As COP27 wraps up in Egypt, it is clear that we need to move faster than ever into the path for a just transition away from fossil fuels and towards real and just solutions to the climate crisis. And what better symbol of the solutions on offer than the blazing Egyptian sun that wakes us up every morning? But instead of taking the cue from the solutions staring – or rather shining – in their faces, and blowing in the sea breeze as they joined the UN Climate Summit, some world leaders still seem to think they can keep pushing fossil gas as a “bridge fuel” like it’s 2006.
Africa has renewable energy resources available that go way beyond energy demand, and yet 60% of people on the continent currently use imported fossil fuel energy. For us, an energy transition is about cheap, clean, fast, local energy access to hundreds of millions of people. It means cleaner air and local green jobs.
According to the IEA, Africa has about 60% of the best solar resources in the world – but just 1% of installed solar energy capacity. The IEA also estimates that to power Africa using renewable energy would cost $25bn a year; This is the same as just one single liquified ‘natural’ (fossil) gas (LNG) terminal.
“The African continent faces a historic choice: quickly take advantage of its enormous renewable energy potential or follow the trajectory of fossil fuels which has led to the current climatic disasters.”
Africa already has everything it needs – except the money rich global north countries owe for the climate damage they caused. An urgent scale up of climate finance to support Global South countries with mitigation, adaptation is the bare minimum we need to see coming out from the COP. The previous climate finance goal was totally arbitrary, chosen purely because it was a round number that easily rolled off the tongue. What we need is climate finance based on actual needs. Only this way can the billions of people who need it have access to the real clean energy solutions that are so abundant here.