In Tanzania and Uganda, EACOP plans lead to tears for Creation

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline will be the longest crude oil heating pipeline in the world. But the International Energy Agency has already called for no new fossil fuel projects. Activists, including Vanessa Nackett, have recently been received by Pope Francis and have had his full support.

By Jonathan Braden

The hymn to God’s creation is heard regularly in the depths of the Biharamulo Game Reserve in Tanzania. The roar of lions, the bellows of elephants and the roar of buffaloes echoed throughout the 1,300 square kilometers of the reserve. Smaller members of God’s creation also roam, such as the ants, citatungas and the red colobus monkey, of which there are only five remaining in the world.

However, the peace and tranquility that has accompanied these members of God’s creation for centuries, as well as countless others across Tanzania and Uganda, has recently been threatened by an ambitious pipeline that could cause unprecedented damage to our common home, and has led to Pope Francis W. The Catholic Church must issue a prophetic condemnation of it.

What is EACOP?

The East African Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is a proposed 1,443 km pipeline that, if completed, will be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world. The pipeline starts in Hoima (Uganda) and ends at Tanga Port (Tanzania). In between, it passes through national parks, forests, reserves, and farmland. The pipeline, which is still under construction, has already displaced thousands of farmers and put their livelihoods at risk. It has the potential to cause similar harm to millions of Ugandans and Tanzanians.

The pipeline is being built at a time when scientists are raising concerns about the climate crisis, and after the International Energy Agency has called for no new fossil fuel projects if the world wants to. Achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The EACOP pipeline is expected to generate up to 34 million tons of carbon emissions annually.

“The Catholic Church joins the people of Uganda and Tanzania in denouncing the EACOP project and asking the two governments to study the possibility of investing in projects that are in line with preserving and caring for our common home, the poor and the economy,” said Father Yoshtrom Koraytem, ​​Environment and Creation Sector Coordinator in the Directorate for Integrated Human Development Service.

“For the multinationals that continue to support and boost the use of coal, oil and gas in emerging countries in Africa and around the world, it is time to direct this money into the renewable energy sector. Renewable energy has the potential to drive huge economies, create sustainable jobs and reduce the huge electricity bills that It comes with an overreliance on fossil fuels.”

Meeting with Pope Francis

Activists, including Ugandan Vanessa Naket, led the urgent fight against the devastated pipeline. Nakati, Uganda’s first Fridays For Future striker, and three other Ugandan activists recently concluded their StopEACOP tour, which included time at the Vatican and Meeting Especially with Pope Francis.

“The meeting with the Pope is important because activists, environmentalists, and scientists have been talking to world leaders for years about the risks to people and the planet and asking them to act, but we haven’t seen any significant action. We continue to see investment in fossil fuels,” Nakati said. Having direct conversations with the Pope and other leaders to share our stories…and have a heart-to-heart conversation.”

He added that the construction of the ECOP pipeline would make it “impossible” to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius this century. The pipeline would also leave “communities at a point where they are not recovering from the climate crisis”. This conversation is likely to change the views of polluters when they hear their peers join the fight for climate.”

Nakati and the other three Ugandan activists – Diana Nabiruma of the African Institute of Energy Management; Hilda Flavia Nakaboy, founder of the Ugandan Fridays for Future movement; and Maxwell Atuhura of Uganda’s Tasha Africa Limited Research Institute – “They want to fund any new fossil fuel projects,” including EACOP, and increase investment in clean and sustainable energy.

A prophetic denunciation for a just transition

Nakate added that the world needs a “fair transition for all without leaving vulnerable and less fortunate communities behind”. The promise of climate finance for vulnerable communities must be fulfilled, and money for loss and damage must be stated and given to communities.”

Nakabwe said it is very important for activists to make everyone aware of the problems in their areas. “We want people in Europe and around the world to know about the East Africa pipeline. We want other major financial institutions and companies to support [la compañía energética] Total withdraw your support. “We want to stop this project, as well as any new oil projects in Africa and around the world,” he added.

Doctrine of the Catholic Church

The teaching of the Catholic Church recognizes that the climate crisis is a serious ethical problem that threatens all living things in our common home, Father Grithdam said. The climate emergency and environmental crisis harm humanity’s ability to protect human life, health, dignity and security. The double crisis also seriously affects our ability to promote the common good and to care for God’s creation.

Fossil fuels are the main cause of the climate crisis, and their excessive use goes against the vision of the integrated environment laid out by Pope Francis in the encyclical. Praise yes. His Holiness told a group of leaders of major oil and natural gas companies in 2018, “Civilization requires energy, but the use of energy must not destroy civilization!”

Pope Francis outlined this vision in October 2020sharing how everyone can work to bring life to Laudato si’: “One way to promote this change is to direct companies towards the urgent need to commit to the comprehensive care of our common home, excluding companies that do not meet the criteria of investment from an integrated ecology, while rewarding those who work on Specifically, during this transitional phase, to put sustainability, social justice and the promotion of the common good at the center of their activities.”

Nakati and her fellow activists are working to put the common good at the center of everything in Uganda and Tanzania, even amid documented attacks on environmentalists and civil society organizations. The whole Church can support his work through committed prayer and action.

Father Joshtrom said, “All our efforts, taken together, have the potential to enhance each person’s ‘Laudato Si’ dialogue, and that, we pray, leads to a change in the heart of the world to stem the expansion of fossil fuels, the collapse of biodiversity and the climate crisis.”

This story was produced in partnership with Laudato Si . movementserving the Catholic family around the world to translate the Papal Message of Pope Francis Laudato si into action for climate and environmental justice.

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