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Africa should exchange its carbon credits to finance renewable energy

Africa needs to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy to enhance energy security. Pictured is a coal factory in Hwange, Zimbabwe. Credit: Busani Bafana / IPS
  • by Busani Bafana (bulawayo)
  • Associated Press Service

Jean-Paul Adam, Director of Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management at UNECA.

A carbon credit is a globally traded commodity or license that authorizes the emission of one tonne of CO2 or one ton of carbon dioxide equivalents to be traded on national or international carbon markets. These credits, which can be used to promote economic growth and attract financing for various projects, are traded on the carbon offset market.

By selling carbon credits, African countries can also tackle climate change by protecting their forests, which absorb and store a measured amount of carbon. In addition, carbon credits can also be sold as ‘offset’ to companies that are unable to cut pollution to reduce emissions elsewhere.

Lack of finance and commercial capacity in the global carbon market are obstacles that African countries must overcome in the growing global carbon market, where carbon valuation revenues increased by nearly 60% last year to about $84 billion, according to World Bank.

Charge on carbon credits

Africa suffers from energy insecurity, as seen in the state of load shedding and chronic blackouts that take a huge toll on people’s livelihoods and economic growth.

Fossil fuels dominate Africa’s energy mix, including crude oil, coal, natural gas, hydropower, wind and solar power. Africa is an untapped carbon trading market. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), about two percent of global investments in renewable energy over the past two decades have been made in Africa. report.

But abandoning fossil fuels is an imperative situation for African countries. Many could lose essential revenue and risk running out of natural resources as the world demand for fossil fuels declines in favor of renewables.

According to the African Development Bank, more than 600 million people in Africa do not have access to energy, and the continent has the lowest electricity access rate in the world for African countries, just over 40%.

Mr. Adam said UNECA is assisting African countries to enhance their resources reliably and transparently through carbon trading, noting the need for an appropriate monitoring body. suitable for trading in transparent carbon credits.

He says African countries are the custodians of some of the world’s key decarbonizing assets. Large-scale land and natural assets could enable African countries to meet 30% of the world’s absorptive needs by 2050.

“We know that the rate of deforestation in Africa is the highest of any region in the world, and so a well-structured carbon credit system could enable African countries to protect resources are at stake and generate income from protecting those resources,” says Adam.

UNECA predicts that through nature-based decarbonisation, Africa could generate between $15 and $82 billion annually, depending on the price of carbon. For example, at $50 per ton, the revenue potential from natural carbon sequestration would be $15 billion. Adam said the average price for carbon credits in Africa is currently around $10 a ton, which could be increased with the establishment of high integrity registries.

Africa’s carbon market is not as developed as many countries do not have registries to measure carbon emissions and trade them.

Adam argues that a predictable carbon market would benefit African nations with long-term access to affordable energy.

Africa accounts for just three percent of total cumulative global CO2 emissions and less than five percent of the world’s annual CO2 emissions. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) highlights that Africa has made the smallest contribution in history to greenhouse gases that cause global warming but suffers brunettes negative effects of climate change.

Adam told IPS: “African countries are spending 9% of their budgets on average, which means that for every $100 that governments spend, $9 is thrown out in the first place just to pay for Climate Change. “Essentially, climate change is taxing African countries more than income in other countries.”

Adam said Africa has developed an energy transition plan to increase energy security by using natural gas as a transition fuel, given that many countries do not have access to geothermal and hydroelectricity. can also be used to produce base load.

African countries, through the African Union, have adopted general position for the energy transition, recognizing natural gas as a temporary energy need with the phasing out of oil and coal and allowing more investment in renewable energy, especially solar power , wind and geothermal.

Do not refuel

Africa’s Common Position on Energy Access and Transition proposed by the Heads of Africa and to be delivered at COP27 in Egypt this year based on the recent European Union vote in favor A new rule will consider fossil and nuclear gases. “green” projects.

The African Group of Negotiators (AGN) and African civil society have opposed the plan. They fear it will undermine Africa’s goal of energy access and transition while trapping the continent on fossil fuels for decades.

“Africa is endowed with abundant wind, solar and other clean, renewable energy sources. African leaders should maximize this potential and harness the abundant wind and solar resources, which will help increase energy access and respond to climate change,” said Mohamed Adow, Power Shift Africa director said.

Lorraine Chiponda, Africa Coal Network Coordinator, said the acceleration of gas projects in Africa was a modern colonial and modern ‘Squad and Divided Africa’ between energy corporations and Rich country.

While Omar Elmawi, coordinator of #StopEACOP, commented: “Africa needs to wake up and stop behaving like (it is) Europe’s gas station and always find a way to solve their (national) energy problems. developer). It’s time to think collectively about what’s best for the continent and its people. This is a continent ripe with renewable energy potential.”

Report of the United Nations Office IPS


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© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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