President Ruto's plan for 100 per cent switch to green energy by 2050

President William Ruto making his statement at the COP28 in Dubai on December 1, 2023. [PCS]

Kenya is seeking to attain 100 per cent transition to green energy by 2050, President William Ruto has said.

Green energy refers to the energy produced using a method, and from a source, that causes no harm to the natural environment. It is generated from natural resources, such as sunlight, wind or water.

President Ruto’s address at the opening plenary of COP28 emphasized the urgent need for global cooperation to address the existential threat of climate change.

He outlined Kenya’s ambitious plans for a green industrial strategy and called for concrete, action-oriented outcomes in the fight against climate change. President Ruto unveiled Kenya’s ambitious goal to expand its current energy capacity from 3 Gigawatts to 100 Gigawatts of entirely renewable power by 2050.

He stressed the need for a comprehensive approach at COP28, encompassing strategies for mitigation, adaptation, addressing loss and damage, and how to implement it.

The President highlighted the significance of the first Global Stocktake (GST) at this COP, describing it as a crucial step forward in the collective response to climate change.

“At the heart of our discussions at this COP28 must be a package of ambitious energy transition and investment goals and incentives,” President Ruto stated.

He pledged to triple renewable energy capacity, double energy efficiency, and significantly reduce fossil fuel dependency by 2030, aligning with the global commitment to maintaining global temperatures within a 1.5ºC limit.

President Ruto emphasized the need for deliberate support for developing countries, noting that only two per cent of the USD3 trillion invested globally in renewable energy has reached Africa.

He highlighted the stark consequences of this investment gap, with more than 600 million Africans deprived of basic energy services and nearly 1 billion lacking access to clean cooking amenities.

Turning to Africa’s developmental needs, President Ruto asserted; “We cannot afford to neglect the immense potential or ignore the pressing needs of a continent on the cusp of transformative growth.”

He underscored the importance of turning Africa into a green powerhouse for both the continent and global industrial decarbonization.

Ruto referenced the Nairobi Declaration adopted at the first Africa Climate Summit, outlining Africa’s vision for climate-positive growth. The Declaration commits to tripling renewable energy capacity, establishing green manufacturing, halting deforestation, promoting sustainable agriculture, and supporting global initiatives to phase down coal plants and eliminate inefficient fossil fuel production subsidies.

As COP28 convened in Dubai, President Ruto acknowledged the significance of the almost 200 nations present, emphasizing that climate change stands out as the defining issue of our era. He warned of the irrefutable reality that, without a significant shift in economic and industrial patterns, the world is hurtling towards a perilous three degrees Celsius temperature increase.

Ruto pointed to alarming data from the UN, indicating a 1.2 per cent increase in global greenhouse gas emissions between 2021 and 2022. He emphasized the urgency of addressing climate change, stating; “This crisis must never be seen as a distant threat. It is here, now, indiscriminately devastating nations regardless of their size or wealth.”

He sought to illustrate the immediate impact of climate change in Eastern Africa, where catastrophic flooding followed the most severe drought in over 40 years. He emphasized the link between extreme weather events and human-induced climate change, calling for urgent action to address the disproportionate impact on developing countries.

In the panel were the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva, French President Emmanuel Macron, Britisg PM Rishi Sunak, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo and Barbados PM Mia Mottley.