Protect Elephants in Namibia and Botswana from Planned Oil Project!

Protect Elephants in Namibia and Botswana from Planned Oil Project!

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Marilyn SMITH a lancé cette pétition adressée à President Mokgweetsi Masisi (President of Botswana) et à

Tens of thousands of elephants in one of Africa's last great wilderness areas are under threat from plans for a massive new oilfield. With more than 130 000 elephants living within its boundaries, Botswana is home to the largest remaining population in the world. 

The proposed oilfield -- one of the biggest discovered in recent years -- is expected to stretch across Namibia to Botswana. The project is being led by Canadian oil and gas company, ReconAfrica -- listed on stock exchanges in Canada, the US and Germany. To date, ReconAfrica has leased ~34,000 km2 of land in the Kavango Basin for which it has been granted exploratory licenses and is on course to secure production operation licences. Seismic exploratory work has already begun on the field. 

From laying new roads to drilling sites to building up refineries and terminals, the project threatens to disrupt the ecosystem on which elephants depend, changing migration patterns that would leave them more exposed to poachers. Development of the field is also likely to jeopardise critical water supplies and impact the Okavango Delta in Botswana – affecting local communities that depend on these water sources for farming and fishing.

In making the case for the 'socio-economic benefits' of developing the oil field --  estimating that 60 to 120 billion barrels would be worth billions of dollars to the regional economy -- local conservation groups say the Namibian government and ReconAfrica have underestimated potential impacts on the elephant population.  

African elephants are critically endangered and at risk of extinction. “Fewer than 450,000 elephants survive in Africa, down from millions not so long ago," according to Rosemary Alles from Global March for Rhinos and Elephants. 

Hundreds of elephants in the region of the oil reserve died mysteriously in 2020, an occurrence  scientists say is linked to climate change, as warmer temperatures result in higher levels of toxic algae in their waterholes. With poaching also on the rise, developing the oil project could be the 'tipping point' that triggers complete devastation of local herds.

The Energy Action Project (EnAct) stands in solidarity with scientists, environmentalists and local communities to call on the governments of Botswana and Namibia, as well as regional and international communities, to protect and preserve the habitat of these magnificent, intelligent and social creatures. And to pursue clean energy options for social and economic development. 

"As a Canadian who grew up in the Alberta oil patch and has subsequently worked for international organisations that make the case for a just, clean energy transition and for the important social and economic contributions of preserving rich biodiversity, I cannot remain silent in this case," says Marilyn Smith, Founder and Executive Director of EnAct.  

Smith acknowledges having read extensively content on the ReconAfrica website that confirms its close work with various government agencies and local groups, as well as compliance with federal laws. She encourages others to do so as well to gain a balanced view: https://reconafrica.com/operations/kavango-basin/ 

She notes, however, as per videos on the ReconAfrica website, the relevant laws were put in in place in 1992 and 2007 -- which suggests they are unlikely to align with global targets set out in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement or calls from the International Energy Agency to aggressively pursue a clean energy future for Africa and globally.  

The need to develop energy services in Namibia is great: at present, only 53% of the population has access to electricity and domestic resources supply less than one-third of actual demand, meaning the country depends heavily on imports. It is noted as having high potential for solar, wind and biomass generation. A fuller analysis of the energy sector is available in the sources below. 

We must ACT NOW! Please sign the petition and share widely!

#ElephantsOverOil #ElephantsNotOil 

Additional sources:

 The Guardian

ReconAfrica website: https://reconafrica.com/our-sustainable-approach/the-voices-of-kavango/ 

Energypedia: https://energypedia.info/wiki/Namibia_Energy_Situation 

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Quand elle atteindra 500 signatures, cette pétition aura plus de chance d'être inscrite comme pétition recommandée !