ignore the massive climate risks posed by going ahead with its fossil fuel projects across Africa.