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PROTECT CONGO BASIN: Katumbi Pledges To Cancel Oil & Gas Dilling In DRC Forest

Congolese opposition leader Moise Katumbi said he would cancel a controversial plan to allow drilling for oil and gas in one of the world’s most important carbon sinks if he wins an election later this year.

Plans to drill in 30 blocks, several of which overlap with the world’s largest tropical peatlands, has drawn criticism from climate activists and a plea from US climate envoy John Kerry to halt part of the program. His request was rebuffed by President Felix Tshisekedi last year.

The peatlands in question lie in the Congo Basin, a tropical rainforest that’s second in size only to the Amazon, and contain about 29 billion tons of carbon, equivalent to about three years of worldwide carbon-dioxide emissions. The carbon is stored in the dead wood and other vegetation trapped in the swamps and some of it would be released if the area is cleared for drilling.

“For me this is really nonsense to have exploration in the Congo Basin,” Katumbi said in a video interview from Lubumbashi, in southeast Congo. “When I become president this is a thing of the past.”

Tshiskekedi has maintained that the African country has the right to exploit its fossil fuel resources as it needs to develop its economy.

Katumbi said it has more than adequate metal resources in the form of the world’s biggest cobalt reserves as well as abundant deposits of copper, lithium, tin and gold to focus on.

Credit: Bloomberg

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