Congo Says It Will Allow Rainforests To Be Used For Oil Drilling In Devastating Move For The Environment

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Congo Says It Will Allow Rainforests To Be Used For Oil Drilling In Devastating Move For The Environment

The nation of Congo has said that it will auction off huge areas of land to oil companies and have said that saving the planet is not their priority.


Congo is home to one of the largest old-growth rainforests on Earth but also has huge reserves of oil which have been made all the more attractive by the recent spike in oil prices. The move goes against the new climate agreement agreed upon in Glasgow at the Cop26 summit, which included $500 million in aid for the Congo. Congo signed up to the pledge in return for protecting its rainforests.


Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, the nation's lead representative on climate issues has said of the new deal that the goal of the Congolese government is to reduce poverty, stating:


"Our priority is not to save the planet."


Adding:


"We're not into threats. We have a very humble attitude. We have a sovereign right to go ahead. Should we protect peatland because it's a carbon sink, or should we dig for oil for our economy? If we have an alternative to the oil exploitation, we'll keep them. We are part of the solution, but the solution also includes us making use of our oil resources. If we lose 10 hectares we could now protect 20. Sure, it won't have the same biodiversity and fauna, but the country has that right. It is what it is. We just have to see how much people value that resource."


Didier Budimbu, Congo's minister of hydrocarbons, has said that the country currently produces 25,000 barrels of oil a day but had the potential with external investment to be producing 1 million barrels of oil a day. This, in turn, would produce oil worth around $32 billion a year and increase Congo's GDP by around 50%.


Congo is one of the poorest nations in the world with profound issues related to poverty, much of which is blamed on a long period of colonisation by western powers who pillaged and looted the country.


Damaging rainforest in order to produce oil has a two-fold affect on the environment. It firstly causes more petrol to be burned which leads to carbon emissions and climate change, but it also destroys forest which sucks carbon from the atmosphere and creates the oxygen upon which life depends.


[Based on reporting by: Japan Times]


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Thinking Humanity: Congo Says It Will Allow Rainforests To Be Used For Oil Drilling In Devastating Move For The Environment
Congo Says It Will Allow Rainforests To Be Used For Oil Drilling In Devastating Move For The Environment
The nation of Congo has said that it will auction off huge areas of land to oil companies and have said that saving the planet is not their priority.
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