Skip to main content

The start of COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, was marred by delays, with delegates failing to agree on whether and how to put the issue of loss and damage on the agenda as the poorest countries continue to suffer from the consequences of climate change. I don’t want to be simplistic, but basically, it’s the same question we ask every year in a different way. And, in the end, no participants leave satisfied.

So, of course it’s logical that this COP, hosted by the Egyptian government and called the “African COP,” seeks to bring these issues to the fore. The $100 billion per year compensation target set at COP 21 has never been met, and the estimates are much higher today, at $290 billion now and rising to $580 billion per year by 2030, reaching $1.7 trillion by 2050.

We must find another way of framing and answering the question. The words from Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley ring particularly true: “Our ability to access electric cars, batteries and photovoltaic panels is limited by countries that have a dominant presence and can produce them for themselves. The South remains at the mercy of the North on these matters.”

For the political leaders of Global South countries, it is clear that the ecological transition is intrinsically linked to basic necessities such as transport, electricity, drinking water, food and housing.

So when we think of a “just transition,” it’s not just about enabling people to survive while making sure they move away from old, dirty and inefficient ways of doing things but also about using the ecological transition to unlock a whole new way of life. We know the technology exists to make this happen.

Our ability to access electric cars, batteries and photovoltaic panels is limited by countries that have a dominant presence and can produce them for themselves.

It’s important to note that the poorest countries get poorer every year by importing fossil fuels using foreign currencies. We must envision a technological leap forward for the ecological transition, one that enables moving from centralized production of overpriced energy with distribution that does not reach outlying areas, to localized production that can be a source of economic development for the population — ultimately leading to renewables, now the cheapest energy source.

While there is enough money available in the world to make this happen, the investments will depend on the political stability of the countries in question.

A term that also comes up in the debates is that of “transfer” from rich countries to poor countries. This includes financial as well as technological transfer. Should priority be given to financing local startups or is it more worthwhile to ensure the necessary solutions are quickly adapted for the rest of the world?

I want to answer “both.” The first will undeniably create local intellectual property, and the second will bring technologies that have already proven themselves. But there should be no large-scale implementation without local business development.

For example, many innovations emerge from the problems of local communities: a Namibian electric mobility system with photovoltaic charging for remote areas; a solar-based drying system for dehydrating fruits and vegetables to avoid deterioration of crops; and seeds coated with molecules that reduce the need for water and fertilizer.

The United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. No. 17 is “revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.” This objective must become the cornerstone of a crucial ecological transition — and if we want it to be successful, it must also be fair and balanced between the two hemispheres.

Accomplishing this goal will be what allows us to judge the success of COP27.

Source link

Leave a Reply