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To combat climate change, Africa must fight against western emissions

To combat climate change, Africa must fight against western emissions

A person walks in water among mangrove roots

The UN climate summit COP26, held in November 2021, focused the world’s attention on the urgent need to tackle climate change and concluded with 197 countries agreeing to the Climate pact for Glasgow. But opinions on the summit’s success are Polarized.

We owe a profound gratitude to the developing nations – including those from Africa – who agreed to the pact. They chose to not insist that the richer countries be included in the pact. Developed countries, whose historical and ongoing greenhouse gas emissions have largely caused the climate crisis, pay reparations to them for the damage they’ve inflicted.

African nations continue to enjoy the unenviable position that they are disproportionately represented in the international community. vulnerableto climate change. Although the continent accounts for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions – only 3.8% – it’s already HeatingThe rest of the world is slower than us.

If the goal is to limit global warming 1.5℃Africa could face catastrophe if it reaches levels above pre-industrial. Temperature rises of up to 3℃ by 2050.

At the same time, the threat to GDP of African nations that are most vulnerable to these changes – meaning the amount of economic activity that stands to be lost if these changes are severe enough – is Projected to increase from £660 billion in 2018 to over £1 trillion in 2023. That’s almost half of the continent’s projected GDP.

A person walks in water among mangrove roots
Mangroves help protect coastlines from erosion and combat global warming by storing excess CO2.
Cifor/Flickr, CC BY -NC-ND

Given these estimates, Africa’s climate resilience must exceed the global norm. Investments from the national government and the private sector are making some efforts to protect Africa against the worst effects of climate change. Organisations such the African Development BankThe UN Environment ProgrammeThese are also the leaders in climate change Adaptation measuresLike working to protect MangrovesThere are more than 200 million hectares.

However, this type of climate adaptation is estimated to cost developing countries around $2,500 annually £52 billion – and is expected to rise to between £100-220 billion by 2030. While developed nations agreed in the Glasgow pact to double climate change contributions to their developing counterparts by about £29 billion by 2025, this amount is just a fraction of what’s needed.

Next steps

This gap can be closed by leveraging the Paris climate agreementA subsection of Article sixThis allows countries with high levels of emissions, such the US and UK to offset them by investing in sustainable initiatives such as reforestation projects in low-emitting nations, including those in Africa. These partnerships could be a catalyst to the growth of Low carbonProjects such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy.

Another option is to redirect local government money toward sustainable programs. To increase fossil fuel subsidies, the total amount of African national governments was $2.5 billion £55 billion in 2015 alone, causing calls for “phasing down” these subsidies to be enshrined in the Glasgow climate pact.

A panorama of a solar power plant
The world’s largest concentrated solar plant, based in Morocco.
Irena/Flickr, CC BY -NC-ND

Subsidy money was flowing into an area that employed people since the beginning. Less than 1% of Africa’s workforce, it could instead be invested back into African economies, creating inclusive, environmentally friendly job opportunities. It could be used, for example, to fund startups like Gjenge Makers: A Kenyan company that makes paving blocks and tiles from Recycled plastic.

Many African countries are making strides to transition from fossil fuels, despite being the least responsible for the climate change. The world’s largest Concentrated solar power(CSP) Facility in Morocco Noor Power Plant, converts the Sun’s energy to electricity for around two million households.

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CSP allows solar energy to be stored, unlike other photovoltaic panels. The facility generates more than a third of Morocco’s power while reducing carbon emissions by around 690,000 tonnesPer year.

Projects like these don’t just create more jobs, they also make more money. Projects like these can create up to £236 billionNew business opportunities that are geared towards climate-proof food and land systems – including preserving local forest ecosystems and restoring degraded landscapes – could be added each year to Africa’s economies between now and 2030.


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