Africa the least contributing to global warming, yet most keen on investing in clean energy: Mohieldin

Ahram Online , Wednesday 19 Oct 2022

Although African countries' contribution to greenhouse gases does not exceed 3 percent, they are the most keen on investing in renewables and clean energy sources, Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, said on Tuesday.

File Photo: Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change Hight-Level Champion for Egypt, speaks during a session at the Afrca CEO Forum in Abidjan. AFP


In a webinar hosted by the United Nations University (UNU) under the title ‘World Energy: Looking Ahead to COP27,’ Mohieldin said energy projects in Africa – where 600 million people lack energy – need sufficient funding.

Furthermore, global warming is preventing African countries from achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in the areas of poverty, health, climate and economic growth.

Therefore, he added, it was necessary to involve developing countries – especially in Africa – in the negotiations on energy transition.

"While some countries are going back to using dirty sources of energy such as fossil fuel, African countries concentrate on using the renewable," Mohieldin said, referring to one of the largest solar plants in the world in Egypt and to green hydrogen projects in Egypt, Namibia, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Kenya and South Africa.

He stressed that financing climate action and energy transition in developing countries in a way that guarantees achieving all of the UN SDGs requires developed countries to honour their pledges. Most importantly, the annual 100$ billion pledged at the Copenhagen conference, a pledge which has been honoured by only seven out of 23 countries.

Thirteen years ago, in Copenhagen’s COP15, advanced economies had pledged $100 billion to help developing economies achieve climate action goals. The pledge was endorsed by 2015’s Paris Agreement and was enforced a year later with the aim of decreasing global warming by 1.5 degree Celsius.

The climate champion said that climate projects in Africa are compatible with the Paris agreement in terms of implementing both mitigation and adaptation measures. They need, however, technical knowhow and financial support from developed countries. He pointed out that Africa was ready to become the starting point of a global just energy sector transition.

Mohieldin also participated in a session, held virtually, under the title ‘COP27: Turning pledges into plans.’ He was joined by Dmitry Mariyasin, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and Esther Wandel, Head of Division for Investment Funds and Sustainable Finance at the German Federal Ministry of Finance.

During his speech, Mohieldin reaffirmed the importance of adopting a holistic approach to climate action according to the Paris agreement. Such an approach, he stressed, would help developing countries make progress in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, addressing losses and damages, and financing climate action.

He also referred to the importance of scaling up climate action for the nexus between water, food and energy.

Mohieldin also stressed the importance of increasing the efforts to tackle increasing desertification and drought rates, and the adverse impact such phenomena had on livelihoods.

He stressed the importance of scaling up private sector participation in climate action, and mobilising more investments, pointing out that more than 60 percent of financing climate action is obtained by incurring debts.

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