By Ireen Twongirwe
Africa is already in the midst of a climate emergency. Our communities, ecosystems and economies are experiencing ever more intense heat waves, droughts, cyclones and catastrophic floods.
It’s important to note that millions of people in the Horn of Africa are suffering famine and high water stress is expected to displace up to 700 million Africans by 2030 according to research.
While Africa only accounts for around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, we are more vulnerable to climate change and suffer disproportionately from each additional degree of global warming. Ours is the most climate vulnerable continent
Instead of the dirty polluting energy sources of the past such as fossil fuels, amidst the environmental challenges such as loss of biodiversity and human rights violations due to the fossil fuel projects especially coal, oil and gas in Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Mozambique, Africa and its people deserve the clean renewable energy sources of the future to achieve the Sustainable Goal 7 of the clean affordable energy and other Sustainable Development Goals globally by 2030.
It’s also important to note that Africa has 39% of the world’s total renewable energy potential, more than any other continent.
While centralized fossil fuel infrastructure has failed to bring energy to almost half of Africa’s population, renewable energy technologies can deliver a flexible combination of grid-based, off-grid and mini-grid solutions to enable universal energy access for all Africans.
Renewable energy systems are also more cost effective and resilient than their fossil counterparts.
However, most of the Africans can’t afford off grid solutions because there are expensive and maintenance is challenge. It’s on this note that I call upon government and her ministries to put incentives on the solar panels and other electric devices for easy accessibility.
More so for the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), there is need for public awareness especially on the local communities on how to use locally led solutions to reduce on deforestation to promote and create employment opportunities for themselves.
In addition, deforestation has also contributed to the climate change impacts due to the unsustainable use of firewood and charcoal can lead to soil erosion, desertification, in hilly areas, landslides that has contributed to the floods that has killed massive of people.
Therefore, substituting firewood with LPG, briquettes, cooking gas stoves reduces deforestation and can also improve agricultural productivity hence promoting green economy
Therefore, investments in renewables create more employment opportunities, mitigates and adapts climate change impacts that fossil fuels that have created more harm on the livelihoods and the environment.
In a nutshell, we are calling for a green renewable energy future that preserves climate stability and provides energy access to all.
For God and my country
Ireen Twongirwe works with Women for Green Economy Movement Uganda.