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IRENA calls for climate action, highlights Africa Clean Energy Corridor

By GAR staff on 05.05.2014.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) advocated action oriented-initiatives to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy at the Abu Dhabi Ascent, highlighting the organisation’s Africa Clean Energy Corridor as an international model for mobilised action.

The event came in the wake of a latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) urging that a quadrupling in the renewable energy source output to 120GW will be necessary by 2030 if we seriously intend to avert catastrophic climate change.

“We are meeting in Abu Dhabi because we still have a choice. The technical potential of renewable energy resources is huge.”

Currently, the world faces the prospect of adverse water shortages, widespread agricultural devastation and an economic situation that could reverse much of the progress made in lifting rural communities in Africa and Asia out of poverty over the preceding decades.

“The climate agenda is becoming ever more prominent and the IPCC has expressed very clearly the need for the world to act quickly,” said IRENA director-general, Adnan Amin in the climate change panel. “We are meeting in Abu Dhabi because we still have a choice.

“Decarbonising the world’s energy mix is possible and the transition to renewable energy can also generate additional growth and employment. Action-oriented initiatives like Africa Clean Energy Corridor and SIDS – Lighthouses and the others presented here at the Abu Dhabi Ascent, show us how. The technical potential of renewable energy resources is huge.”

At present, Power accounts for over 60% of emissions and a transition renewable energy offers the most cost-effective, technically-proven and economic solution to balance the equation.

“Renewable energy resources hold the key to reducing carbon emissions. They are abundant, reliable, indigenous, help contain energy prices and meet increasing energy demand sustainably,” said Amin.

IRENA’s Africa Clean Energy Corridor is a plan to transform the continent’s current fuel mix with a combination hydro, geothermal, biomass, wind and solar energy projects deployed from Cairo to Cape Town, fostering co-operation from countries across east and southern Africa.

By drawing on the continent's enormous renewable energy resources and evolving power infrastructure, the initiative will generate employment opportunities and investment opportunities, even as fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions are reduced.

The SIDS - Lighthouses initiative was also referenced as a systematic approach toward a transition to renewables in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), many of which remain dependent on fossil fuels for the majority of their energy generation and transport.

The discussion also included John Kufuor, former President of Ghana and representation from the ministries responsible for the energy and environmental portfolios in six different African countries, including Tseliso Mokhosi from Lesotho, Salvador Namburete from Mozambique, Mutaz Mousa Abdullah from Sudan, Gerald Banaga-Baingi from Uganda, Savior Kasukuwere from Zimbabwe and Etienne Nyembo from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Abu Dhabi Ascent was a two-day high-level meeting bringing together ministers and leaders from business, finance and civil society to generate momentum ahead of the UN Climate Summit being convened on 23rd September by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.