As the COP28 climate negotiations enter their home stretch in Dubai, African civil society organizations (CSOs) and representatives of affected communities have called for a tripling of renewable energy in Africa, a greater focus on adaptation and increase financing for adaptation on the continent.
Led by 350.org, Power Shift Africa and ACCESS Coalition, the organizations urged negotiators to push for an outcome that will result in a rapid, fair and fully funded transition away from fossil fuels. They note that Africa’s current fossil fuel-based energy system has failed to provide energy access to the continent and has left more than half a billion Africans in energy poverty.
The ongoing negotiations are taking place against a backdrop of crippling climate change events, including historic floods in East Africa, which have claimed more than 350 lives and displaced a million people across the country. Kenya and Tanzania. The Horn of Africa region is recovering from a drought that ended in April, considered by climate experts to be the longest and most devastating in four decades.
In its arguments, civil society described as unfair, unjust and unacceptable the two percent (approximately $60 billion) of investment received by the continent over the last decade for the development of renewable energy . They called for renewable energy to be increased to more than 15,000 GW by 2030, an average of 1,500 GW per year, to keep the 1.5°C temperature target within reach . To achieve this, they are lobbying for more political support and a change in policy and investment.
In the Nairobi Declaration of the African Climate Summit, African leaders noted that achieving the renewable energy target by 2030 would require around $600 billion, translating to a tenfold increase of ﬁnance flowing into the renewable energy sector in Africa over the next seven years.
CSOs also said that only strong language on phasing out and clear commitments in the final text will accelerate and enable a fair and just transition for Africa. Under this arrangement, those responsible for historic emissions, namely developed countries, will first have to phase out fossil fuels while allowing more time for vulnerable countries to secure sufficient time and climate finance to develop their renewable energy systems.
Amos Wemanya, Head of Just Transitions at Power Shift Africa, said: “This COP is not the place to protect the selfish interests of countries. Taking such a position would be absurd. This COP should be the place to forge collaborations allowing all countries to gradually abandon fossil fuels. It is time for everyone at this COP to denounce the energy system responsible for the climate crisis the world is currently experiencing.
“There is no such thing as fossil fuels, with or without reduction. We know the source of the climate crisis. We need to tackle emissions at the source. We must also phase out subsidies and other financial support for fossil fuels. It is also important to stop using practical language such as efficient or inefficient forms of energy.
Florence Gichoya of ACCESS Coalition said: “To achieve a just energy transition, we must take a needs-based approach. Even within African countries, different communities have different energy needs. The transition pathways that we promote must meet these needs. We need to think about the end user when developing any means of energy to make it fair. We cannot forget the rural communities in the Global South who do not have access to clean energy.
“COP28 should also make a strong commitment to phasing out fossil fuels. This phase-out should be carried out fairly. Every decision we make at this COP will affect us not only now but for generations to come. What we decide today will stay with us forever.
Portia Adu Mensah, National Coordinator of 350 Ghana Reducing Our Carbon (350 GROC), remarked: “African leaders must reject distractions such as oil and gas expansion projects in the name of access to energy and of job creation on the continent. This will only worsen the suffering of vulnerable communities in Africa who do not yet have access to energy. Instead, this climate conference must reflect a firm commitment to tripling renewable energy in Africa. Our leaders must also push for a clear path to adaptation at COP28 to enable communities on the front lines to better cope with climate shocks.
Cristina Rhumbaitis, Senior Advisor, Adaptation and Resilience, United Nations Foundation, added: “The Global Adaptation Goal framework is the most important adaptation outcome we expect from this COP. We need this framework, with clear objectives and funding, to serve as a guide for adaptation. The framework should send a clear message to politicians and decision-makers at all levels: urgent action is needed to prepare for climate change.