African leaders on Tuesday pledged to play their part in contributing towards reducing global emissions in an effort to combat climate change.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose country relies on coal-fired power plants to produce 80% of its electricity needs, said his country will reduce domestic carbon emissions to within a target range of between 350 and 420 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030.
“This revised target is compatible with the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement and represents our country’s best effort to confront climate change, which will have a devastating impact on sub-Saharan Africa without large-scale mitigation and adaptation efforts,” his office quoted him as saying in a statement.
South Africa is currently the world's most carbon-intensive electricity producer and is struggling with its ageing coal-fired power plants.
Ramaphosa made the comments as his country entered into a partnership with the US, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union which will provide $8.5 billion to South Africa over the next three to five years to help the country transition to a low-carbon economy.
The South African leader, who had consistently argued that developed economies must support a just transition in developing economies, commended the partnership with his country.
“Today’s political declaration represents a first-of-its kind partnership to turn these commitments into reality, and a model for similar forms of collaboration globally,” he said.
Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said his country is ready to reduce emissions by 47% if adequately supported by world leaders and global partners.
“Zambia will expedite the implementation of activities through the development of bankable project proposals to enable the country to access the necessary financing,” Hichilema said in an address to world leaders at the 26th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.
He also affirmed his country’s willingness to support and work closely with the global community in resolving climate change.
Wealthier nations which contribute to the highest carbon emissions globally pledged in 2009 to provide $100 billion annually to poor nations for a just transition and to tackle climate change.
Meanwhile, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told the COP26 conference that his country will fully transition to clean energy by 2030.
'Renewable energy in Kenya currently accounts for 73% of the installed power generation capacity, while 90% of the electricity in use is from clean sources. We are on course to achieve our target of 100% use of clean energy by 2030 and to achieve 100% access to clean cooking by 2028,' he said.
Kenyatta called on the international community to invest more in research, innovation and technology transfer and the use of public-private partnerships in financing clean energy solutions.
The East African nation has endorsed the proposed Glasgow breakthroughs pertaining to power and green hydrogen in the energy sector and looks forward to transitioning and eventually exiting from the use of coal to clean power.
By Hassan Isilow in Johannesburg
Additional reporting by James Kunda from Lusaka, Zambia and Andrew Wasike from Nairobi, Kenya