With the impending Africa Climate Summit, Greenpeace Africa has issued a clarion call to African governments to take immediate action in mitigating the harrowing impacts of the climate crisis on the continent’s livelihoods.
In an open letter addressed to the summit’s secretariat, the organisation strongly warns against transforming Africa into a new hub for fossil fuel extraction, driven by former colonial powers.
As East Africa grapples with its most severe drought on record, northern Africa is ravaged by extreme heatwaves and wildfires, and flash floods wreak havoc across various nations. The scientific consensus attributes these calamities to long-term shifts in climate patterns resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases, primarily caused by the extraction and burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.
“Amidst the unrelenting scramble for Africa’s coal, oil, and gas by profit-driven conglomerates, more frequent and severe floods and droughts are wreaking havoc upon communities across the continent. The unfolding human-induced climate crisis will only amplify its catastrophic impact unless we act collectively,” warned Dr Oulie Keita, Greenpeace Africa’s executive director.
Extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, have dire consequences for agriculture and crop yields, as exemplified by Kenya’s recent worst drought on record. These disruptions not only compromise food security but also drive up food prices, posing a severe burden on African populations already grappling with economic challenges.
“The reliance on fossil fuel-driven energy is robbing Africa of its future and driving us closer to an impending climate catastrophe. Africa holds the potential to surpass previous generations by embracing green technologies. The time for collective action is now. We bear both the responsibility and the capability to curtail the repercussions of this climate crisis,” emphasised Keita.
Keita further implored, “Our governments and leaders must exhibit the courage to reimagine an alternative future and forge a novel developmental trajectory, distancing ourselves from the detrimental models of the West. This summit presents an invaluable platform for meaningful dialogue, enabling our leaders, civil society organisations, scientists, youth activists, and other stakeholders to articulate our perspectives, needs, and solutions.”
According to the World Bank, over 600 million individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. The potential of renewable energy to provide widespread and accessible energy access cannot be overstated. Instead of perpetuating the extraction of non-renewable resources, Africa has the capacity to pioneer a just transition towards 100% renewable, secure, and affordable energy solutions that empower local communities and bolster employment opportunities.
“Greenpeace Africa unequivocally urges African leaders to evade the pitfalls of fossil fuels and to guide the continent toward a clean, sustainable, and affordable energy future. We advocate for policies that incentivise investments in Africa’s tremendous potential for decentralised renewable energy,” concluded Keita.