Author: Michael Davies-Venn

Michael Davies-Venn researches global environmental governance. A policy analyst, he puts emphasis on climate mitigation and climate adaptation measures within the Paris Agreement. A communication professional, his political commentaries address climate change topics, including European decarbonisation, Paris Agreement implementation between developed and developing countries and human rights. He has studied and worked worldwide and is presently a Guest Researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Africa’s tripartite condition requires careful considerations on spending Official Development Assistance

Africa is facing a tripartite problem that often require access to foreign funds. But Official Development Assistance flows from developed to developing often come with a caveat – donors often express how their concessional loans must be spent, such as on a specific climate project. But such preference sometimes conflicts with national priorities. This often leaves politicians choices between implementing policies for international agreements, such as for the Paris Accord, which requires climate mitigation and adaptation projects, and fostering economic and social development. Considering the centrality of energy in the history of human development, Michael Davies-Venn argues that capitalizing on the continent’s unique opportunities for renewable energies provides an added benefit by complementing decarbonization gains being made in other regions, but that this requires coordination between donors and recipients.

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COP28: an opportunity for Africa to reduce sovereign debt and stimulate renewable energy transitions

Almost 20 years ago, and following long debate, the wealthiest countries wrote off some of the debts owed to them by economically disadvantaged countries. With the United Nations recently declaring ‘a world of debt’, we’re back to it again, and so soon. But this time around, an imminent environmental crisis looms in the background. Developing countries simply cannot contribute to climate change solutions when weighted with debts. As many as 27 countries in Africa have ratio of debt to GDP above 60 per cent. Another important difference is that this time around, Africa holds more than half the raw materials needed for decarbonizing global economies. This year’s COP28 would be most effective by solving this paradox, as well as securing decarbonisation gains made so far, mostly in wealthier countries. Africa’s natural resources for energy transitions positions the continent to sustainably manage its debt, encourage economic growth and stimulate energy transitions across the continent, writes Michael Davies-Venn. Read More

Private property protection limits mitigating climate change in developing countries

The Paris Agreement remains a much lauded instrument for addressing climate change. But challenges loom large when it comes to applying concepts, such as climate mitigation and climate adaptation, to practical outcomes, to places set to face the brunt of the impact of a warming world, especially developing regions. One such idea outlined in the accord is transferring technologies from developed to developing countries. Michael Davies-Venn argues that technology transfers, including renewable energy technologies, will only work when private assets, such as Intellectual Property Rights, are released to allow especially poorer countries to benefit from the technology.

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Africans taking the bull by the horn to Sharm El Shiekh

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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