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Kenya faults West for making climate change poor man’s problem

President Ruto said Africa is the least responsible for global warming but most exposed to the consequences

Kenyan President William Ruto has called out the West for pushing African countries away from fossil fuels while failing to provide adequate financial resources for parallel development of renewable energies.

Speaking at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD) earlier this week, Ruto said that, instead of making climate change a poor man’s problem, “genuine partnership” is needed to address the crisis.

The West has been pushing for abandonment of any fossil-fuel projects. However, countries like Uganda and Tanzania have been defending their oil pipeline project meant to harvest oil resources in Uganda’s Lake Albert region for export. It is both a problem and a solution for Africa, and richer countries need to invest in it,” Ruto said.

He said Africa faces “multiple intertwined crises” and is “the continent most vulnerable to climate change and its impacts” despite being the “least responsible for the climate-change crisis.”

In November 2022, the World Health Organization reported that the number of climate-related health emergencies in the greater Horn of Africa had reached an all-time high, exacerbating a health crisis in a region where 47 million people already face acute hunger.

Between January 1 and 30 October 30 last year, 39 outbreaks, flooding, and other acute public health events were reported in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda, according to the report. Outbreaks of anthrax, measles, cholera, yellow fever, chikungunya, meningitis, and other infectious diseases account for more than 80% of reported acute public-health events, with drought, flooding, and other disasters accounting for the remainder.

READ MORE: Humanitarian crisis looming – climate watchdog

At the BETD forum, President Ruto noted that Africa has “the least energy access, with over 600 million Africans still without access to energy.” He added that the continent is “still carrying the scars of colonialism as well as economic and institutional dependencies that followed it.

The 2015 Paris Agreement sets up a global framework for avoiding dangerous climate change by keeping global warming well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to keep it below 1.5°C. It intends to cut emissions by 45% by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050.

However, according to Ruto, the rollout of renewable energy in Africa is slow, owing to difficulties in obtaining financing for their development.

He stated that “Africa’s assets and ability to leapfrog technologically make the continent,” and particularly Kenya, a “critical partner” in navigating the next era of global energy transition.

April 06, 2023 at 08:28PM

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