Western fossil fuel companies investing in Africa are facing a large risk of regulatory actions that are becoming increasingly apparent as the world attempts to address dangerous climate change, a US climate official said on Friday.

Jonathan Pershing, the US Vice President’s special envoy to climate negotiations, in a speech from South Africa called on Western investors to see if fossil fuels still pose a good economic opportunity in Africa or otherwise.

“There’s a risk of regulatory … and financial action, and I believe that’s getting more and more explicit,” he said when asked how U.S. authorities would probably react to the current rush by Western oil and gas firms to expand deposits in Africa.

“We believe that part of what the donors will be seeking to do (is) to help raise concessional finance for the South African transition,” he said in the news conference on Friday, without offering specifics about the U.S. offer or any agreements.

South Africa, the continent’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and the 12th largest in the world because of its dependence on coal for electricity, on Tuesday informed climate-change negotiators from the US, Britain, Germany and France that it needed large amounts of support for its energy turnaround.

Pershing met with South African government officials, business leaders and unions for talks about the country’s energy plans.

African nations are desperate for Western financial support to switch to renewable energy.

Carbon accounting

Carbon accounting or greenhouse gas accounting refers to processes used to measure how much carbon dioxide equivalents an organization emits. It is used by states, corporations, (wikipedia)

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power stations in South Africa

South Africa produces around 229,200 gigawatt-hours electricity annually.2015 est. Most of this electricity is consumed domestically, but around 12, (wikipedia)


Eskom is a South African electricity public utility, established in 1923 as the Electricity Supply Commission and also known by its Afrikaans name Elektrisiteitsvoorsieningskommissie , (wikipedia)

Energy in South Africa

South Africa has a large energy sector, being the second-largest economy in Africa. The country consumed 227 TWh of electricity in 2018. (wikipedia)

Carbon Disclosure Project

The CDP is an international non-profit organisation based in the United Kingdom, Japan, India, China, (wikipedia)