Sunday, June 23, 2024

Helen Mandeno: A Real Climate Catastrophe

Mahala squats in a smoke-filled hut cooking her mielie meal for her three children.  Coughing racks her frail body.  No school today for the kids – dysentery again.  Somehow Mahala must find the strength to walk the long journey for more animal manure to keep her fire going and to fill her one water pot.  She has no life expectancy.  She has no ‘life’.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Evie finishes writing her sign.  It states “climate emergency – catastrophe for my generation”.  She decides to change again – “I don’t want to look over-dressed”.  Her Mum has promised to drop her off at the park in her SUV as she goes to yoga.   Evie has a party tonight to celebrate a friend’s 18th birthday.  The party is on her dad’s super yacht.

The difference is stark.  Evie’s world had unfettered access to coal, oil and gas.  Mahala’s world has been denied the use of their considerable natural resource.

I know because I have been to Africa twice and been awakened to the deprivation.

Did you know that poverty levels this year are back to 2005 levels?  By 2030 there will still be 2 billion   people relying on polluting, life threatening fuels to cook and nearly a billion with no electricity.

The U.N. Environment Programme’s (UNEP) current official position regarding Africa is to help it achieve modernization but to do so under strict environmental guidelines.  Energy sources are restricted to wind and solar.  Mahala will still be cooking using cow dung on still evenings for years to come.  Africa remains undeveloped.

Jusper Machogu, an agricultural engineer and farmer in Kenya said, “Without fossil fuels, we can’t produce the four pillars of civilization – steel, cement, fertiliser, and plastic. Without fossil fuels, we don’t have energy. We must have fossil fuels. It’s how the West beat poverty.”

In November 2023, to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use, the President of Kenya, William Ruto, cut subsidies for fertilizer, fuel, and electricity for the 2023/2024 financial year. He did because the IMF, a financial agency of the United Nations demanded it.

“I come from a community where people use cow dung to fertilize their farms,” Mr. Machogu said. “And the reason for that is because last year, the government of Kenya decided that they were going to listen to what the IMF was telling them. It was telling them to end fertilizer subsidies”.

“You can imagine how that’s going to impact farmers. The fertilizer prices went up by two times. We have very poor people around here. I was purchasing 50 kilos for my farm; I’m forced to get 20 kilos now”.

“Let me speak for Africa because 60 percent of Africans rely on agriculture for their livelihood,” Mr. Machogu said. “We need fossil fuels for farm machinery, for processing, for transport.  We are being condemned to stay in poverty by those who used their resources and created the very problem they are forcing us to fix.  It’s immoral”.

“Loans for irrigation are banned.  Women are carrying water by hand over long distances to keep their struggling crops alive”.

“Go to a place like the U.S., the West—which says Africa should not have access to fossil fuels—and it’s using 120 kilos of nitrogenous fertilizer per hectare. Europe uses 160–170 kilos per hectare, India uses 250 kilos per hectare, and China uses 360 kilos per hectare.  We average 20 kgs and cannot use more.  Isn’t that hypocrisy at its worst”.

Calvin Beisner, founder and president of the Cornwall Alliance, said, “currently the most harmful policy is that the IMF, World Bank, and agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development refuse to do loans or other funding for coal, natural gas, or oil-based electric generating stations in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America.”

“We are being condemned to living in the poverty that the West got out of by using their fossil fuel resources.  It is so unfair”.

Under severe pressure from the Third World the rich countries decided to commit $100 billion to helping people like Mahala survive with no access to the very elements that made them a rich country.  Mahala and her people are being bullied out of their resources to develop their economy by Evie and her friends, who bask in the luxury that fossil fuels have afforded them.

Will $100 billion help?

Disgustingly, it never happened.  Some resourcing occurred but certainly not $100 billion.  Much of the grant is loans with tough conditions and Mahala’s government is already debt ridden and unable to repay.  A sizable chunk gets spent on technology and equipment back in Evie’s home country on the pretext the results will be shipped to the Third World.

Another chunk goes on consultants and planners also in Evie’s country.  All remaining vestiges of conscience about overcharging for developing country’s projects is long gone. 

Another chunk ends up in bureaucrats’ back pockets siphoned off for “opening doors”, “introductions”, “arranging appointments”.  This also happens in Evie’s country as well as in Mahala’s.

The world is heading toward 11 billion people.  They need increased agricultural goods to be fed.  The West, including New Zealand, is demanding cutbacks in food production.  Malaha’s hands are tied.  A catastrophe is in the making.  It’s a real catastrophe not a pseudo-catastrophe Evie is predicting.

The case against ruminant methane is both desperate and wrong.  The world needs more food production - not less.  The most recent science is clear – there is no measurable warming from ruminant livestock.  We need to take up the challenge of ensuring Mahala gets every chance to succeed without burdening her with ideological green agendas.

Evie has never travelled to third world countries and has no idea what Mahala’s existence is like.  She has no idea of the real looming catastrophe.  She doesn’t even care. 

Helen Mandeno is a science graduate who farms sheep and beef in the South Waikato. 


