Renewable energy could be the African miracle: Guterres

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes Africa could be at the heart of a renewable future as he called for the region to become a renewable energy superpower.

Guterres was addressing the opening of the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya where he warned that an injustice was burning at the heart of the climate crisis and that Africa was suffering among the worst effects of rising global temperatures.

He again called for a quantum leap in climate action in an effort to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

In a world of weather extremes, rising temperatures, ferocious flooding and droughts that have inflicted hunger and displacement around the world including in Africa, the UN Chief called for giant strides to be made in climate action.

“An injustice burns at the heart of the climate crisis. And its flame is scorching hopes and possibilities here in Africa. This continent accounts for less than four percent of global emissions.

Yet it suffers some of the worst effects of rising global temperature, extreme heat, ferocious floods, and tens of thousands of dead from devastating droughts. The blow inflicted on development is all around with growing hunger and displacement. Shattered infrastructure. Systems stretched to the limit. All aggravated by climate chaos not of your making.”

Guterres listed three key areas of focus for Africa, first highlighting the need for greater climate ambition and massively accelerating action to limit temperature rises and impacts particularly from G20 countries; the need for climate justice, urging developed countries to present a clear and credible roadmap to double adaption finance by 2025 as a first step to devoting at least half of all climate finance to adaptation; and third: making Africa a world leader in renewable energy and green growth.

“Africa is home to 60 percent of the world’s best solar resources but only two percent of global investments in renewable energy over the last two decades. Now is the time to bring together African countries with developed countries, financial institutions and technology companies to create a true African Renewable Energy Alliance. With adequate access to financial resources at a reasonable cost and technological support, renewables could dramatically boost economies, grow new industries, create jobs and drive development, including by reaching the over 600 million Africans living without access to power. Renewable energy could be the African miracle but we must make it happen. We must all work together for Africa to become a renewable energy superpower.”

He called for ambition in mitigation to be in parallel with ambition in climate justice with a clear message to richer countries.

“They must also keep their promise to provide $100 billion a year to developing countries for climate support and fully replenish the Green Climate Fund. All countries must also operationalize the loss and damage fund proposed at COP28 this year. Every person on earth must be covered by an early warning system by 2027, by implementing the Action Plan we launched last year. Six out of every 10 Africans currently lack access to these systems.”

As the World Meteorological Organisation warns that global temperatures are set to reach new records in the next five years and with that, greater weather extremes.

The organisation warned in May that the global temperature rise is being fueled by heat-trapping greenhouse gases and a naturally occurring El Nino event.

The organisation’s latest update says there’s a 66% likelihood that the annual average near-surface temperature between 2023 and 2027 will be more than the key threshold of 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year while there’s a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record.