The ABCs of Sustainable Development Goals and Sudan’s situation VIII


Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 

By Dr. Hassan Humeida

Kiel, Germany: Sustainable Development Goal 7 aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. At the forefront must be the use of alternative energy from various sources as clean energy to replace fossil energy that increases carbon emissions and their harm to nature and the environment of living organisms.

Since the use of alternative energy globally is still in its early stages, interest in developing it is growing under the idea of boosting its use globally to limit the rise in average global temperatures resulting from the increase in average carbon dioxide emissions that reside in the Earth’s outer atmosphere.

The seventh goal, in particular, urges the major industrialized countries and leaders in production and consumption to work towards the use of alternative energy.

This will enhance cooperation with developing and poor countries to reach the sustainable development goals in the next seven years, including the seventh goal, “clean and affordable energy.”

This step is based primarily on considering developing countries, including poor ones, as partner countries in achieving this goal. This means the necessity of facilitating access to technology and developing it through research in clean energy for global sustainability and reach this goal in a timely manner, despite the presence of great challenges and obstacles.

This stresses the need for expert and material support to build, modernize and expand the infrastructure of developing and poor countries, and encourage the use of alternative energy and investment in it in all countries of the world.

According to statistics for 2022 in this regard, there are at least 2.5 billion people in the world whose health is affected by man-made carbon emissions, mainly harmful carbon dioxide emissions.

Hence, the industrialized countries come to the forefront, with their use of fossil energy in manufacturing and transportation, which send emissions estimated at about 8 tons of carbon dioxide per capita.

The per capita share of these emissions in developing and poor countries does not exceed 0.7 tons of carbon dioxide.

Regarding alternative energy uses currently and worldwide, it does not exceed 20% of average energy use. If this use of energy exists as clean energy, it is somewhat limited to countries with high technology and modern technology in this field.

This does not mean that alternative energy is not important, but it rather means that it is a new energy still in its initial stages of growth that will certainly be the energy of the future for many natural, environmental, social and economic reasons.

If we look at Sudan in this context, Sudan’s oil reserve is estimated at about 17 billion barrels.

Sudan, in its northern and southern parts, produces about 70% of oil in the south and 30% in the north. Neither the northern nor southern regions were happy with the expected benefit from oil as a geological resource that can be exploited economically.

In addition to the existence of several oil-rich oil fields, Sudan also has refineries in Khartoum, Port Sudan, Al Obeid, and Abu Jabara. However, while the south is considered a major producer of oil, the north owns the pipelines transporting oil from the production sites to the exporting ports.

The energy and oil export sector in Sudan has suffered greatly in recent years, which has had a negative impact on the lives of citizens in various ways.

This resulted in the failure to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties, north and south, regarding oil production, export, and benefiting from it locally for self-sufficiency.

This bad agreement was implemented after the secession of South Sudan as a state, abandoning the will of the North, and intending to export its oil through distant southern channels, leaving the North with dried and rusty oil pipelines.

If we go back 40 years or more, we find many miserable and failed attempts by international oil companies and pioneers in the petroleum industry that claimed they had sincere intentions to help the country drill for oil and enable its citizens to benefit from it, while in fact they were attempting to blackmail Sudan to serve their own interests.

What is worse, some neighboring countries produced oil and marketed it globally. According to its analysis, they feared the flow of crude oil from their lands to the geologically low lands of Sudan.

Part of the generosity of some of these countries was the construction of airports in areas where there were alleged oil wells, leading to the permanent abandonment of oil exploration in the coastal areas adjacent to their lands.

Some oil companies offered huge bribes to senior employees and brokers who eventually gave up making the simplest effort to extract or market oil in a country that was considered rich in oil, but was considered poor, and could not meet the cost of extracting oil for these companies.

Then came big China, which found what it wanted in Sudan’s great oil wealth, and worked, as it always did in other African countries, to extract oil as a wealth to share with Sudan, a country that is used to spend its nights in darkness, with no transportation, and where many factories and companies stopped.

At that time, Sudan did not reject the unexpected offer. At that time, the companies of the leading Western countries in extracting, manufacturing, and marketing oil globally became increasingly confused.

They described Sudan’s deal with China as a dead economic deal, from which only one side benefits, namely China and not Sudan. However, such arguments did not benefit these countries.

All this while a rich country that could help Sudan in its plight, but it continued merely to look at it and bought oil from other neighboring countries.

The thing that can be taken into account here is that two countries can benefit from the underground wealth without having to wait for a third party that can only theorize in a practical field such as extracting, manufacturing and marketing oil.