Rob Beechey said...

A wonderful analogy of the destructive and cruel implications of the greatest lie ever told. To date, our politicians lack the moral courage to call this out. Their cowardice is the price we will all pay.

Clive Thorp said...

Methane from pastoral agriculture warms. It's just that in NZ, we are no longer adding to warming from methane because we've destocked sheep since 1991 (and cattle lately) to the point where this short-lived but very potent warming gas is not adding to existing warming farming created in the past. Fortunately we are heading for no more than 10 billion people on several sources of recent estimates.
Very good and fair points about senseless denial to poorer countries (only those the West can bully, not India and China) of fossil fuels, which can be done 'modern' to be most efficient, are not helped by factual mistakes about methane, for example.
Better efforts in the West sensibly to reduce CO2 and methane gas warming could make an African 'allowance' of the same worth way more than that cynical $100 billion they mostly haven't and will never deliver.

Tinman said...

About two million years ago the first men moved out of Africa. It was obviously a cot-case then and they wanted something better. Somehow it's never improved.

I'm with Evie!

I firmly believe the only way to adjust the situation imagined is to educate the people and allow them to help themselves, if they desire to do so (which, as a group I doubt they do) out of their poor situation rather than penalise Evie because her dad worked hard and long to create a better lifestyle for his family.

Nor should Evie give a shit. She should lead her life the best way she can. If she wants to go without to assist fools, often god-bothering nutters too bloody stupid to help themselves when given chances, she should but she should never, ever be pressured to do so, particularly by equally privileged non-workers.

A hand out creates dependence and obligation (which is why the left favour it - but only with someone else's money) where as a hand up creates independence and generally better outcomes for everyone.

If you want to give Africa a hand out do so but history suggests you count your fingers after each session.

CXH said...

You missed the part that Evie demands her country stops all mining and gas extraction, all so she can live in a pleasant place.

She has no problem with Mahala extracting all these resources and destroying her country in the process. That is different. More importantly, it is far away.

Anonymous said...

@Clive Thorpe the methane cycle has occurred naturally for tens of thousands of years. You should look at the research of the Methane Science accord. They note that the IPCC’s AR6 Report has made it clear that new science states ruminant methane’s warming ability is exaggerated by 300 to 400% and that rescent scientific results released by Happer and Wijngaarden and supported by Sheahen, Coe, May, Allison, Fabinski, Weigleb, Schildknecht et al show conclusively that ruminant methane is too insignificant to have any measurable impact on global temperatures.

davi said...


Clive, Once upon a time I would have believed that methane was a problem but a couple of decades ago I began to doubt this after reading scientific papers on the matter. I have been completely convinced in recent years that methane is not a problem, not that big media or govts would ever tell you that. I won't provide with the evidence except I suggest you watch the following 11 minute clip of Dr Walter Jehne. He's engaging and worth watching ...

Anonymous said...

The four pillars of civilisation, steel, concrete, fertiliser and plastic.
You can’t keep the country going or growing without them and fossil fuels are critical to make them all.
I wonder if the general populace have a clue about this as they nod wisely about reaching nett zero by 2050.

Anonymous said...

Tinman - you seemed to have missed that Evie only cares as long as there is no impact on her life. She fully supports that Africa should not be allowed to improve. That the benefits she accrued, by using large amounts of cheap energy, should be denied to them.

The China goes in and builds them coal power plants, in return they get access to their resources. No judgement, just a deal. Okay the Chinese normally put some nasty fish hooks in the deal, but Africa gets to try and move forward.

Evie then moans about how China should stay out of it, then preaches restraint as she sits in total comfort and a pristine environment. The plant becomes some nebulous concept when survival over the next day is a real concern.

Ojenn said...

Tinman, you missed the whole point of the post. Mahala is happy opening up and using her country's resources without 'handouts'. Evie's crowd demands their leaders prevent her from doing so.

TJS said...

The people who control the narrative, who wish to control the world's resources and so far are doing quite well, wish to control the minerals in Africa. So Mahala would appear to be stiff out of luck.

But I hope that things might change. That "bad and evil incarnate man Putin" has decided to help people like Mahala by giving it's banned or trade embargoed fertilizer to those African countries so that they may not be exploited by the west. The so called free world democracy. But who knows what Putin's enemies are capable of doing to prevent this from happening.

As for little Evie she's not only free to do as she pleases but is being sponsored by some of the wealthiest people on the planet who just got a whole lot richer from a pharmaceutical medication imposed upon the western "free world democracy"

Oh so beautifully planned, so no matter about all the whistle blowers it will still continue as no one wants the truth.

Robert Arthur said...

if Mahala and hundreds of millions like her acheives Evie's life style, even if acheiving something like Evies'off spring numbers, the world will likely not survive. But if Evie adjusts, whilst maintaining her fertility rate, to nearer Mihala's, it just might.

Sven said...

I hate to say it, is this not real colonel oppression, not the the bullshit that the maori radicals and their white travelers are pushing.

TJS said...

Neo Colonialism is the term.