Extremely poor nations, including those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, are being locked out of financing to develop renewable electricity resources essentially because they have no fossil fuels to burn, E&E News reports. Somalia is struggling to endure a catastrophic drought already killing people and livestock, displacing millions of people internally, and threatening to cause (official) famine levels of starvation. It is the second-poorest country on earth in terms of gross national income and just 30% of its citizens have access to electricity, which a new study published Wednesday in Nature is even more crucial for improving economic livelihoods than was previously estimated.
Contrary to South Africa and Indonesia, which have signed Just Energy Transition Partnership granting them access to roughly $30 billion in international financing to transition off fossil fuels, however, Somalia doesn’t have coal. “The question is,” Deputy Prime MInister Salah Ahmed Jama told E&E, “For a country that emits 0.00-something percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally, for a continent — Africa — that contributes only 4 percent of emissions and in which 600 million people have no access to electricity and hundreds of millions live in poverty, should there not be a special set of arrangements?”
Not only would international assistance help prevent “having this humanitarian crisis again and again,” Jama added, “Climate change should serve as the launchpad for these countries to move from a humanitarian context to development.” (E&E News; Electricity and poverty: The Hill; Climate Signals background: Drought)