African countries say they see little chance of a quick transition away from fossil fuels, the mainstay of their energy supply and, for exporters, an important source of income.

Africa needs time and money to divest itself of fossil fuels to reach net zero without jeopardizing its future, officials have warned ahead of next month’s climate talks.

U energy At conferences this week, Ghana, South Africa and the African Union insisted that the continent maintain net zero – the goal of the overall balance of heat-causing greenhouse gases.

But they warned that the continent’s development is still heavily dependent on coal, oil and gas.

“Africa is fully convinced and committed to zero zero and supports it climate agenda, however. where we may differ is the timing,” African Union (AU) Energy Commissioner Amani Abu-Zeid told AFP on the sidelines of the Green Energy Africa summit in Cape Town.

Africa’s population of 1.3 billion is set to double by 2050, and AU countries aim to make affordable and reliable energy available to all by 2063, she argued.

Financing Africa’s green transition is likely to be a flashpoint at the COP27 climate summit, which will be held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh from November 6-18.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, rich countries pledged $100 billion a year to help developing countries limit climate change.

But they have so far failed to deliver on that promise — and the outlook this year has been further clouded by the sharp economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

“Not in our interests”

Ghana’s Deputy Energy Minister Mohamed Amin Adam said international investment in green energy in Africa “remains appalling”, accounting for only about two percent of the global total.

At the same time, African countries also need to secure financing for oil and gas projects, as fossil fuel revenues are needed to finance climate adaptation measures, he told AFP.

Adam drew attention to data showing that most oil and gas producers in Africa are heavily dependent on revenue from the export of these fuels.

“If we abandon that, how are we even going to finance our ability to adapt to climate impacts? We can’t. Unless we have a replacement with our income,” he said.

African countries are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, particularly worsening droughts and floods, but account for only about three percent of global CO2 threw away, former UN chief Ban Ki-moon said last month.

South African coal

Speaking at the Africa Oil Week event in Cape Town, South Africa’s Energy Minister Gwede Montashe said it was not in the country’s best interest to phase out coal too quickly, as it would damage the economy and cost thousands of jobs.

South Africa is the continent’s major producer and consumer of coal, and one of the 12 largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world.

Last year, the government received $8.5 billion in loans and grants from a group of wealthy nations to finance the transition to greener alternatives.

But the deal hangs in the balance amid tense negotiations with donor countries over how the money should be spent.

“When developed economies come to us and say, “part of the $8.5 billion will be spent on accelerating the exit of coal,” I feel that’s not in our best interest,” Mantashi said.

At pre-COP27 talks in Kinshasa this week, the Democratic Republic of Congo fought off demands to give up oil and gas blocks it has auctioned in environmentally sensitive areas.

In July, the DRC announced bids for 30 blocks in the Congo River basin, raising fears that drilling could release carbon dioxide that has been trapped in the peaty forest floor for millennia.

But DRC Environment Minister Yves Bazaiba, opening the talks on Monday, asked whether the government should let children die instead of harvesting fossil resources.

“As much as oxygen is needed, so is bread,” she said.

African countries to stick to 1.5C target at climate talks

© 2022 AFP

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