On Friday April 22, in their seventh protest against Standard Bank’s involvement in the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), Extinction Rebellion activists gathered outside Standard Bank’s headquarters in Rosebank, Johannesburg, for the bank to withdraw any involvement in the EACOP project.
the EACOP The project plans to build a pipeline in 2025 stretching 1,400 km across East Africa that will transport crude oil from Uganda to Tanzania.
Based on multiple human rights and environmental impact assessments, this project will be the largest heated crude oil pipeline in the world, the StopEACOP the campaign said. “It will burn an additional six billion barrels of oil and generate more than 34 million additional tons of carbon emissions each year.”
Extinction Rebellion activist Mduduzi Tshabalala said he took time off from his job as a street vendor selling vegetables and traveled from Sebokeng for this protest because “this will affect everyone living in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Tshaballa said that coming from the Vaal region, his community understands the real impacts of carbon emissions and the climate crisis.
“In the Vaal, in particular, we are mainly affected by the air pollution that has happened…because of the coal-fired power plants, steel mills and other chemical plants that we have. Thus, the Vaal Triangle, for example, has been declared a priority area for more than 15 years.
“So we see the impact. Because today in the Vaal, areas like Parys, for more than two decades they don’t have clean water, because the water in the Vaal is badly polluted.
The StopEACOP campaign has reported that almost a third of the EACOP pipeline will cross Lake Victoria, which more than 40 million people to depend for the production of water and food.
Mamosweu Tsoabi, a small-scale farmer from Sebokeng who attended the protest said, “I think this protest is very important for every living thing because it’s all about climate change and things that negatively impact climate change. .
“For example, I am a farmer. So because of climate change I have been affected,” Tsoabi said, explaining how extreme weather events like heat waves, droughts and floods have killed her crops, meaning she has no no source of income.
Impact assessments provided by the StopEACOP campaign have indicated that more than 100,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania will lose the land they depend on for farming and herding, and many will be forcibly evicted from their homes. The pipeline will disrupt nearly 2,000 square kilometers protected wildlife habitats.
The EACOP project has an investment of $3.5 billion and is in partnership with TotalEnergies, the French energy company; the China National Offshore Oil Corporation; Uganda National Oil Company and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation.
Standard Bank said Our burning planet what it is participation in the financing of the EACOP project, “remains subject to the conclusions of environmental and social due diligence assessments and meets the requirements of the Equator Principles”, adding, “It is also subject to a comprehensive evaluation of strategies to combat climate change. of EACOP sponsors and targets”.
Standard Bank said Equator Principles project finance deals are underway due diligence assessments – covering legal, technical, safety, market, reserves, and environmental and social considerations and concerns – that inform its decisions and that it has employed independent environmental and social advisors.
“As part of this process, advisers have visited the project area and will issue a full due diligence report in the coming months, at which time potential lenders will make a decision on the way forward.”
Standard Bank published its climate change targets at the end of the first financial quarter 2022, where it stated its commitment to “achieve net zero carbon emissions from its own operations by 2040 and from its emissions portfolio financed by 2050, aligned with the Paris Agreement”.
In addition, he advocated for the mobilization of R250-300 billion in sustainable finance by the end of 2026, with R50 billion of funding earmarked for renewable energy and an additional R15 billion underwritten for renewables. renewable energy by the end of 2024. .
Standard Bank said OBP“As the World Bank has recently argued, Africa’s recovery from the pandemic and its medium-term development both require a degree of openness to new investment in ‘brown’ activities.
“Standard Bank agrees. Therefore, in certain well-defined circumstances, the group will remain open to supporting “brown” energy and mining projects in Africa.
Sim Tchabalala, Chief Executive of Standard Bank Group, said: “In our view, refusing to accept this would amount to denying Africa’s right to sustainable development. Over the past centuries, Africa has borne very considerable economic and human costs for other regions.
“A total or immediate ban on new transition projects in Africa in order to help reduce environmental pressure in much richer regions would be too expensive.
“Having said that, our long-term goal is clear. The Standard Bank Group will achieve a net portfolio composition of zero by 2050.
“This will involve reducing our funded emissions and simultaneously increasing our funding for renewable energy, reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, decarbonization and transition technologies, and supporting the development of credible offset programs. carbon.”
Extinction Rebellion activist Tshabalala said, “Climate change is here and it mainly affects people who are already disadvantaged.”
Saying, if he had a message, it would be, “If you could please implement more renewable energy projects, it will benefit everyone – the environment. Not just people. DM/OBP