Africa specifies its climate requirements
Financing renewable energy, reforming the international financial system and carbon taxes are among the most important requirements of the continent to be able to decrease the impact of climate change.
In the Declaration of Nairobi, this continent, which accounts for only 2-3% of the global emissions of greenhouse gases, tried to find a common position in the process of global climate change, culminating in the Climate Conference of the UN (COP28) in Dubai at the end of November. Here are the main points:
In addition to the natural ability to directly produce clean energy (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.), Africa has 40 percent of the world's reserves of cobalt, manganese and platinum, essential for batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. Paradoxically, this continent has attracted almost 2 percent of global energy transition investment over the past decade. The Nairobi summit called for $600 billion in investment to increase Africa's renewable energy production capacity from 56 gigawatts in 2022 to at least 300 gigawatts by 2030. This is necessary for a continent of 1.4 billion people, of which 600 million do not have electricity.
To raise the necessary funds for these investments, the Nairobi Declaration calls on world leaders to produce a proposal for a carbon tax system that includes a tax on fossil fuel trading and a tax on shipping and aviation. According to the statement, these funding sources could be supplemented by a global financial transaction tax. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke in favor of a maritime trade tax at a summit in Paris in June, while emphasizing the necessary membership of China, the United States and other European countries to make it a reality. American climate envoy John Kerry limited himself to explaining in Nairobi that these various proposals are being studied in Washington.
Participants of the Nairobi summit added their voices to the call to review the architecture of the international financial system, which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described as outdated, unfair and dysfunctional. The leaders also demanded restructuring of their countries and debt. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the region's debt burden has risen due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war and climate impacts. However, it is difficult for developing countries to receive financing from the IMF and the World Bank because of their challenge to lift a large part of the population out of poverty and off fossil fuels. Reform of both institutions is expected to be the focus of their annual meeting in Morocco in October.
African countries demanded that economic growth be less dependent on fossil fuels in addition to the traditional model of industrial development. At the core of the strategy: ensuring that the continent's rich raw materials, including minerals used for green technology, are processed locally, not just exported. Another option would be to better monetize the continent's vast carbon sequestering ecosystems—forests, mangroves, wetlands—in the carbon offset market. But these poorly regulated markets are criticized because some projects - especially forestry - have little impact on environmental conservation or protection of local communities, according to their critics. Carbon credits are really a license to pollute, says Mohamed Adow, director of the Power Shift Africa think tank.
African nations have reminded rich polluting nations to meet their 2009 commitment to provide $100 billion a year in climate change finance by 2020. In addition to helping the most vulnerable countries deal with the immediate effects of climate change through a fund approved by Egypt at COP27 to compensate rich countries for damages and losses in the South.
The heads of state of Nigeria and South Africa, two of the continent's heavyweights whose economies depend on fossil fuels, were conspicuously absent from the summit. However, the African Union confirmed that the Nairobi Declaration was unanimously adopted. Laurence Tubiana, president of the European Climate Fund, said the Nairobi summit sends a strong message to the international community.