African scientists, young people call on leaders to embrace 100% renewable energy ahead of COP28

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African scientists, young people call on leaders to embrace 100% renewable energy ahead of COP28
African scientists, young people call on leaders to embrace 100% renewable energy ahead of COP28

Africa-Press – Tanzania. With the COP28 climate summit set to start on Thursday, African scientists and young people are urging leaders to transition the African continent from relying on fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy.

In an open letter to African heads of state and governments released in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday, the scientists expressed “deep concern over a resurgence of interest in oil, gas, and coal exploration on the continent, largely driven by former colonial and neocolonial powers.”

Corneille Ewango Ekokinya, a botanist at the University of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo, expressed concern over the continent’s continued reliance on fossil fuels, stating: “Instead of catching up with the 21st century, we’re being locked to the old and dirty for the benefit of few.”

He also decried the widespread use of new fossil fuel investments across Africa, which is incompatible with the Paris Accord’s 1.5C warming limit.

The letter underscored the potential environmental and socioeconomic consequences of such a trend in Africa. They warned that such a path would be disastrous for Africa’s environment and people, exacerbating the climate crisis and locking the continent into a dependency on unsustainable energy sources.

The collective plea from the African scientists and youth advocates urged leaders to reject investments in traditional fossil fuels. They also called for a commitment to developing modern, decentralized renewable energy sources tailored to sustain the continent’s growing energy needs.

The scientists and youth proposed a bold, transformative vision for Africa’s energy future powered by clean, renewable solar, wind, and geothermal sources.

They argued that this transition is essential for environmental sustainability and offers immense economic opportunities for Africa, creating jobs, boosting energy security, and fostering sustainable development.

Environmental group Greenpeace Africa commended the group’s initiative.

“By embracing clean energy and leapfrogging over fossil fuels, African leaders can safeguard their people, environment, and economies from the climate crisis’s devastating consequences,” said Fred Niebuhr, Greenpeace Africa’s political advisor.

The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12.

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