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Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy: Is Africa Ready to Bid Farewell to Fossil Fuels?

Abstract

The need for a global transition to a low carbon economy has gained a lot of attention in recent years following the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 whose main aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thus necessitating a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Although many developed countries especially in Europe are able to more easily shift to renewables, the question that arises is, are developing countries such as those in Africa ready for this shift? The strong correlation between economic development and energy consumption also raises the question as to how African countries can address energy poverty and access challenges while at the same time protecting the environment? Given the energy challenges and low rates of economic development in most Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, this chapter addresses the decarbonising efforts in Africa highlighting the challenges and way forward.

Keywords

  • Energy transition
  • Transitioning to a low carbon economy
  • Renewable energy in Africa
  • Decarbonisation in Africa
  • Energy access in Africa

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Low carbon energy sources are typically defined as including renewable energy sources and nuclear power; carbon capture and storage technologies are also typically included in this category. Others also argue that natural gas should be viewed as a ‘transition’ fuel in switching from other fossil fuels like coal as gas is estimated to produce approximately 50% of the GHG emissions of coal (for a more detailed discussion of renewable and low carbon energy technologies and fuel sources and concerns over definitions, see Wood (2018)).

  2. 2.

    Art. 9, 10 and 11 of the Paris Agreement.

  3. 3.

    For a detailed discussion on electricity storage, see Lazkano et al. (2017). See also Chap. 21 on the role of energy storage in managing the decline of fossil fuels.

  4. 4.

    For more details on the SSA energy sector at the national level see Nalule (2018).

  5. 5.

    Article 21 (3) (a) (b) of the SADC Treaty.

  6. 6.

    Article 29 of the ECOWAS Treaty.

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Nalule, V.R. (2020). Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy: Is Africa Ready to Bid Farewell to Fossil Fuels?. In: Wood, G., Baker, K. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Managing Fossil Fuels and Energy Transitions. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-28076-5_10

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-28076-5_10

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

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  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-28076-5

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