Crowd­ing the pri­vate sec­tor into Africa’s cli­mate ac­tion

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Contents - By Chinedu Moghalu

It is in the en­light­ened self-in­ter­est of African pri­vate sec­tor to be­gin to mo­bilise in­vest­ment cap­i­tal for Africa's cli­mate ac­tion.

The global com­mu­nity for cli­mate ac­tion was spooked by the Novem­ber 8 elec­tion of Don­ald Trump as the next Pres­i­dent of the United States. The US Pres­i­dent-elect had earned the so­bri­quet of “cli­mate de­nier,” for his claim that cli­mate change is a hoax. How­ever, there is cau­tious op­ti­mism that his pres­i­dency will not over­turn the global agenda on cli­mate change. Hope­fully, his views on cli­mate change will change and align with re­al­ity when he set­tles into the Oval Of­fice. Pol­i­cy­mak­ers also be­lieve that global cli­mate agree­ments can­not be re­versed eas­ily.

In the mean­time, stake­hold­ers are press­ing on with for­mu­lat­ing strate­gies for cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion. The 22nd ses­sion of the Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties (COP 22) to the United Na­tions' agency on cli­mate change held on Novem­ber 7 – 18 in Marrakech, Morocco. At the cli­mate talks, Aus­tralia, Ja­pan, United King­dom, Pak­istan and seven other coun­tries rat­i­fied the De­cem­ber 2015 Paris Cli­mate Agree­ment. A to­tal of 111 coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United States, China and Mem­ber Coun­tries of the Euro­pean Union rat­i­fied the agree­ment by the time COP 22 con­cluded.

Since the Paris ac­cord en­tered into force on Novem­ber 4th, quite ear­lier than an­tic­i­pated, global ac­tion against cli­mate change has ef­fec­tively shifted to strate­gic pro­gram­ming. There­fore, in Marrakech, Canada, Ger­many, Mex­ico and the United States pub­lished their plans to sig­nif­i­cantly de­car­bonize their economies by 2050. A group of 47 de­vel­op­ing na­tions also com­mit­ted to run­ning en­tirely on re­new­able en­ergy sources “as rapidly as pos­si­ble.”

Some of the plans are al­ready gain­ing trac­tion. In­vest­ments in re­new­able en­ergy to­talled $286 bil­lion in 2015. This sur­passed by 3% the pre­vi­ous high of re­new­able en­ergy in­vest­ment achieved in 2011. Data gleaned from Global Trends in Re­new­able En­ergy In­vest­ment 2016, a joint pub­li­ca­tion by United Na­tions En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme and Bloomberg, fur­ther re­vealed that last year, coal and gas-fired elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion drew less than half the record in­vest­ment made in so­lar, wind and other re­new­able en­ergy sources.

The trend in re­new­able en­ergy in­vest­ment is a mixed bag, even in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. China alone ac­counted for 55% of to­tal in­vest­ment last year; Africa's share was less than 5%. As cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion is be­ing driven by in­vest­ment in green en­ergy, Africa is al­ready tak­ing the fa­mil­iar po­si­tion at the back seat on the 'green en­ergy train'.

This was not unan­tic­i­pated by cli­mate pol­i­cy­mak­ers. Al­though China is the clear leader in in­vest­ment in re­new­ables, other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, in par­tic­u­lar the low­in­come coun­tries, are not ex­pected to be able to keep pace with­out in­ter­na­tional as­sis­tance. But the ad­vanced coun­tries ap­pear to be reneg­ing on their pledges to help fi­nance both mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion frame­works in the de­vel­op­ing world, in­clud­ing Africa. This gen­er­ated some rum­blings in Marrakech, with re­gard to the com­mit­ment by the de­vel­oped coun­tries to raise $100 bil­lion an­nu­ally by

Chinedu Moghalu

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