African governments have been urged to walk the talk and review commitments to global change by leveraging green economic opportunities to engender increased demands for electric vehicles, solar panels, and batteries, among others, produced with critical minerals, some of which are sourced from the continent.

This was highlighted during an interactive section to unveil a three-country report, ‘Assessing Climate Change, COP26 Commitments in Africa: Case Studies of Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda’, which was informed by the need to review climate commitments of African countries ahead of the 27th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP27) holding in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Executive Director of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Akinbode Oluwafemi, who stressed a people-focused just energy transition, observed: “Africa carries the greatest burdens of climate change, even though it contributes less than three per cent of global emissions.

“We are all witnesses to climate-induced flooding in Nigeria, Chad, the Republic of Benin and nearby Cameroun. South Africa also had its unfair share of floods that led to mudslides and hundreds of deaths.

“The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicts that these crises will continue and likely displace half of Africa’s 1.4 billion population by 2030 unless something is done urgently.”

The report was put together by CAPPA, Uganda-based African Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and South African Climate Action Network (SACAN), with support from the Climate Emergency Collaboration Group (CECG) and presented before reporters in Lagos.

Oluwafemi noted: “As signatories to the Paris Agreement, African countries, just like their Global North partners, are expected to carry out some national activities to cut down on emissions that cause climate change.

“These activities known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are reviewed every five years. At COP26 in Glasgow, parties reiterated their commitment to implementing these commitments and promised more. While all 54 countries in Africa signed the Paris Agreement, the African Development Bank (AfDB) noted that most NDCs submitted by African countries were hastily put together and did not consider long-term effects.”

He submitted: “Among other findings, the report noted that though there is improved awareness of the urgent need to act on climate change in Africa, significant encumbrances in the race towards a clean energy transition and carbon-less society continue to stifle real progress.

“For instance, the economies of many African countries are currently on life support because of rising public debts and post-coronavirus pandemic-induced economic contractions that have combined with other stressors to hamper national efforts to achieve sustainable development and climate goals. The report examined the underlying factors that inhibit feasibility of climate commitments and proffered solutions.”

The document advised administrations in Africa to remove barriers to renewable energy technologies on the continent such as import tariffs, to make the initiative accessible and affordable to most of the energy-poor population, in addition to withdrawing support for heavy-carbon projects, like Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals and Uganda’s EACOP, which will lock Africa into fossil fuel.

Other recommendations include protecting workers and communities; harnessing capacity to secure funding support to finance Africa’s climate ambition; Africa Group of Negotiators calling for $1.3 trillion yearly from 2025; dropping false solution schemes, like carbon trading schemes and gas; increasing climate change education and awareness; ensuring human rights protection via mainstreaming human rights protection into climate change mitigation and adaptation actions, as well as encouraging social dialogue with communities, media and civil society to negotiate Africa’s energy transition imperatives.

Source: The Guardian

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