Consumers in Europe are again growing more environmentally conscious and are willing to use their purchasing power to assist in what is widely seen as our era's most pressing problems - the overspending of energy and global warming. Meanwhile, European politicians have been those pressuring strongest to gain support for the Kyoto Protocol while having totally failed to lower emissions of climate gases in their own countries. In every country, emissions have steadily increased.
Populist solutions that are to satisfy costumers, politicians and the European industry alike are therefore surfacing all over Africa's neighbour continent and the main market of its products. And the solutions seem neat and nice - easy to understand and with the potential of creating more work locally. Even the industry starts propagating these solutions.
The victim mainly is Africa, because the message is that, as longer as a product or person is transported, the more energy is wasted unnecessarily. Worst of all is airborne transport, having the highest emissions of climate gases such as CO2. Unluckily, Africa is far away from European markets and poor transcontinental infrastructure puts most products and travellers on an airplane.
All over Europe, therefore, home-grown campaigns are being promoted, attacking Africa's newest and most successful export products. Anti-globalisation activists, "green" politicians, local industry and even occasional experts and scientists head these "buy local" campaigns.
One of the latest campaigns is being launched in Germany, Europe's most populous state and biggest single market. The campaign goes "Sylt instead of Seychelles", referring to a fragile German North Sea island with an overstretched and environmentally damaging tourism industry. Tourism and climate expert Dr Manfred Stock developed the slogan and told the daily newspaper 'Berliner Zeitung' that consumers worrying about global warming should avoid intercontinental flights and rather take the train to a German or European destination.
The much-quoted researcher is in line with policies promoted by Germany's Federal Environment Agency (UBA). UBA President Dr Andreas Troge has made the climate change issue his agency's foremost focus, and one of the ways consumers could "do something on your own" is by changing their travel behaviour, UBA says. A single traveller flying to an intercontinental destination produces more than five tonnes of CO2, he told the German press, while someone travelling by train within Germany only had the emission of ten of kilograms of CO2 to account for.
Some even go further and have started penalising air travellers. In Norway, flyers have started paying for their CO2 emissions. So far, only domestic flights are penalised to make sure Norwegian airliners are not losing out in competition with other companies on international flights. But Norway is among many countries working for a CO2 tax on world-wide flights, which of course in particular would make long distance flights much more expensive.
This comes as most African states are investing massively in their nascent tourism industry and as Africa is surfacing as a modern and exciting travel destination in most Western markets. Some sub-Saharan states, in particular Seychelles, Mauritius, Cape Verde and The Gambia, already see tourism as their greatest foreign exchange earners. In Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, the travel industry by now is a vibrant success, while newcomers as Mozambique, Ethiopia, Gabon and Burkina Faso pin great investments and development hopes to the industry.
afrol News - Africa to pay for Europe's "green policies"