African Scientists and Youth Urge Leaders to Reject Fossil Fuels at COP28

The letter warns of a new scramble for oil, gas, and coal in the continent, and calls for a renewable energy transition.

by Motoni Olodun

A group of nearly 50 scientists and over 2000 youth from 30 African countries have written an open letter to African heads of state and governments, urging them to reject fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy at the upcoming COP28 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

The letter, which was published on the website of Greenpeace Africa, a leading environmental organisation, warns of a new scramble for oil, gas, and coal in the continent, driven by former colonial and neocolonial powers. The letter calls on African leaders to resist these investments and instead focus on developing modern, decentralised renewable energy sources for the continent.

The scientists, who are experts in various fields such as climatology, forest and oceans, renewable energy, and socio-economics, cite the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shows that the world is on track to exceed 1.5°C of global warming by 2030 unless drastic and immediate actions are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The letter notes that Africa is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, such as rising temperatures, droughts, floods, storms, and conflicts over scarce resources. The letter states that some regions in Africa have already warmed by 2°C since 1900 and that if current emission trends continue, Africa could face a mean annual temperature increase of up to 6°C by the end of the 21st century.

The letter also highlights the potential of renewable energy to provide clean, affordable, and reliable power to millions of Africans who lack access to electricity. The letter points out that Africa has abundant solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal resources that can be harnessed to meet the continent’s energy needs and create jobs and opportunities for its people.

The letter urges African leaders to take a bold and visionary stance at COP28 and to demand that the developed countries and the fossil fuel industry pay their fair share of the costs of climate adaptation and mitigation, as well as the loss and damage caused by the climate crisis. The letter also calls for African leaders to reject false solutions such as carbon markets and biodiversity credit markets, which are being promoted by polluters and the extractive industries.

Greenpeace Africa stands with the scientists and the youth in their call for a fossil-free future for Africa. Fred Niebuhr, Greenpeace Africa’s political adviser, said: “Africa has the potential to lead the world in the transition to a renewable energy future. By embracing clean energy and leapfrogging over the age of fossil fuels, African leaders can protect our people, their environment, and their economies from the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.”

The COP28 climate summit, which will take place from November 30th to December 12, 2023, is seen as a critical moment for the world to act on the climate emergency and to implement the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. The summit is expected to attract over 30,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, civil society representatives, and media.

The open letter from the African scientists and youth is part of a global movement of people who are demanding climate justice and a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter expresses hope that African leaders will listen to the voices of their people and the science, and will make the right decisions for the present and future generations of Africans.

Source: Scoop

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