In addition, there came a period in which the Sudanese population’s need for energy of various types increased. This need was exacerbated by the long economic sanctions that affected the oil field and the export of its products to countries that have economic partnerships with Sudan.

Such sanctions are one of the main causes of the deterioration of the economies of developing countries, and Sudan is a living example due to a negative impact on various sectors such as production, manufacturing, export, import, traffic, transportation, education, health, and other important aspects.

Since Sudan has several old reservoirs and dams, such as the Sennar, Roseires, and Jebal Aulia reservoirs, it has begun building another larger dam, the Merowe Dam through which, it was hoped, electricity will be generated for cities and villages, especially those located in the north.

The thing that governs energy in the future as a usable wealth is its source and its meaning in terms of global cleanliness and sustainability, linked to nature, the environment, climate changes and their effects on the surface of planet Earth.

This makes fossil energy sources an earthly treasure lose its usefulness due to its impact on global warming, and a generator of several factors affecting nature and the environment.

Therefore, the early shift in this regard came about due to the damage that has resulted so far from the use of fossil energy, and its impact on increasing carbon emissions on the surface of the Earth, through manufacturing, transportation, and other activities and work.

Since many poor countries have a negligible share in the carbon emissions that lead to global warming, the countries that produce fossil energy and the major industrial countries that use this energy have the lion’s share in the gradual increase in global warming and the higher average temperatures of the earth, seas, and oceans.

This is something that may have led to future natural disasters that humans have never known before regarding the biodiversity of plants and animals.

From this point, the countries that produce and use fossil energy may pay a heavy price in the future, and may fall into the trap of paying huge compensation to the affected poor countries that are not involved at all in the resulting carbon emissions and are the victims of the higher emissions that destroy quality life in the sea and on land alike.

This destruction has a negative impact on the vital sectors that humans require for life, such as agriculture, grazing, and fishing, as well as on life in forests and fields, and on other living organisms, including insects and birds.

They are all affected by the increase in carbon emissions, primarily in carbon dioxide gas in the outer atmosphere, and its collision with various rays, especially short-wave (ultraviolet rays, for example), which explains the meaning of global warming and the way it occurs on the surface of the Earth.

Among the alternative energy technologies that are recommended to be used in the future to reduce global warming are solar energy, wind energy, groundwater energy, current turbine energy, and waterfall energy.

There are also other sources of energy that include the generation of bioenergy from agricultural and animal waste, such as biogas energy.

If we look at Sudan’s geographical location as a vast country, we find that it has significant water resources, mainly the Nile River and its various ever-flowing tributaries.

The percentage of water in it increases during the rainy season, especially in the headwaters of the Nile River in Lakes Tana and Victoria.

This makes the water wealth in Sudan an invaluable source for obtaining hydroelectric energy, especially the energy of waterfalls from reservoirs and dams.

Perhaps the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, built on the Sudanese-Ethiopian border, was a meeting point in acquiring sustainable energy for the two countries.

This requires consensus in future plans and an agreement that satisfies both countries to develop and advance them towards self-sufficiency in the energy necessary for their peoples to live in peace.

Among the basics upon which alternative energy to fossil energy is built to become a source of social, environmental, and economic benefits, are the following four points:

First – equitable distribution of energy, which means that the countryside receives its share of the energy necessary for lighting, traffic, transportation, and other requirements. This applies to even the most remote areas, especially those where is individual and small family productions.

Secondly – Securing imported energy, so that important sectors are not affected when it is not available for political reasons or due to sanctions affecting the production and manufacturing sectors. This can be done by concluding binding contracts with energy exporting countries, which are then legally bound to provide an alternative in the event of their failure to supply the partner country with the agreed upon energy.

Thirdly: Alternative energy is cheaper than fossil energy, which is considered expensive financially and environmentally from its initial production stages.

This means that citizens, wherever they are, must be encouraged to use alternative energy of all kinds, according to the appropriate source available.

With the availability of energy from alternative sources at reasonable prices, production can increase globally and meet human needs for life necessities locally.

Fourthly – Sustainability in the use of clean energy, especially in the era of climate change, and its growing impact due to the increased use of fossil energy, which leads to an increase in harmful carbon emissions caused by humans that lead to global warming.

Hence, it is necessary to move towards using clean energy, especially in developing countries such as Sudan, where three-quarters of the population live from the agricultural and pastoral sectors, to provide products of high biological and nutritional value.

This is considered an important factor, especially regarding the issue of food security for the people of these countries and for the people of neighboring countries.

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