Africa will host international climate talks on 6-18 November 2022 and the African Union has been busy trying to get the rest of the world’s attention on the continent’s expectations in the lead up to COP27. Of course, COP27 expectations are matched only by their disappointments. However, Africans are not leaving the fate of its people to chance. Climate negotiations are not helped by the fact that trust remains low, after developed countries’ failure to come up with a climate finance obligation. At the last COP26, Africans were sent home with a Delivery Plan to a promise made more than a decade ago.
Author: Michael Davies-Venn
Europe must use its REPowerEU to REPowerAfrica
For German chancellor Olaf Scholz to fly to West Africa and on arrival ensures he tells his host that he “quite deliberately chose Senegal as the first stop” is strong indication that Germany, and the rest of Europe, looks to president Macky Sall among others in Africa to rescue Europe from its “burgeoning energy crisis”. Mr. Scholz ‘first stop’ wasn’t arbitrary. It was strategic because Senegal is attached to one of several basins constituting the so-called MSGBC Basin now fuelling a “gas rush”. Europe’s turn to Africa for a helping hand, formalised in the European Commission’s REPowerEU plan, creates challenges for both regions. But Africa holds short and long-term solutions. In this second of two articles, Michael Davies-Venn assess challenges and opportunities the plan presents for Africa and Europe.
RePowerEU must only be a short-term solution to avert the worse
A diplomatic solution is the only plausible solution to the on-going Russia’s war in Ukraine and it remains elusive. Meanwhile, the energy crisis which is a fallout of the war persists as fiercely as it compromises climate change solutions. From Berlin to Brussels, politicians are struggling with a related imminent crisis, which is how to reduce the growing millions of Europe’s “energy poor” the European Parliament has been told will increase in tandem with escalating energy prices. In this first of a two-part series, Michael Davies-Venn critically analyses the European Commissions’ solution for the energy crisis and offers short and long term policy solutions that are consistent with the EU’s climate goals and global leadership on climate change.
Russia’s invasion is hampering Africa’s energy transition and decarbonisation
As war rages in Ukraine and links between energy and economic growth become clearer while the global impetus for transitioning to renewable energy looses pace mostly in developing countries. But this outcome could be avoided in the future if promised rapid investments on renewable energy become real. Meanwhile, we are experiencing unusual climatic impacts, such as persistent droughts, heat waves and heavy rainfall, and these extreme weather events are increasing and getting worse each season. As Russia’s invasion continues to cause disruptions, including rise to energy prices and reduce the quantity of oil and gas in the global market, it becomes clear that a transition to renewable energy is the only real solution to such disruptions and economic growth. Crucially, the war poses strong challenges to decarbonising developing countries’ economies.
Setting sail renewable energy technologies from Berlin to Bamako and beyond
In an earlier series on articles of the Paris Agreement, Michael Davies-Venn analysed policy options to implement Article 6. Focus here is on Article 10, which provides a technology development and transfer framework premised on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Technology Mechanism. Developed countries promised to “promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, the transfer of, or access to, environmentally sound technologies” to particularly developing countries, to help reduce global emissions. But what does this actually mean and how does it tangibly translate in developing countries in dire need of such technologies?
The quest for equity, fairness and justice in an international carbon market
A carbon market may reduce carbon emissions as shown by the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS). But market-based approaches to climate change raise several issues that politicians need to resolve during COP 26 in Glasgow. In this last article in a series of analysis into Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, Michael Davies-Venn explores how injustice, unfairness and inequity are implicit in any international carbon market.
Carbon markets are stalling speedy global climate action
Six years on from the cheers, claps and cries to welcome the Paris Agreement, global temperatures and emissions are rising, as dusk settles on the promise the agreement holds for planet Earth. It’s fading hope is today matched with faltering efforts to implement its Article 6. Michael Davies-Venn argues that failures to reach agreements on Article 6 illustrates an unfortunate mistake of conceiving of an imminent global environmental crisis as an economic problem. This misconception, he says, creates an illusion that an international carbon market is a suitable climate change solution.
Europe to hit decarbonation target but has its energy rules changed much in Member States
Ten years after implementing EU rules to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent, improve energy efficiency equally so and consume renewable energy by that same number, the European Commission will now look at the results from Member States (MS) implementing its 2009 Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The RED was supposed to establish “a common framework” to promote and use renewable energy. Crucially, the results will show whether the EU now has its fingers on the elusive solution: how best to coordinate and harmonize MS energy policies towards the EU’s climate goals. Michael Davies-Venn reports
EU Climate Law: business as usual or blueprint for climate action?
In what may seem a last ditch effort, the European Union has turned to the slow churning wheels of the law to stimulate climate action in 27 Member States (MS) towards a single goal: a carbon neutral Europe by 2050. European Commission (EC) president Ursula von der Leyen puts on a warm smile to say the text of the proposed European Union Climate Law is “actually rather short and it is rather simple.” We leave simplicity to constitutional lawyers, who may find “simple” an amusing word to describe a law with massive implications for national constitutions and EU treaties. Michael Davies-Venn has the story.