The United Nations (UN) has renewed call for developed nations to fulfill their pledge to provide $100 billion a year for developing countries to support both climate mitigation and adaptation.
UN Secretary General António Guterres made the call at the virtual 2021 UN Climate Change Conference Roundtable on Clean Power Transition, according to a statement from the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.
Hosted by Italy, the conference had as its theme “Achieving a rapid shift to green, affordable and resilient power systems”.
Guterres said the year ahead would be critical “not only in beating the COVID-19 pandemic but in meeting the climate challenge”, adding that African countries, in particular, were vulnerable.
“Huge amounts of money have been earmarked for the COVID-19 recovery and stimulus measures. But sustainable investments are still not being prioritised.
“We must invest in the future of affordable renewable energy for all people, everywhere,” he said.
COP26 President Alok Sharma said the global transition to clean power must move at least four times the current pace to achieve targets set out in Paris Agreement on climate change.
Sharma called for enhanced global cooperation to boost innovation and economies of scale.
“This is our moment in history to make those vital decisive and positive choices so that we can protect the future of our planet and our people.
“So, let’s continue to work together to bring the benefits of clean, affordable and resilient power to the world,” he said.
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio said a clean energy transition “must be a universal goal in the interest of the entire international community.
“Italy has been working with international agencies and private sector to foster smart and digital power infrastructure in African countries.
“Such an improvement will boost energy efficiency and facilitate energy access for all local communities,” he said.
AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said the bank had prioritised renewables as the mainstay of its Light Up and Power Africa strategic priority.
Adesina added that the share of renewable energy in the bank’s power generation investments currently stood at 80 per cent.
“The bank has been at the forefront of transformative renewable energy projects in Africa, including large-scale concentrated solar projects in Morocco – one of the largest in the world – and the Lake Turkana wind power project, the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The bank expects to invest $10 billion in the energy sector over the next five years.
“When we light up and power Africa – based on an energy mix aligned to a low carbon transition and prioritising renewable energy sources – we will achieve a more economically prosperous Africa,” Adesina said.
According to the statement, the accelerated transition to green, affordable and resilient power systems has been identified as a top priority for COP26 under the presidency of the United Kingdom, which has established the Energy Transition Council to drive the transformation.
By Temitope Ponle