BusinessDay

Declining energy investments in Africa threaten global climate goals – Osinbajo

The decision of Western countries to cut investments into the energy sector of developing countries only for them to revert to dirtier fuels following the Russia Ukraine war poses a grave threat to climate goals, Nigeria’s vice president warned on Thursday.

Yemi Osinbajo in a speech at the Center for Global Development said the reality for developing countries in Africa and parts of Asia is that the climate crisis comes also with the concern of widespread poverty which requires access to energy for consumption and productive uses to combat.

This situation has been worsened by declining gas supply from existing sources forcing developing countries to compete with European countries who are scrambling to replace Russian energy with supply from other partners, driving up prices, he said.

“But its subtext of the unfolding drama is the double standards evident in the response to the current energy crisis by many countries in the Global North,” he said.

Osinbajo said that many of these countries barely a year ago seriously advocated or implemented policies limiting public funding for fossil fuel projects in developing countries, making no distinction between upstream oil and coal exploration and gas power plants for grid balancing.

“But today in the wake of the energy crisis, many European nations have made recent announcements to increase or extend their use of coal-fired power,” he said.

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Yet the developing world is still being held to account on its emission reductions without adequate support and investment for their energy transitions, he said.

Osinbajo decried the ‘dramatic mismatch’ in energy investments between rich countries and developing ones.

“While representing just 15 percent of the world’s population, high-income countries received 40 percent of global energy investments in 2019.

“Conversely, developing countries with 40 percent of the world’s population receive just 15 percent of global energy investment and that hasn’t improved much in recent years,” he said.

This uneven investment flow, combined with COVID-19 and the effect of the Ukraine and Russian crises, has eroded gains made in developing countries and has weakened their energy sectors, leaving over 90 million people with poor energy access in Asia and Africa.

The vice president said all of Africa’s nationally determined contributions under the Paris agreements require an unprecedented scale of investment flows into the African continent.

Osinbajo said an energy mix compatible with a 1.5 Celsius pathway will require $40 billion to flow into Sub-Saharan Africa annually, a four-fold increase compared to the $10 billion invested since 2018.

He said the ultimate goal of the global energy transition should be to achieve reliable net-zero carbon energy systems to power prosperous inclusive economics and the Nigerian context which means buildings as mobility into economic planning.

Also, he said Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan was designed to tackle the dual crisis of energy poverty and climate change and deliver SDG-7 by 2030 and net-zero by 2060.

“We uncovered the plan on key objectives including lifting 100 million people out of poverty in this decade, driving economic growth, bringing more modern energy services to the full population,” he said. “And managing the expected long-term job losses in the oil sector due to global decarbonisation,” he said.

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