U.S. Congo to halt its push for oil and gas in the rainforests urges

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U.S. Congo to halt its push for oil and gas in the rain forests urges

Source: AUN News

Democratic Republic of the Congo, KINSHASA Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, demanded that the Democratic Republic of the Congo reconsider its plans to auction off portions of its vast peatlands and rainforests, and he also declared that American and Congolese officials would form a team to look into any potential oil and gas extraction in those regions.

The agreement was reached on Tuesday while Mr. Blinken was in Kinshasa, the DRC’s capital city. While there, the secretary of state voiced her concerns about a move by the president of the nation, Félix Tshisekedi, to sell off substantial land pieces to oil companies for exploration. Mr. Blinken’s remarks marked the first time the American government took a position on the matter in public.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Blinken stated, “We had misgivings about the announcement of the auction of these oil and gas exploration blocks. “Some blocks violate vulnerable peatland and rainforest habitats, including those in Salonga and Virunga National Parks.”

He mentioned that nations pledged a total of $1.5 billion to assist the forests in the Congo Basin at the United Nations climate summit held in Glasgow in November. Mr. Tshisekedi was praised for being a pioneer in the fight against climate change after he agreed to the 10-year plan.

Officials, environmental organizations, and decision-makers worldwide were astonished when his government abruptly announced the auction in May. The government is accepting offers for three gas blocks and 27 oil blocks as of the start of the auction on July 28.

Officials from the United States claim that no American businesses have submitted bids as of yet.

Impact on the environment

According to Mr. Blinken, he individually discussed the matter with Mr. Tshisekedi, the foreign minister Christophe Lutundula, and the prime minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The suggested activities would not be carried out “in the absence of complete environmental impact analyses and studies,” according to Mr. Tshisekedi, who allegedly made this commitment to him.

Officials, environmental organizations, and decision-makers worldwide were astonished when his government abruptly announced the auction in May. The government is accepting offers for three gas blocks and 27 oil blocks as of the start of the auction on July 28.

Officials from the United States claim that no American businesses have submitted bids as of yet.

According to Mr. Blinken, he individually discussed the matter with Mr. Tshisekedi, the foreign minister Christophe Lutundula, and the prime minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The suggested activities would not be carried out “in the absence of complete environmental impact analyses and studies,” according to Mr. Tshisekedi, who allegedly made this commitment to him.

Professor of global change science at University College London Simon Lewis remarked, “It is noteworthy that the environmental effects of drilling for oil in the rainforest are being debated at the highest levels.” According to logic, the DRC government should formally postpone the oil auction until the new DRC-US working committee has finished its deliberations and put any immediate actions into effect.

Studies of society

Environmental and social analyses ought to be finished before any auction, in my opinion, as this is the only way for the people of the D.R.C. and the rest of the world to determine whether exploring for oil makes sense.

According to American officials, the working group’s specifics would need to be worked out with Congo. At the press conference with Mr. Blinken, Mr. Lutundula stated that Congo would uphold its pledge from the previous year to protect the rainforests. Still, he also emphasized the need for the government to find ways to strengthen the country’s economy, which is among the poorest in the world with a population of 90 million. Before being dominated by tyrants, it was used as a Belgian colony for many years. Before any auction, environmental and social evaluations should be completed, in my opinion, as this is the only way for the people of the D.R.C. and the rest of the world to decide whether it makes sense to explore for oil.

According to American officials, Congo must iron out the working group’s specifics. Mr. Lutundula promised that Congo would uphold its pledge to protect the rainforests from the previous year at the press conference with Mr. Blinken. Still, he also emphasized the need for the government to find ways to strengthen the country’s economy, which is among the world’s poorest, with a population of 90 million. It was utilized as a Belgian colony for a considerable time before becoming ruled by dictators.

Republican democracy

Officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have conjectured that there may be up to 16 billion barrels of oil beneath the rainforest and that the nation might generate up to one million barrels per day, up from the current 25,000 barrels per day. As the market price for oil has increased this year, energy companies have made record profits from sales. Environmentalists argue that Congo’s decision to transition to a petro-economy is foolish, given the growing acceptance of renewable energy by many nations, organizations, and businesses.

The mining sector, which is corrupt and harmful to the environment, was also discussed by Mr. Blinken and Congolese officials. To prevent mining companies from engaging in “a race to the bottom that ends up hurting workers, hurting the environment, and fueling armed conflict,” he added, the United States intended to engage with Congo.

Mr. Blinken has also urged the Congolese government to ensure that the presidential elections, in which Mr. Tshisekedi intends to run for re-election, are held correctly and on schedule. Jean-Marc Kabund, a former Tshisekedi supporter and current leader of an opposition group, was taken into custody by police on Tuesday for an unspecified offense.

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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