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.
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.
In its attempt to drastically reduce its dependency on Russian oil and gas, Europe is turning to Africa. But the move is problematic, as producing fossil fuels on the continent presents its own challenges. Noah J. Gordon and Theodora Mattei have the details. This article was originally published in InternationalePolitikQuaterly.
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.
The window of opportunity to keep the average global temperature from breaking through the ceiling of 2°C — or preferably 1.5°C — as set out in the UN’s Paris Agreement is closing fast. But for parts of the Kalahari, a vast semi-desert in southern Africa, the battle to stabilise the regional temperature is already lost. Botswana is expected to reach an average warming of 2°C in less than five years. At a time when the science warns that countries need to keep their fossil fuels in the ground, conservationists here have expressed alarm at the news that oil and gas prospecting licenses have been issued for large parts of Botswana and Namibia, including in the ecologically and water-sensitive Okavango Delta and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Leonie Joubert reports
New data reveals that for the first time since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the world’s fleet of coal-fired power stations has grown smaller. With economies in Covid-19’s grip, more coal capacity was retired during the first half of 2020 than the amount that came online. Though terrible for the climate, make no mistake, King Coal’s reign isn’t ending just for environmental reasons. Coal has become bad for business and banks are starting to freeze investments. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a deeper look in the first of his Playing Out of Coal series.
News media is a load-bearing wall in a healthy democracy. It informs the public discourse, shapes citizens’ active participation in day-to-day governance, and holds elected officials to account. The rise of social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter in the past decade shows what happens when this new media ecosystem replaces traditional news as a primary source of information — and misinformation. What does this mean for the stability of African democracies, and the continent’s ability to tackle the climate crisis? Leonie Joubert has the story.
The shooting-star solar provider Mobisol claimed that the private sector could do what US presidents, the UN, the EU, and hundreds of aid organizations had failed at: namely bringing electricity to all of Africa. But last year it filed for insolvency. The French energy giant Engie, however, has stepped in, and wants to make good on Mobisol’s dream. Paul Hockenos reports
The leading lights of wunderkind firm Mobisol, a Berlin start-up, left the company to found their own research institute. They still believe that the private sector has a key role in bringing solar power to Africa and the developing world. Paul Hockenos reports
About five years ago, decentralized community energy, though etched in history books for having sparked Europe’s clean-energy revolution in the 1990s, was deemed outdated in the age of the ever-more dramatic climate crisis. Paul Hockenos explains the development.