Call to Action: Ask your government to invest in Renewable Energy!

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Download the full call to action here (PDF).
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 Africa faces an urgent double-edged deficit: rampant under-development, and severe climate vulnerability.

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Kurt Lonsway, AfDB’s Manager for Climate Change and Energy.

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As a continent, Africa has a severe shortage of essential electricity infrastructure. This is undermining efforts to achieve more rapid social and economic development. Less than half of all Africans have access to energy and in sub-Saharan Africa only 290 million out of 915 million people have access to electricity and the total number without access is rising as populations continue to grow (International Energy Agency, 2014). For those Africans that do have access to electricity, supply is often unreliable, necessitating widespread and costly private use of back-up generators running on diesel or gasoline.

The Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2015 indicates that a number of African countries are at Extreme and High Risk in the event of climate change reaching life-threatening levels. Furthermore, research published in 2014 indicates that the climate change models used by the IPCC underestimate Africa’s emissions, which could account for 20-55% of global anthropogenic emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants by 2030 (Liousse, Assamoi, Criqui, Granier, & Rosset, 2014).

The low levels of development, high climate change vulnerability and an extensive predicted increase in Africa’s emissions are compounded by the rapid rate of decline of Africa’s natural carbon sinks. This is attributed to deforestation and the loss of grasslands.
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Africa’s energy access  (Source: United Nations Development Programme, 2016)
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In order for Africa to break the cycle of poverty and improve energy access without increasing our carbon emissions we need to develop in harmony with nature. At the same time, we can leapfrog old technology and ways of thinking while simultaneously using less resources in order to reduce our carbon emissions and increase the living standards of African citizens.

The official term for this is ‘decarbonised development’. A decarbonised economy refers to an economy based on low carbon or carbon neutral power sources that have a minimal output of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the biosphere, specifically referring to reducing the net emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) to zero. Thus, decarbonised development is increasing human development levels within countries while having a carbon neural impact on the environment.

One of the ways we can create a decarbonised economy is through using renewable energy.
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The African Climate Reality Project is calling for all African Governments to implement massive renewable energy programmes. This will allow us to have access to electricity quickly, without compromising our economic development, because renewable energy power generation is much faster to build. Other advantages of renewable energy include:

  • Renewable energy is much cheaper to build than energy generation from fossil fuels;
  • Renewable energy uses less water than other forms of energy generation,
  • Renewable energy creates more jobs than other forms of energy generation
  • Renewable energy creates less air and water pollution and is better for the environment.

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  1. Contact your MP and/or your government to demand that your country abandons any coal and nuclear initiatives they are planning, and instead supports massive, decentralised renewable energy programmes.
    You may want to refer to your country’s commitment under the Paris Agreement (nationally determined contribution), as well as to the efforts of the African Union’s African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) to accelerate and scale up the harnessing of the continent’s huge renewable energy potential.
    Be sure to log your Act of Leadership as “Contacting an Influencer” on Reality Hub!
  2. Contact your city councillor and/or mayor to invest in renewable energy.
    Check with them if the municipality already has plans to support / roll out renewable energy technologies, and how far these plans have been implemented. Invite your municipality to liaise with the Renewable Cities network, the Local Governments for Sustainability network (ICLEI) or the Compact of Mayors : these platforms can encourage your municipality in its efforts to accelerate ambitious and sustainable local climate action, with a specific focus on shifting towards renewable energy.
    Be sure to log your Act of Leadership as “Contacting an Influencer” on Reality Hub!
  1. Contact national and municipal authorities to focus on forest protection and reforestation.
    Be sure to log your Act of Leadership as “Contacting an Influencer” on Reality Hub!
  1. Call your local radio to raise awareness about the importance of shifting to low-carbon energy technologies, and encourage the public to demonstrate support for renewable energy locally.
    Be sure to log your Act of Leadership as “Media Appearance” on Reality Hub!
  2. Spread the word on yoursocial networks.
    Use some of the following messages and don’t forget to link it to @AfricaCRP!
    #RenewableEnergy is the answer for Africa! @AfricaCRP
    Africa says #NoToNuclear @AfricaCRP
    Africans call for reforestation @AfricaCRP

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Script for a radio call:

Hi, I am (name)… and I am phoning from (place or organisation you belong to or “I am a Climate Reality Leader”).  I attended a training conducted by The Climate Reality Project.

I am phoning in today to ask [the municipality / the government] to implement renewable energy projects such as wind and solar systems to generate electricity and to focus on the reforestation of our country.

Twitter message:

  1. #RenewableEnergy is the answer for Africa! @AfricaCRP
  2. Africa says #NoToNuclear @AfricaCRP
  3. Africans call for reforestation @AfricaCRP

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