By: Oforiwa Darko
WHY GREEN ENERGY?
Green energy is set to be part of the future of the world, offering a cleaner alternative to many of today’s energy sources. Environmental scientists say, it provides real benefits for the environment since the power comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind and water. Readily replenished, these energy sources according to them, are not just good for the environment, but are also leading to job creation and economically viable as developments continue.
“Who else would not prefer to live in a safe environment, free of toxic substances that could possibly harm one’s health. Green energy is one of the best options we could ever have, hence the world needs to increase efforts being made towards the green transition agenda”, “The decision to cutting fossil fuels should evolve, because it is needed now!”, Samuel A. Jinapor, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in Ghana, tells me, when I engaged him about the clarion call for the phasing-out of fossil fuels and what the environment stands to gain.
Sharing the same thoughts with Ghana’s Lands and Natural Resources Minister, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, UNEP, Inger Andersen says the transition to zero emissions is essential to meet climate targets and make cities breathable again.
“UNEP recommends countries review their hydrocarbon-based energy sources with a view to phasing them out, because climate change is a clear and present threat to human, societal and economic health”. She emphatically stated.
FINANCING GREEN ENERGY TRANSITION
At the grounds of the Expo City in Dubai, UAE, where world leaders have assembled to produce a stocktake of previous COPs and make known the way forward as the battle continues with addressing climate change issues globally, climate financing in most discussions at COP 28 is seen as the game changer to fuel innovation and help power a green energy transition, while saving the world US$ 50 trillion on its journey to net zero.
Mr Samuel A. Jinapor noted that when it comes to tackling climate change, the intent is clear, the targets are set, and worldwide, sustainable climate solutions are accelerating. “Ghana is currently doing a lot in that regard, and our efforts have been so impressive especially with the green agenda, however, when connecting the dots to a sustainable and green future, there is a missing piece in the green energy transition and that is finance”. “More funding is needed now especially in climate-vulnerable countries and Ghana is obviously included”, he said. “Dilly-dallying” is not needed at this critical moment”.
On Energy Day at COP 28 in Dubai, reviewing the submissions by science researchers and negotiators, It was evident that for African countries, the huge energy deficits in production and access, combined with abundant renewable energy resources, could underpin a relatively rapid and encompassing shift to green energy. On the other hand, challenges related to access to finance, investment risk and the absence of needed technical and human capacities may impede this transition. This underscores the fact that climate financing is key.
Without doubt, Mr Jinapor agreed to the fact that the green energy transition and the achievement of global decarbonisation targets could only be successful if sustainable financing is available to developing economies.
BUILDING BLOCKS TO ACHIEVING SMOOTH GREEN ENERGY TRANSITION
“No country can tackle the climate and energy challenges we face in isolation. Working together and not in silos, is the only way we can deliver an equitable green transition for everyone”. The Lands and Natural Resources Minister said, reiterating that all hands must be on deck especially in Africa, to develop natural-based solutions and innovations that would open doors for funding opportunities, especially from the private sector.
According to him, working collaboratively and deepening international cooperations with governments and development partners are among the surest ways to enable a just and sustainable green transition. “We should be more determined to create demand for clean technologies in Africa to attract and mobilise investments”.
“While global cooperation and coordination is critical, domestic policy frameworks must urgently be reformed to streamline and fast-track green energy projects and catalyse private sector investments, he further added.
TRIPLE INVESTMENTS IN RENEWABLES – A CALL BY UNITED NATIONS
The UN says, at least $ 4 trillion dollars a year should be invested in renewable or green energy until 2030, including investments in technology and infrastructure for the world to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Not nearly as high as yearly fossil fuel subsidies, this investment will pay off. The reduction of pollution and climate impact alone could save the world up to $ 4.2 per year by 2030. It further states.