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Climate change and electricity accessibility

Climate change and electricity accessibility

Brookings Africa Growth Initiative Foresight Africa 2022

Brookings Africa Growth Initiative Foresight Africa 2022Late last year, U.N. leaders reached an agreement. Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, stated that if the world does not come together to address the impending effects of climate change, Africa will face drought, rising sea levels and potential conflicts over water access.

The historic emissions context must be considered when assessing the global response to climate change. As it has been widely acknowledged, the United States, Europe and China have the greatest responsibility for greenhouse gas emission. Prioritizing the transition towards renewables and imposing higher emission requirements on the EU and the U.S. will ease the burden for those countries that still need to access energy through a variety of power generation techniques.

Africa is not only responsible for the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, but also the Congo Basin forests (second only to Amazon) are crucial to absorb the CO2 emitted by other continents. It is more important to preserve the world’s lungs than to reduce them. To combat global climate change, it is vital to preserve these natural resources. This requires external support that can properly value and encourage their preservation.

Access to electricity is another major problem. Today, almost 600 million people live in the 1.2 billion Africans don’t have access to electricity. In sub-Saharan Africa, 12,000,000Every year, more people join the workforce. Our prosperity and peace depend on our ability to power our economic development and create enough opportunities for our growing population to find work. It is not possible to do this in the dark. We are at risk of instability, high unemployment, low development, and migration crisis if we do not have universal electricity access. Given the interplay between these challenges and their threat to the region, we must find a way for both to be solved if we are to have a peaceful and prosperous continent.

Africa must utilize a variety of power sources, including those used by the U.S. and EU, while simultaneously eliminating coal. This will help to close the energy access gap. This shift requires the mobilization of development financing to support natural, hydro, and geoothermal projects as well as wind, solar, and other energy sources.

Importantly, COP 26 was a full display of the double standard for nations in the Global North that have universal energy access. For example, EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said, “[The European Union]Natural gas infrastructure will also need to be invested in. As long as we keep in mind that this is only for a short time, it’s okay. This is a good investment..” The EU and U.S., who control significant voting stakes in the largest international financial institutions (IFIs), then 20 countries pledged to stop funding gas projects abroad.. African nations will struggle to maintain and build the infrastructure needed to make use of our natural gas if they don’t receive support from IFIs. This sharp contrast in words and actions sends the message that natural gas is considered a bridge to renewables in the Global North—where access to electricity is secure—while natural gas is an unnecessary luxury to Africans who still do not have access to reliable electricity.

Our prosperity and peace depend on our ability to power our economic development and create enough opportunities for our growing population to find work. It is not possible to do this in the dark.

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The green economic revolution must be embraced by African nations. The global transition to renewable energy will mean exponentially scaling up the production of batteries, electric vehicles, and other renewable energy systems, which depend on Africa’s natural resources. For example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is responsible for a staggering 80% of global renewable energy production. 70 percent of the world’s cobalt,This mineral is essential for battery production. It is unlikely that cobalt will be needed again by 2030 as the world’s demand for the mineral is expected to double. We must leverage our market power to improve working conditions, shift from raw material exports to manufacturing and processing capacity, and take more green energy supply chain shares. We cannot afford repeating the mistakes of previous economic revolutions.

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