Where is Sub-Saharan Africa in the race to net-zero?

(EurActiv, 7 Jun 2021) African governments face more immediately pressing economic needs than zero emissions. But meeting those needs and growing the continent’s economies will depend on their energy systems evolving, argues Lily Odarno.

Lily Odarno is the director of energy, development and climate in Africa at Clean Air Task Force.

Since countries began announcing net-zero commitments, one continent has been notably silent – Africa. With the exception of Malawi and South Africa, very little has been heard from governments across the continent.

And there is good reason for this. While Africans care about climate change given the region’s vulnerability to the phenomenon; many African governments must deal with more pressing needs and immediate threats if their citizens are to live to see the climate future we aspire to.

But meeting these basic needs and growing Sub-Saharan Africa’s economies to support the aspirations of its citizens depends to a large extent on how the continent’s energy systems evolve.

‘Net-zero’ first became a buzz word following the release of the of the 2018 IPCC report which revealed that rapid and transformative action was needed to limit global temperature increase to 1.5oC at the turn of the century and avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

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EurActiv, 7 Jun 2021: Where is Sub-Saharan Africa in the race to net-zero?