Civil society groups say the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCC (CoP28) must make a decision that underscores access to energy as a basic human right.
In a statement to the African Group of Negotiators and COP 28 Presidency, the group says the conference must also recognise renewable energy as a necessary condition for a dignified life for all.
Africa is heading to COP28 expecting nothing short of historic and ambitious commitments on renewable energy, it says.
“To be truly successful, this CoP must set a global goal for tripling renewable energy capacity, with a particular focus on Africa. Increased renewable energy capacity in Africa means increased energy access in a continent that has been in the dark and cold for generations,” the statement says.
COP28 will convene in Dubai, UAE, between November 30 and December 12, 2023.
UAE, which is the CoP28 President, says the forum will provide a comprehensive assessment of progress since adopting the Paris Agreement and help align the efforts on climate action, including measures that need to be put in place to bridge the gaps in progress.
African Civil Society says the continent boasts of vast mineral wealth, including metals critical to the manufacture of renewable energy technologies, and CoP28 must consider supporting the development of Africa’s local value chains for transition minerals to stop their exportation in raw form, which has historically fetched minimal revenue for the continent.
In this regard, the group says renewable energy must be scaled up to more than 15,000 GW in 2030 or an average of 1500 GW annually to keep the 1.5°C temperature target within reach.
“This endeavour must, however, be accompanied by an immediate phase-out of the fossil fuel era in all sectors. Developed countries that have benefitted from historical emissions must phase out faster and support African countries with their decarbonization efforts,” the group says.
Based on this, and as the global renewable energy target continues to receive increasing political support, it calls for a massive shift in global policy and investment.
They say regional leaders such as Kenya, Rwanda, Morocco and Mauritania have successfully integrated renewables targets into their national energy plans in their bid to develop ambitious renewable energy targets by 2030.
“We also recall that during the recent Africa Climate Summit, African countries reaffirmed an ambitious target of increasing installed capacity for renewable energy from 56GW to 300 GW by 2030”.
We note with gravity that recent investments in Africa’s energy have been dominated by oil and gas. This accounted for 70% of all energy-sector investments over the 2015-2019 period.Africa Civil Society
International public finance for renewable energy in Africa is, however, marginal.
In the four years following the Paris Agreement, international public finance from G20 countries and the major multilateral development banks provided only $13 billion of public finance for renewable energy in Africa, 3.7 times less than the support given to fossil fuels.
The civil society group is also calling for the immediate stop to malaligned support from developed countries as recently witnessed during the dash for Africa’s gas, saying Africa demands genuine support from historical polluters who must be responsible collaborators to limit global temperature rise and avert a catastrophic future.
Financing trends for Africa’s renewable energy they say reflect a laggard energy transition on the continent as between 2010 and 2020, Africa received only $55 billion for renewable energy investment, compared to the total global investment of $2.25 trillion.
“We note with gravity that recent investments in Africa’s energy have been dominated by oil and gas. This accounted for 70% of all energy-sector investments over the 2015-2019 period.
“Recognizing that a rapid roll-out of people-centred, environmentally and socially appropriate renewable energy in Africa is the answer to both the climate crisis, energy access as well as an enabler to Africa’s development aspirations,” they say.
They also emphasize the need for equity and historical responsibility, adherence to human rights and protection of workers, communities and ecosystems, fair and transparent processes and providing opportunities for African countries to be at the centre of decision-making processes regarding their energy development.
They also call for accountability, transparency and involvement of stakeholders in all processes.
Additionally, they have reiterated for the phase out of fossil fuels and phase in of renewable energy,
“COP28 should set a global goal for tripling fair, safe, and clean renewable energy capacities to over 11,000 gigawatts by 2030 and a goal for doubling annual energy efficiency improvements to over 4% per year by 2030,” the statement adds.
COP 28 must address Africa’s unique financial needs for energy development, including breaking the renewable energy investment ceiling in Africa.
More than 20 countries in Africa are at acute risk of falling into debt distress and COP decision must be able to call for a shift in the global financial architecture that continues to indebt African countries and call for de-risking Africa’s renewable energy investments.