President Ruto calls for a fundamental shift in understanding Africa’s global role on climate change - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

President Ruto calls for a fundamental shift in understanding Africa’s global role on climate change

The President of the Republic of Kenya and Chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), H.E. Dr. William Samoei Ruto has called for a fundamental shift in understanding Africa’s global role on the subject of climate change.

President Ruto made the call in his Key Note Address on the second day of the 3rd Pan-African Parliament’s Summit on Climate Policy and Equity held under the theme: “The Continent at the Crossroads; Graceful just transition and NDCs implementation responsive to African development aspirations and economic realities”.

The Summit sought to galvanize a critical mass of stakeholders capable of catalyzing broad support for pro-poor, just, equitable, locally-led, and science-based decisions in NDC implementation and overall climate action.

He observed that the single most important priority commitment that will propel Africa to lasting security, sustainable stability and shared prosperity is an opportunity-oriented focus on climate action.

 “Our continent’s abundant wealth of natural resources, immense endowments of untapped green renewable energy and our youthful demographic profile precisely constitute the fundamental elements required to mitigate and then reverse climate change while driving a new, green industrial revolution,” said H.E Dr. Ruto.

“The need to urgently undertake a fundamental shift in understanding Africa’s global role is overwhelmingly evident on the subject of climate change. At the moment, conversations about climate change in Africa focus on the fact that Africa’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is minimal at only 4 per cent, yet the impact of consequent climate change on our people is huge. The discourse also mainly focuses on the important questions of compensation for loss and damage, and funding for adaptation and resilience.”

“As a matter of fact, many of Africa’s global partners evasively skirt around this necessary conversation, making it difficult and uncomfortable. Explicitly and implicitly, they encourage Africa to focus on managing the consequences of climate change, since only others in the Global North are understood to possess the capacity to solve the global problem of such character and magnitude. This unjust dynamic is unnecessary and inappropriate, and only serves to hold us back from fulfilling our potential”.

“As the Chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), I fully associate myself with the consensus that has evolved among Africa’s leaders, who have refused to be tethered to
this unsatisfactory ideology. Instead, we have been pushing a fresh, affirmative and solution-oriented perspective. And I have come here today to ask you to join us in executing this change of course, articulating a fundamentally Pan- African principle and amplifying a new ethos that summons the world to live, produce and consume in harmony with

President Ruto observed that Africa’s untapped renewable energy potential is more than 50 times the world’s cumulative demand by 2030. “The continent’s untapped solar and wind potential is rated as ‘super-abundant’ in most African countries meaning that the potential is over 1,000 times the current demand. Nearly 600 million Africans lack access to electricity, while another 150 million have highly unreliable access, and 900 million more have no access to clean cooking energy” he said.

He disclosed another major opportunity for the continent is in carbon removal using hybrid solutions, including nature-based and technological solutions.

“Our continent has the potential to remove over 300 million tonnes of CO2 per year through nature-based solutions such as landscape restoration, reforestation and mangrove forest protection and expansion. These measures, at a carbon price of $50 per tonne, could provide more than $15
billion in revenue, more than 85 million jobs and improve millions of livelihoods. Of course, I am well aware that the prices we currently get - on average $5 per tonne is unacceptably unfair given that elsewhere, prices go up to between $100-$200 per tonne.

H.E Dr. Ruto informed the Summit participants that the upcoming African Climate Summit in Nairobi this year will be a major gathering of African and global leaders to deliberate and consolidate a clear African position and clear African voice as we project our agenda in the Global Stock take engagements and the buildup to the COP28. The summit will provide an opportunity to highlight and forge consensus on the modalities of unlocking Africa’s vast potential to positively impact the climate agenda and rally the world to tap the numerous opportunities that Africa presents towards global net-zero ambition.

In his reaction, the President of the Pan-African Parliament, H.E. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira applauded President Ruto describing him as a “rare breed transforming Africa”.

“Your speech is legendary; we are pleased to have a leader like you in Africa. What you shared with us here today speaks to the Africa of today and tomorrow. We need to make it a priority that your speech is printed in all African Union languages and distributed across the continent. Every African must be aware of your existence and correct ideology you are spreading across the world,” he said.


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