Africa lays out goals ahead of UN climate summit

  • Residents wade through floodwater around their homes in January after heavy rain in Antananarivo, Madagascar, killed at least 10 people. (AP Photo/Alexander Joe, File)

MOMBASA, Kenya — African officials outlined their priorities for the upcoming U.N. climate summit, including a push to make heavily polluting rich nations compensate poor countries for the environmental damage done to them.

The continent will also focus on how countries can adapt to global warming and how the continent can best halt further climate-related disasters. Africa has seen debilitating droughts in the east and Horn of Africa and deadly cyclones in the south.


Other key areas for discussion include moving from high-carbon energy sources like oil and gas to renewables, and “carbon credit” schemes, where foreign governments and companies pay for tree planting in exchange for producing greenhouse gases.

The U.N. climate conference, known as COP27, will be held in Egypt in November.

How much funding Africa gets is the biggest factor for how prepared it will be for a hotter future, said Harsen Nyambe, the director of sustainable environment at the African Union Commission.

“We recall the $100 billion that was promised has never been fulfilled and current assessments show that even that amount is not enough,” Nyambe said, referring to a 12-year-old pledge by rich nations to provide climate funding for poorer nations.

“Africa must be given adequate time to transition and transform its energy infrastructure. We cannot transform abruptly. We need resources, capacity, technology transfer and finance to power our development,” he added.

A commitment made in the previous international summit in Glasgow to spend half of climate funds on helping developing nations adapt to the effects of a warming world by having infrastructure and agriculture that’s resilient to more volatile weather systems, must be followed through, said Jean-Paul Adam, director of climate change for the U.N.’s Economic Commission for Africa.

He added the continent only received about 7.5% of its promised $70 billion in climate funding between 2014 and 2018.

Africa needs around $3 trillion to fulfill its self-determined emissions targets, known as nationally determined contributions, that each country is required to submit as part of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate, according to U.N. and Africa Development Bank estimates.

More meetings between the continent’s climate leaders are set to follow ahead of COP27.

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