A rapid transition is crucial in the global fight against climate change. But not only would this be particularly costly in the poorest countries, but many African countries have an abundance of natural gas or other fossil fuels, and they forcefully argue that the rest of the world has no right to theirs. say not to use it.
Proven reserves of crude oil on the African continent total more than one hundred billion barrels in eleven countries, with Libya and Nigeria among the world’s 10 largest producers. The region is also rich in gas: together Nigeria, Algeria and Mozambique hold around 6% of the world’s natural gas reserves.
As world leaders gather at COP26 in Glasgow, some African leaders and activists oppose, for the first time, a faster pivot to renewable energy for their countries. Instead, they are pushing for a slower transition, which would encompass continued dependence on fossil fuels – especially natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal or oil, but continues to pump carbon dioxide which warms the planet in the atmosphere.
Their calls come at a delicate time.
This year alone, scientists and researchers have published numerous reports showing the damage that widespread burning of fossil fuels has caused to the climate over the decades. Scientific findings underscore the urgency of switching to cleaner energy if the world is to prevent global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times, a target set by the Paris Agreement, l agreement between nations to slow climate change.
Beyond this temperature threshold, scientists say, the risk of calamities such as deadly heat waves, water shortages and ecosystem collapse increases sharply.
But to achieve that goal and avoid the worst climate disasters, analysts here say, African countries should be supported financially by the wealthiest as they seek alternative ways to cut emissions. When the time comes, Gwemende said, developed countries should also transfer their technical knowledge on renewable energy to Africa.