Africa’s COP26 wins, losses as summit coming home

The COP26 climate summit almost ended with some good news for Africa but the outcomes reflected the priorities of the global North, who were overseeing the talks. The good news is that, next year, COP27 will be on African soil and we must ensure that it delivers for Africa.
The climate-vulnerable came to Glasgow wanting to see rich nations fulfil their promise of delivering $100 billion (Sh10 trillion) a year in climate finance to help those on the frontline of the climate crisis to adapt and adopt the latest clean energy technology. 
We also wanted a special fund created to pay for the permanent loss and damage climate change has wrought. But alas! Although we were close, ultimately, this fund was blocked by the US and EU. All eyes are how Africa will use the presidency of next year’s meeting, held by Egypt, to make these a reality and bring real help to those that need it the most.
There were some positive outcomes in Glasgow. For the first time, a COP decision included the global phase-down of the most polluting fossil fuel — coal — and the ending of fossil fuel subsidies. There were announcements about reducing methane emissions, a very potent greenhouse gas, and tackling deforestation and ending the finance of overseas coal.
All these are important steps in keeping global temperature rise to under 1.5 degrees Celcius as outlined in the globally agreed Paris accord. But we need to see much more urgent action on emissions and direct support for vulnerable countries which face an ever-increasing bill amid a worsening crisis.
At the talks,the charity Christian Aid published a study which showed that even if the world succeeds at keeping temperatures below 1.5°C, Africa faces an eyewatering reduction to our GDP in the coming decades. The eight most-impacted countries are in Africa. On our current path towards global temperature rise of 2.9°C, climate change would cause Kenya a GDP hit of 14 per cent by 2050 and a shocking 50 per cent reduction by the end of the century. 
But even if we kept average temperatures at 1.5°C, GDP will suffer by 24 per cent then. The droughts affecting our country is just a taste of what is to come.
Africa has the potential to truly lead the world, not just as hosts of COP27 but pioneers of the global energy transition that will see the future powered by clean, green, wind and solar energy. It is blessed with an abundance of these energy resources; 90 per cent of Kenya’s electricity mix comes from renewables. 
We now need to build a pan-African movement that can build pressure so that, at COP27, we can ensure that the needs of the majority of the globe are better reflected in the outcome document.
Top of the list is to create a loss and damage fund. We may not have fully birthed it in Glasgow but we succeeded in ensuring the issue can never be sidelined again. It is also a key third pillar in the UN talks, alongside emissions reductions and climate finance. But it needs to be brought to life in Egypt.
African leaders must not leave this until later in 2022. Our people are already suffering.


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