Climate Treaty May Help Renewables in Africa

Negotiations on global warming may lead to a new chance to fight poverty, environmental degradation and chronic energy shortages across Africa, according to the head of the United Nations Environment Programme.

NAIROBI, KENYA, KE, 2001-08-13 [SolarAccess.com] Negotiations on global warming may lead to a new chance to fight poverty, environmental degradation and chronic energy shortages across Africa, according to the head of the United Nations Environment Programme. New sources of funds have been approved which are earmarked for renewable energy and clean energy projects and forestry schemes, and will help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, says UNEP executive director Klaus Toepfer. “Africa, the continent which the scientists tell us will be hit hardest by climate change, must have their fair share of these new funds but, at the same time, African countries must seize on these new opportunities and begin harnessing them now,” he explains. As host of the secretariat of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, UNDP will provide advice to African countries to grasp opportunities and to implement new energy and adaptation projects effectively. The new sources of funding have emerged as a result of the recent climate summit in Bonn, Germany, where 180 countries agreed on rules for bringing into force the Kyoto Protocol. That 1997 treaty sets targets for the reduction of GHG emissions in industrialized countries by 2010. The agreement also outlines ways by which these targets can be met. The funding streams are the Special Climate Change Fund and a special fund for Least Developed Countries, many of which are in Africa. Countries of the European Union, Switzerland and Canada have pledged $410 million towards the Funds, with Canada pledging an additional $10 million to start the LDC Fund. It has been agreed that the money must be new and not diverted from existing overseas aid budgets. “We can start to build even bigger financial support to help developing and least developed countries in Africa deal with climate change while, at the same time, getting some benefits from the world-wide effort to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases,” says UNEP’s regional director for Africa, Sekou Toure. Rules governing the protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism have also been accepted. Developed countries may offset some of their domestic emissions by paying for carbon-reducing projects in developing countries, including the transfer of renewable energy technologies. Procedures for least developed countries are to be streamlined, making it easier to install energy projects of less than 15 MW, including wind turbines and solar energy companies. The Bonn agreement also allows industrialized countries to offset emissions by planting trees in developing countries, to a maximum of 1 percent of an industrial country’s GHG emissions annually over five years.
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