Africa should take the lead in reducing industrial emissions, panel hears

28/05/2016
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has challenged Africa to take the lead in implementing strategies to effectively end carbon emissions in the global process of manufacturing goods.

AfDB Group Compliance and Safeguards Division Manager Anthony Nyong said, while the continent was the lowest contributor to the total global industrial emissions, it was the most impacted by the effects of air pollution.

Nyong made the comments on Wednesday, May 25 at the Bank’s 2016 Annual Meetings in Lusaka, Zambia, during a special session on “Climate Change – Beating the Odds”, which featured a selection of high-profile panelists from across the globe.

The 2016 Annual Meetings are being held under the theme “Energy and climate change.”

“If the world is to effectively cut emissions to below two percent as per agreement at the COP21 summit in Paris, France, Africa must take the lead by further reducing its current emissions,” he said.

“If Africa leads the world in this agenda, we could see the continent experiencing the El Niño weather phenomenon after a longer period of time than the current three years,” he added.

Nyong stated that AfDB was doing its part in helping member states build capacity to uphold the Paris agreement on climate change.

During the same deliberations, African Progress Panel (APP) Executive Director Caroline Kende-Robb stressed the need for a gradual transition in implementing the energy mix to enable the continent to move to zero carbon emissions.

Kende-Robb said the continent could not haphazardly move away from energy sources such as coal owing to the commodity’s current usefulness in the greater industrial process.

“The migration from fossil fuels should be well planned and already the political will of African leaders is bright, so let the continent get it right in moving to the below 2 percent carbon emissions threshold,” Kende-Robb said.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Director General Marco Lambertini said engagement between African states was critical in meeting solutions to the continent’s challenges on climate change.

Lambertini noted that the people of Africa were a vibrant community with the potential to implement self-generated ideas in eliminating the effects of unfavourable weather patterns.

“Africa is the new front-line of industrialization and investing in the potential of the continent’s community right now could see it as the hub of clean energy solutions,” he said.

Other panelists featured on the deliberations were Global Environment Facility (GEF) Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson Naoko Ishii and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes.

Others were Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and former President of Ireland; and Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Chief Executive Officer Rachel Kyte.