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Saturday, April 1, 2023

US announces $5m grant to support AfDB in tackling methane emissions

The United States government has announced it will provide a $5 million grant to the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support efforts to abate methane gas emission across Africa. Methane accounts for about half of the net rise in global average temperature since the pre-industrial era.

John Kerry
US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry

The grant, subject to the completion of US domestic procedures and approvals, will go to the multi-donor Africa Climate Change Fund, which is managed by the AfDB. The Fund supports a broad range of activities covering climate resilience and low-carbon growth.

US special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, made the announcement at a breakfast event held on the margins of the 18th African Ministerial Conference on the Environment taking place in Dakar, Senegal.

He said: “More than 25 countries on the continent have joined the Global Methane Pledge, a resounding level of support for the importance of methane in keeping 1.5 degrees within reach.

“I am very pleased that the African Development Bank is responding to the increased global attention on methane emissions and is planning to increase their own focus on methane abatement in coming years.”

Kerry also cautioned against investing in long-term gas projects in Africa as countries in the region, some hoping to tap recent oil and gas discoveries, wrestle with how to power their development with clean energy.

“We are not saying no gas. What we are saying is that in the next few years gas will replace coal or oil,” said the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate, adding that gas can be used as a transition to cleaner energy sources.

But after 2030 it will be important to capture gas emissions as well, Kerry added.

Continued funding of oil and gas projects in Africa has become a key issue for the countries, which they intend to promote during a UN climate summit in Egypt in November.

Senegal and other countries in the region aim to start producing oil and gas, which they hope will help increase electricity generation, power industries and curb energy poverty.

According to the International Energy Agency, over 600 million people, or 43 per cent of the African population, do not have access to electricity, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

African countries argue that they need investment to develop their energy resources, including oil and gas, and the commitment of developed nations, including the United States, last year to curb investment in fossil fuels was unfair.

Kerry said the question now is how to help nations, which account for only a small amount of carbon emissions, develop without making mistakes made by others, allowing them to be as green as possible without creating more problems.

He said the feasibility of long-term gas projects could become an issue beyond 2030, the target date many developed nations have set to switch primarily to renewables and curb the need for gas.

Kerry said such long-term projects are likely not to recoup their investments within 10 years, adding that some countries are talking about projects with a lifespan of up to 40 years, which wasn’t necessary.

“We don’t have to rush back, we have to be very careful about exactly how much we are going to deploy, how it will be paid, over what period of time and how emissions are captured.” Kerry said.

He said developed nations must step up efforts and meet the urgency to help other countries adapt and overcome the initial hurdles of developing renewable energy systems.

Kerry said the US has committed $12 billion to “adaptation and resilience” and is working on a new structure to bring in larger trillion-dollar investors. 

Additional funding was also promised by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the Global Methane Hub to tackle methane emissions in African countries. The Global Methane Hub will contribute $5 million over the next three years. The Hub funds methane mitigation efforts. The Coalition, a voluntary partnership of governments, intergovernmental organisations, businesses, and research institutions, will provide $1.2 million.

The Global Methane pledge, launched during COP26, targets reducing emissions of methane by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels over the next seven years.

Welcoming the contributions, AfDB Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Kevin Kariuki, said the bank planned to create activities within the ACCF to support methane abatement.

“With the support of the U.S. government, and other donors and non-state actors, we intend to create a dedicated pillar of activities within our Africa Climate Change Fund to support methane abatement including working with countries to include methane in their Nationally Defined Contributions and develop pipelines of methane abatement projects for further investment,” Kariuki said.

The AfDB would be releasing a methane baseline reporting covering waste and energy sector methane emissions across Africa at the forthcoming COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

“This will provide an excellent foundation for increased focus on methane emissions,” said Kariuki.

The AfDB’s “2022 Africa Economic Outlook” projects that Africa will need as much as $1.6 trillion between 2020-2030 to implement its climate action commitments and NDCs.

The AfDB has committed to mobilising $25 billion for climate finance by 2025; more than 50% of that funding will be allocated to adaptation projects.

The resumed five-day 18th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment in Dakar, ended on Friday, September 16, 2022. Organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it provides African environment minsters a forum to offer policy guidance that will contribute to strengthening Africa’s voice at the COP27.

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