A powerful alliance of African climate activists and renewable energy leaders launched a fiery assault on fossil fuels at COP28 on Tuesday, urging African leaders to reject new dirty energy investments and embrace a green future.
“The climate crisis is already ravaging communities across Africa, especially on the frontlines,” declared Kwami Kpondzo, Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Justice Togo. “Our voices, the voices of the suffering, must be heard. African leaders have a moral imperative at COP28: to choose their people over polluters. Fossil fuels must be consigned to the past, not the future. The carbon market? It’s just another way to keep the flames burning.”
While African nations have increasingly turned to renewables, a dangerous undercurrent persists. Oil and gas giants are scrambling for footholds, and some governments remain alarmingly receptive to their siren song.
In a potent open letter, 50 African scientists and over 4,000 youths across 30 nations slammed the renewed scramble for oil, gas, and coal-fueled by “neocolonial powers.” Their message to leaders: “Reject fossil fuels at COP28. Stand with your people, not the plunderers.”
“Africa is on the brink of breaking free from the shackles of fossil fuels,” asserted Thandile Chinyavanhu, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa. “For decades, these industries have inflicted conflict, misery, and environmental devastation. We must forge a new path, one rooted in pan-African innovation. Our leaders have the power to push back against neocolonial exploitation and build a future powered by our own ingenuity.”
Across the continent, glimmers of a renewable revolution shine bright. Kenya boasts over 80% renewable energy and aims for 100% by 2030. Ethiopia, a hydropower champion, is adding an impressive 10 GW to its existing 4 GW capacity. Morocco, a wind and solar leader, boasts 5 GW and is rapidly decarbonizing its grid. South Africa, with its ambitious 42% renewable target by 2030, is another continental frontrunner.
The historic Loss and Damage Fund secured at COP28 could be a game-changer, empowering vulnerable nations to accelerate their green transitions.
“Solar can light up Africa’s future – affordable, accessible, and clean,” declared Sonia Dunlop, CEO of the Global Solar Council. “But it needs the right decisions in Dubai. Leaders must raise their ambition, commit to action, and be held accountable. Joining over 100 nations to triple global renewable capacity by 2030 would be a powerful first step.”
The tide is turning. African voices are rising in unison, demanding a clean break from the polluters of the past. Will African leaders heed their call and champion a renewable future at COP28? The world watches and waits.