The Chief Executive Officer of a global non-profit, Development Action & Campaign for Africa, Adeola Akinremi, has urged the Federal Government and other African countries to prioritise the transition to green energy in a bid to safeguard African communities.
According to Akinremi, embracing green energy is crucial for safeguarding communities and advancing cleaner energy solutions.
He added that the transition from fossil fuel to solar was of utmost importance.
Akinremi led a strong campaign against smoking in public places across Africa in the early 2000s, which spurred the enactment of several anti-smoking laws and policies on the continent.
He noted that Africa’s population would reach close to 2.5 billion by 2050, a demographic shift that needed good planning.
Akinremi said that he was focusing fully on working with the government leaders and businesses to prioritise action on climate change throughout the continent.
He said, “The fossil fuel industry is the main culprit in climate change and Nigeria needs to pressure the industry to pivot faster. Millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and methane are released into the atmosphere through gas flaring, which compromises lives and livelihoods. “Nigeria and other African leaders need to maximise this moment of transition to a green economy because it would protect our communities and livelihoods.
“Africa will have the world’s largest workforce and there must be jobs for the workforce.”
He asserted that Africa would need equitable electricity that meets the needs of our growing population and renewable energy offers equity with community solar.
“Everyone can harness the power of the sun if the government provides equitable policies.
“Nigeria and other African leaders must create policies that address severe inequities between demographic groups that create unequal access to opportunities that are critical to building economic security,” he said.
The measures needed, Akinremi said, would require moving beyond the rhetoric and attendance at COPs and other meetings to focusing on climate change efforts that can protect livelihoods and communities.
“Africa has the world’s lowest per capita greenhouse gas emissions, but the impact is felt very strongly on the continent.
“Africa is one of the hardest hit continents and we don’t have the shock absorber. Africa’s poorest communities are often powerless in the face of extreme weather events. These extreme conditions are altering weather patterns across Sub-Saharan Africa, resulting in significant negative impacts on livelihoods, food security, nutrition, and national economies.”
Akinremi advised African leaders to invest in climate adaptation and mitigation with accelerated gear without waiting for future disasters.
“We have seen devastating consequences of flooding on our communities and the health of the people. Agriculture is affected and cholera and malaria cases have continued to surge, especially in places of poverty and conflict, with outbreaks reported in more than 26 countries and fatality rates rising sharply. This is what climate change means.”
In 2023, former President Olusegun Obasanjo urged Nigerian youth to spearhead the campaign against climate change and push for a green economy.
He said this while speaking at the Presidential Youth Retreat with the theme “Contributing to Green Economy” at the Youth Development Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to the former president, the adverse effects of climate change caused by emissions of carbon dioxide such as the resultant abnormal weather conditions, extreme temperatures, flooding, and drought, among others call for concerns and require the joint efforts of all to halt this disturbing trend.