The second and final day of the World Leaders Summit at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) concluded yesterday, with negotiators taking over for the next ten days to turn speeches into tangible deliverables. Day two kicked off without French President Emmanuel Macron who left at the end of day one following a tense meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson over disputed fishing rights and after publicly calling Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison a liar for cutting France out of a lucrative submarine deal in September 2021. In the end, Johnson narrowly avoided a repeat of the Copenhagen COP in 2009 which was deemed a spectacular failure for achieving very little. Glasgow delivered three agreements: making clean tech accessible, reducing deforestation and reducing methane emissions.
The Glasgow Breakthrough
The pledge seeks to accelerate the development and deployment of affordable and accessible clean energy technology to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5°C. It was endorsed by 42 countries including nine from Africa: Cabo Verde, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, and Senegal.
The pledge covers four key sectors: power, road transport, steel, and hydrogen. Africa has the potential to become a net exporter of hydrogen. In August 2021, Germany signed an agreement with Namibia to develop hydrogen production as part of its € 9bn national hydrogen strategy that includes a total of €2 billion to finance projects in global partner countries.
However, Africa will struggle to achieve the road transportation goal to make zero-emissions vehicles affordable and accessible by 2030. The continent is already a dumping ground for about half of the 14m used vehicles exported around the world, according to the UN Environment Program. This number is expected to grow as the developed world rush to meet the 2030 target. Africa also lacks the infrastructure to support electric vehicles as power shortages are prevalent and currently cannot support current domestic and industrial demand.
Halt deforestation by 2030
World leaders promised to end deforestation by 2030. As ONGOLO reported on Monday, the world has lost nearly 400 billion trees in the past century and will need 1 trillion trees to prevent global warming. Experts were quick to point out that global leaders had made similar promises in 2014 which had achieved very little. Brazil also signed the pledge despite the fact that the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest hits levels not seen since 2008.
Global Methane Pledge
Methane (CH4) is a more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2) however it only lasts in the atmosphere for 12 years compared to CO2 which takes a century to be cleared. The Global Methane Pledge that was signed by over 100 countries seeks to achieve a 30% reduction in CH4 by 2030 over 2020 levels. The impact will prevent a 0.2°C increase in global warming. The reduction in methane will come from the agriculture, energy, and waste sectors.
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“The continent is already a dumping ground for about half of the 14m used vehicles exported around the world, according to the UN Environment Program. This number is expected to grow as the developed world rush to meet the 2030 target. Africa also lacks the infrastructure to support electric vehicles as power shortages are prevalent and currently cannot support current domestic and industrial demand.”
The grey imports that have so overwhelmed the infrastructure across the continent – now more of a headache that accessible transportation options.
It would be an expensive shift from fossil fuel to EVs indeed. However given Africa exports minerals necessary for some of the EVs. I wonder if there is an opportunity there for Africa to leverage its position so it can reduce EVs costs in the long run.
A great opportunity for all.