Climate change - Africa's solution: renewable energy sources, which Africa has in plentiful supply, could strongly mitigate the effects of climate change on the world but the question is who should foot the bill to develop these resources. Wanjohi Kubukuru reports.

Author:Kubukuru, Wanjohi
Position:ENVIRONMENT
 
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At the very heart of climate change talks is the issue of finance. Demands for progress far outweigh other overriding concerns. Indeed much of the contention on coming up with a workable deal is the quest for climate compensation and the harnessing of cleaner energies.

Africa seems to have put its act together, in terms of climate mitigation and adaptation. But the frustration among many African nations is still simmering. The continent, classified as a mega-biodiverse region, is rich in flora and fauna diversity and has in abundance untapped clean energy possibilities. It has at least 2,000 species offish, 2,000 species of birds (about one fifth of the world's total), 40-60,000 plant species, and 3,000 protected areas. Eight of the world's 34 biodiversity hot spots are in the continent and Africa is home to about one quarter of the world's 4,700 mammal species. The continent, recognised as the cradle of mankind, has 80 areas of wetlands of international importance as well as 5o biosphere reserves.

According to the assessments of the World Bank, UNDP and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN-FCCC) "the potential cost to Africa of adapting to climate change will be around $2obn to $4obn a year by 2025".

Africa has bulk of renewables

The latest findings, the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) launched by member countries of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, contends that by the middle of the century, close to 80% of the world's energy supply could be met by sustainable means if the right policies are implemented. This is good news to Africa, where the bulk of renewable energy sources are plentiful.

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"With consistent climate and energy-policy support, renewable energy sources can contribute substantially to human well-being by sustainably supplying energy and stabilising the climate," said Professor Ott-mar Edenhofer, of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, and co-chair of Working Group III at the report's launch. "However, the substantial increase of renewables is technically and politically very challenging."

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