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WWF Regional Energy hub together with WWF Kenya hosted a side event at the on going COP27 under the theme; Strengthening Energy Innovation and Policy for just transition in Africa.
“This transition requires close consideration of the equity implications and challenges associated with prevailing energy poverty, low energy consumption and energy needs for economic growth and transformation”, he noted.
Africa’s historical and current carbon emission share is below 3 percent of global emissions, but the burden of climate change on economies and livelihoods across the continent is disproportionately high—a climate injustice.
According to WWF Uganda’s Head of Policy, Advocacy and Communications Ms Rita Kyategeka, Africa is also the least climate-resilient region in the world, with high vulnerability to climate change and a low readiness for its impacts.
“ Climate change is already threatening to derail development gains and impose further economic costs and social disruption, with adaptation alone projected to cost the continent at least $50 billion annually by 2050”, she commented.
WWF Africa Energy hub Officer, James Kakeeto added that Africa’s low access to modern energy is undermining its development goals and ability to build climate resilience.
“Moves toward low-carbon sources of energy to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are of paramount importance, but they need to be compatible with achieving the continent’s development aspirations and meeting the unmet energy needs of some 600 million Africans”, he explained.
James explained that at 46 percent in 2020, the share of fossil-based energy sources in Africa’s energy mix is relatively modest compared with the share in other global regions. The continent has also increased its renewable energy technologies, which along with natural gas—which could serve as the transition fuel in countries that have access to it—will allow them to gradually reduce coal in their energy mix.
WWF Uganda’s AG- Country Director Simon Peter Weredwong stated that although low-carbon transitions in Africa vary by country, they could be transformational.
“These variations reflect differing ecological zones, climates, settlement patterns, economic structures, resource bases, and governance systems”, he said hence the need to have tailor made solutions to address these regional difference.
At the end of the deliberations, it was clear that the message for the COP27 negotiations is that Policies to achieve climate resilience and a just energy transition in Africa should be inclusive.
Lastly, the principle of a just energy transition in Africa must consider past emissions and how they shape future emission trajectories. Africa contributed little to the buildup of historical emissions and should therefore not be denied the “carbon space” to develop its economies as true climate justice suggests that Africa is owed almost 10 times as much as the global climate finance that it received in recent years.