Mixed reactions from climate activists as Africa Climate Summit ends

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  • The first Africa Climate Summit drew to a close on Wednesday, marked by the release of the African Leaders Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action.
  • Notably the declaration promises to commit to green industrialization and the deployment of additional renewable energy capacity, and calls for international support in boosting Africa’s renewable energy capacity to 300 GW by 2030.
  • While welcoming the promises for greater renewable energy deployment, activists in addition called for commitment towards the tripling of global renewable energy capacity, to 11,000 Gigawatt by 2030, the level required to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Climate activists applauded African leadership for scaling up renewable energy and supported the call for additional financial and technology support by African governments. At the same time, they raised concerns over false solutions and the push for fossil gas by leaders Senegal’s Macky Sall and African Development Bank’s Akinwumi Adesina during Monday’s high-level opening, citing the urgency of the just energy transition to renewable energy to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

Charity Migwi, Regional Campaigner, 350Africa.org said,

“This is a good starting point, but it falls short of expectations. We  need to see  African leadership on renewable energy that is backed up by urgently needed financial support. As Africans grapple with the debilitating impacts of the climate crisis, African leaders engage in rhetoric and false solutions such as fossil gas and carbon markets that seek to delay meaningful climate action and the much-needed just transition away from fossil fuels, that is central to the fight against the climate crisis. African nations must walk the talk in regards to limiting global warming by shunning fossil fuels and leveraging the continent’s wealth of renewable energy potential to implement real solutions to climate change and the continent’s energy crisis. Additionally, the international community has a role to play in financing the energy transition, there is no more time to waste.”

Zaki Mamdoo, StopEACOP Campaign Coordinator

“The declaration says little about the need to halt the development of new fossil fuels on the continent, even as projects like the East African Crude Oil Pipeline continue to exacerbate and reproduce insecurities and inequalities. This Summit has provided a platform for governments to flirt with big business while CSOs, CBOs, trade unions, youth organisations are confined to the fringes with little influence on the outcome of high level deliberations. If we are to use the crisis of climate as an opportunity to simultaneously uplift our people out of poverty and ensure the wellbeing of all– then we need the interests of these groups to be at the forefront of decision-making. The solutions do not lie with private capital and the age-old profit driven model. The entire system needs to be overhauled if we are truly going to transcend our  interlocking crises.”

Patricia Bekoe, Climate activist, Ghana Reducing Our Carbon

“We welcome plans by African leaders to utilize the continent’s renewable energy potential, boost renewable deployment as it would not only go a long way in addressing the continent’s pressing energy needs and the climate crisis but also stimulate economic development. We call for political will towards the implementation of clean energy goals and creation of an enabling environment for investment in clean energy.”

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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