For clean energy, financial growth, Africa looks to UN talks – The Washington Post

by | Aug 24, 2022 | Energy

Comment on this storyCommentGift ArticleMOMBASA, Kenya — In Kenya’s semi-arid Makueni County, 50-year-old Purity Kinyili used to spend most of her time traveling for water and firewood to sustain her family and farmland.But then the government set up an initiative to install solar energy in rural towns, so she got hold of the easy-to-install panels, set them up and sunk a solar-powered borehole. Now her once dry land has turned a lush green, and she’s even got enough power left over for electricity in her home.Access to more and cleaner energy while continuing to grow economically will be a top priority for African nations in the upcoming United Nations climate conference in November, top officials and climate experts on the continent said.As part of the Africa’s goal for what’s called a “just transition” — ensuring that the buildout of clean energy is fair and inclusive — the African Union wants to boost access to electricity and clean cooking resources to hundreds of millions of people. It’s estimated that 600 million people out of 1.4 billion living on the continent don’t have electricity, with 900 million lacking access to cleaner cooking fuels.AdvertisementBut some experts argue that improving living standards means that Africa will, at least temporarily, have to increase its output of fossil fuels.Africa needs longer timeframes and more financial resources to move towards clean energy if it still wants to meet its social and economic growth goals, Harsen Nyambe, the director of sustainable environment and blue economy division at the African Union, told the Associated Press.He said that while a just transition is “good”, he urged the need to be “realistic” about expectations for African nations as the continent is also trying to develop infrastructure with fewer resources, while already dealing with the effects of a warming climate.Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change, with little resources to adapt to hotter and drier temperatures in some areas and extreme downpours in others. The Horn and east of Africa are suffering from ongoing and devastating drought which has left populations with little food and water, while southern nations are battered by deadly cyclones with growing frequency.Advertisement“We have different capacities and responsibilities,” Nyambe said, adding that Africa could, for example, be given up to 100 years to transition away from dirty fuels.Many nations, particularly developed countrie …

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