Even before the Covid-19 pandemic introduced the new normal, Africa had been experiencing challenges that put the lives of her people in danger. Being rich in fossil fuels can only take us so far before putting in danger the communities that are supposed to benefit the most from them. However, as more and more people become aware of the impacts these natural resources and fossil fuels have on the climate, there is a need for a shift to guarantee that we get to a place where we use zero climate endangering materials. But, how can we achieve that? This article will highlight how African countries can achieve their net zero goals by 2050 and how energy efficiency can help develop the places that have suffered the most.
How to Achieve Net Zero Emissions
There are already a number of projects by the government and the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DFFE) in an effort to reach net zero emissions by 2050. With South Africa being one of the leading fossil fuel providers, it is paramount that these changes happen fast but do not ruin the lives and livelihoods of others. With a transformation of this magnitude, it is understandable that a lot of people may feel that job opportunities will be scarce. However, the DFFE, public and private sectors have been on a mission to ensure that this transition benefits everyone, especially those who work in these fossil fuel producers and environments. There are projects such as climate finance that aim to raise funds and create opportunities for new infrastructure that will cater to the needs of the country and continent while ensuring that the climate does not get affected. The DBSA is also part of such projects, and you can see our initiatives and contribution towards climate finance here.
Phasing Out Phases
The DFFE has highlighted the three phases of a just transition that are set to help South Africa achieve the net zero emissions goal. The full report of South Africa’s low-emission development strategy is available. These are the phases:
Phase 1: Starting Right
- Start the process of developing long term plans for each sector to avoid lock-in to emissions-intensive infrastructure and establish the basis for transformation at scale.
- Develop approaches for allocation of Sectoral Emissions Targets (SETs) and carbon budgets to high emitting entities.
- Develop Sector Jobs Resilience Plans (SJRPs) to support the transition to the low carbon economy and climate-resilient society in a just manner.
- Identify the institutional, legislative, finance and other changes required to achieve the transformation.
- Develop an understanding of the relevant government decisions which need to be taken to achieve the long-term plans.
- Develop a monitoring plan.
Phase 2: Turning the corner
- Develop and begin to implement detailed transformation plans for each sector, which is supported by the implementation of the SETs, carbon budgets and SJRPs.
- Develop investment pathways to support the transformation.
- Implement foundational changes to drive down the national trajectory.
- Implement the institutional changes to accelerate the rate of transformation and remove barriers.
Phase 3: Massive roll-out
- Roll out the implementation plans for each sector along with measures to support changes until they become the new reality.
- Refine strategies as required to account for changes in technologies, society and markets.
A successful roll-out of each phase requires policies and laws be implemented in order for the projects to be carried out as South Africa is one of the countries with many challenges such as corrupt and illegal handover of tenders of this magnitude, mismanagement of funds and many communities not getting these benefits because of the discrimination towards those areas. Therefore this calls for strict policies and procedures to ensure all phases are completed.
What We Can All Do
Part of shifting into a greener world involves us taking small steps towards the bigger picture. While using energy-efficient tools and materials to live our everyday lives may seem like an act that benefits the self and those around you, in the broader scheme of things, you are preparing for a world where this is a possibility of everyday living. Saving on energy saves the planet and you and your environment, so it starts small. However, you may join development finance institutions and projects that are created to help in these causes and donate your resources to help win the net zero battle.
Energy efficiency will not only guarantee a cleaner and healthier environment and climate but also create job opportunities, businesses, provide people with sustainable and affordable ways to live and generally shift the state of the economy. There seems to be no reason not to start transitioning into a greener world, so why not start now? We, at DBSA, already have.