N$475 billion needed to fight climate change, says Shifeta

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Windhoek

Namibia would need US$33 billion (N$475 billion) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent by 2030, says the environment and tourism minister.

Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta gave this astronomical figure, based on the country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). INDCs are international agreements intended to put the world on a path towards a low-carbon, climate resilient future. Shifeta, who is in Paris attending a global summit on climate change, shared his views on Tuesday with New Era.

“The financial implications are indeed significant. If we take Namibia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – which is a guiding document on what actions we are planning to take under the UNFCCC – then it becomes clear,” Shifeta said.

UNFCCC is the acronym for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) of the Parties (COP21) being held in Paris, France.

“The INDC estimates that around US$33 billion would be required for Namibia to achieve our target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent by 2030… This is obviously a big investment, which needs to be mobilised from a range of sources. The UNFCCC contains provisions requiring developed countries to support this type of investment in developing countries and we are busy trying to mobilise this through the vehicle of the UNFCCC and various bilateral and multilateral channels,” he explained.

Namibia also has an Environmental Investment Fund that provides loans and grants for green technologies and community-based environmental projects. Solar electricity generation has massive potential to resolve Namibia’s power woes and more investments are planned in solar generation. Solar generation clearly holds a lot of potential and is increasingly contributing to electricity generation locally. “You only need to look around Windhoek these days to see the many companies and private homes are making use of solar panels for their electricity needs,” Shifeta noted. “The solar energy market is highly dynamic and competitive and we are now seeing dramatic reductions in the cost of solar energy. This bodes well for the future of the industry and its potential in Namibia,” contended the environment minister.

Regarding the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Shifeta explained that it promotes a paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to enable them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A significant portion of the Copenhagen commitment of US$100 billion per year by 2020 is expected to flow through the GCF. Shifeta said more investments would be made in green energy, with the African Development Bank pledging to triple its climate finance to US$5 billion a year by 2020.

In a related development, Shifeta said the investment in the planned Innosun 150-megawatt wind plant can provide around a fifth of Namibia’s electricity demand: “This would be a significant contribution to addressing our power deficit and I am confident that renewable energy sources can play a major role over the short- and long-term.”

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