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African scientists and youth demand an urgent switch to renewable energy to address climate crisis

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Climate change
Climate change

Fifty scientists and over 2,000 youth from 30 African countries have called for a speedy transition from hydrocarbons to renewable energy in order to enhance the continent’s response to the climate crisis.

Africa’s green and resilient future will only be secured once countries phase out fossil fuels responsible for planetary warming, said the scientists and youthful green campaigners in a letter released in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital on Monday evening.

Through an open letter to African leaders ahead of the UN climate summit slated for Dubai, United Arab Emirates from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12, the scientists decried a new scramble for oil, gas and coal in the continent, which they said could slow down the green transition.

Corneille Ewango Ekokinya, a professor at the University of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of the Congo said that a halt on new investments in fossil fuels was imperative to enhance Africa’s response to climate emergencies.

“We are witnessing new fossil fuel investments that are incompatible with the Paris Agreement and its 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit,” Ekokinya said.

Ekokinya said that transforming Africa’s energy systems to make them greener, resilient and inclusive will be crucial in curbing runaway greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for exacerbating climatic shocks such as droughts, floods and heatwaves.

The African Group of Negotiators, an alliance of African member states, will be lobbying for increased financing and technology transfer from major powers during the UN climate talks in Dubai to help the continent adapt to climate change.

In addition, the negotiators will advocate for the realization of the loss and damage fund, considered crucial in aiding communities at the forefront of the climate crisis to reconstruct their livelihoods and ecosystems.

Ekokinya said that major emitters in the industrialized northern regions and multinational oil corporations have an obligation to replenish the adaptation financing pool allocated for African communities experiencing the worst impacts of climate disasters.

The African scientists and youth said that the continent should proceed cautiously with technologies promoted by the fossil fuel industry, including carbon capture and storage, due to uncertainties about their effectiveness in providing lasting solutions to atmospheric warming.

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