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Africa’s clean and sustainable energy potential affirmed

An environmental lobby group has challenged African leaders to take a decisive lead in pushing for ecologically friendly sources of energy against the backdrop of worsening global climate.

Making the call ahead of the Africa Climate Summit(ACS) set for Nairobi from Monday next week, Greenpeace Africa has also called on African governments to act now to minimize the devastating impacts of the climate crisis on the livelihoods of Africans.     

Through a dispatch to the summit’s secretariat, the nongovernmental organization is warning against turning Africa into the frontier of a new scramble for oil, gas and coal, spearheaded by former colonial masters.
“As East Africa is reeling from its worst drought on record, extreme heat and wildfires are ravaging northern Africa and flash floods are hitting countries across the continent. The science is clear on what drives the climate crisis: long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns caused by greenhouse gas emissions that blanket the Earth and trap the sun’s heat. This crisis would not happen without human activities like the extraction and burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas,” said Greenpeace Africa’s Executive Director, Dr. Oulie Keita through a press statement available to media houses.

“While greedy corporations continue to scramble for Africa’s coal, oil and gas, more severe and frequent floods and droughts are shattering communities across the continent. This human-induced climate crisis will only become more catastrophic if we collectively fail to act,” he added.

 Greenpeace cites an increase in the number of droughts, erratic rains and floods in many Africa countries including Kenya as a wakeup call for the leaders to scramble resources and expertise in addressing the grave danger posed by effects of climate change.

Dr Keita says such ecological changes which are becoming frequent by the decade are to blame for among others the deteriorating food crisis currently plaguing dozens of African countries.

This, on the other hand, has pushed millions of people to the brink of starvation and forced many countries to spend colossal amounts of their meagre resources on food importations.

 “Africa’s dependence on fossil fuel-powered energy is stealing our future and leading us to an ever worsening climate disaster. Africa has the potential to build greener and better than previous generations did if we act now together. We have a collective responsibility and the power to minimize the harms of the climate crisis, ’states Dr. Keita.

“Our governments and leaders must have the courage to reimagine an alternative future and chart a new developmental path away from the destructive models of the West; a path that prioritizes people and the planet over profit. This summit is an opportunity for genuine dialogue, where our leaders, civil society organizations, scientists, youth activists, and other stakeholders can assert our perspectives, needs and solutions,”he added.

 Greenpeace is now pushing for an adoption of a common agenda by African leaders that will see the continent transit for dependence on fossil fuels to green energy or renewable energy sources such as solar and geothermal that are not only ecologically friendly but affordable and sustainable in the long run.

 In addition, Dr Keita says green energy will go a long way in addressing the biting poverty levels in the continent (ranked poorest globally) by providing both direct and indirect forms of employment to millions of her citizens.

“Greenpeace Africa calls on Africa’s leaders to avoid falling into the fossil fuel trap and lead the continent towards a clean, renewable, affordable and sustainable energy future. We need policies that incentivize investments on the continent’s exceptionally high potential for decentralized renewable energy,” pointed out Dr. Keita.

Kenya is set to host the inaugural Africa Climate Summit from September 4 to September 6 with a goal of coming up with a common continental voice on tackling emerging issues on climate through The Nairobi Declaration ahead of the upcoming COP28 slated for December in UAE.

This month’s meet will run parallel with the African Climate Week (to run between September 4 to September 8) and will provide a platform for policymakers, practitioners, businesses and civil society to exchange notes on climate barriers, opportunities and solutions so far realized in different regions.

Among items to be discussed during the two-day convention include transition to non-fossil fuel to green energy under the Energy Systems and Industry agenda as one way of combating the adverse effects of global warming.

More than 14,000 participants from 136 countries who include 20 Africa heads of states and representatives of international organizations, civil society among others are expected to attend.

Among high-profile guests expected to address the Summit whose theme is “Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World”, include President William Ruto and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

By Samuel Maina


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