The government is unrelenting in its determination to exploit fossil fuels. Comments made at the UN summit recently that purport to support measures to mitigate emissions are completely disingenuous. Talking green in public but acting black. It is called greenwashing.


Following climate change issues, as we have in this publication for many years, we have come to appreciate that there are two parallel stories. One is green and follows the climate change mantra of reducing greenhouse gases, turning the curve on global warming and arguing for fundings to enable developing countries to adapt to the new paradigm of extreme weather. The other is decidedly black, in pursuing any and all fossil fuel developments whether coal, oil or gas for the sake of economic growth and job creation without any regard to the issue of global warming.


It is a surreal world where experts provide evidence of the increasing likelihood of global climate catastrophes and governments pump economies even harder to ensure that it happens. Evidence of record-breaking temperatures causing famine and heavy rainfall and floods of biblical proportions are invariably paired with the same governments which are developing oil and coal infrastructure. It is as if climate change remains an abstraction. Yet, if money is to be obtained through the increasing funds set up to mitigate or adapt to climate change, there is no shortage of concurrence with the science and indeed passion directed to the cause.


Such a dichotomy exists very clearly in Botswana where President Mokgweetsi Masisi can talk very green at the UNGA meeting one week and proudly open a coal mine the next. Such is the backdrop to this matter that a company proposing to implement a coal bed methane project is carrying out public consultations as a part of its statutory requirements to undertake an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA).


CBM will not replace other fossil fuels but will be burned in addition to the oil, coal and gas that has already been discovered. By developing these new energy extraction techniques, we are expanding global reserves of hydrocarbons and increasing emissions.


So it is incumbent in any energy project to set out the net added contribution of the CBM output to Botswana’s GHG emissions and for Government to be clear – especially concerning its NDC, what impact the project will have on its mitigation targets bearing in mind that methane is 84 times more toxic than carbon dioxide.


Batswana should be aware that the annual gathering of world leaders to discuss climate change will be held in about 30 days’ time in Egypt. This COP27, as it is called, is billed as the African COP, so what will African leaders be saying. As with the previous one, leaders will be making all the right sounds to attract climate change funding, pleading the case of the innocent victim but mindful that they aim to exploit their minerals and sell them to industrialised nations to make the things that they need.


This game must stop. Developing nations should be producing green energy and selling into the regional networks such as those in Africa, not mining coal, oil and gas and transporting them around the globe to produce energy for developed nations.  Climate change has become a human rights issue. Burning fossil fuels today compromises the future of our children tomorrow.