By Boaz Opio
The campaign to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by the end of this century finally reached a point of no return when the world came together to sign climate agreement that spells the need for urgent action on global climate change.
The deal means global energies will from now on be directed to transforming national energy trajectories away from fossil fuels or non-renewable energy sources. The just concluded two weeks summit forged an agreement between nearly 200 nations who are now committed to tackling climate change, aiming to limiting average global temperatures to “well below 2C”.
This means fossil fuel use will face radical cuts, as countries have agreed to “pursue efforts” to limit temperature rises to what macroclimate scientists say is a safer 1.5C threshold.
Holding on to the goal of long-term full decarbonisation is what leaves oil moguls and coal magnates conjecturing the next business paths. Some like Total in Africa is already seen levitating between clean energy nest eggs and black gold gluttony. Moreover, to the fancy of every business ideal, the costs of renewables continues to fall, and clean energy is quickly gaining market share in richer and poorer regions alike.
Earlier this year, 1,000 cities, including Paris, wickedly announced targets of 100 per cent renewable energy. Just as quickly as by all charming deals, businesses like Google, Coca-Cola, BMW, Microsoft and many others jumped on the bandwagon to a fully renewable electricity destiny.
The other side of the renewables boom is the crumbling of fossil fuels – particularly coal – with projects cancelled, firms in dire financial straits, and prices in turmoil. The divestment movement that began as a simple protest against coal pollutants enchantingly gained huge amounts of strength, with economic experts such as the Bank of England’s Mark Carney warning of the risks of stranded assets owing to the impending ruin in coal markets. In retort, over 500 institutions pulled away their moneys from fossil fuels reaching a total of $3.4 trillion during Paris sessions.
From the agreement, India, China and other leading polluters have accepted the need to steadily decarbonise economic growth over time.
As fossil fuel firms realised they were being pushed out of the picture, some tried to stay relevant by promoting a global carbon price, by creating new social media campaigns – including even inventing their own followers – by sponsoring the very climate talks whose success would hurt their bottom lines irreparably, and by paying lobby groups to do their dirty work for them.
“This offers a clear signal to developing countries, especially those aiming to decouple growth and fossil fuel use,”
said Monica Araya from the Costa Rica think tank Nivela.
Araya could just be right. Developing countries especially on the African continent are on the verge of developing clean energy systems. However, these poor countries stand high risks of being target of dirty-energy lobbyists. In 2014, Uganda pulled ropes with Tullow oil after learning that they have breached sections of their contracts. The same UK oil firm reportedly prepared mining plans without minding about environmental conservation in pearl of Africa.
Wary of such threatening issues, from 2020 all governments will be expected to detail how they will reduce their dealings of coal, gas and oil every five years, building on the 185 climate plans received ahead of the Paris summit.
Enshrined by Paris, the inevitable demise of fossil fuels is underway. The UN ritual gavel and magical wand has decided. The small harmer with which France foreign minister Laurent Fabius, president of the COP21 talks, banged the podium symbolize global break away from the bond of carbon karma initiated by pollution from fossil fuels.
The writer is a Climate Tracker, Kampala Uganda.