Climate change will increasingly affect us all. The world exceeded the safe atmospheric CO2 concentration level of 350 ppm already three decades ago.
In 2015 the international community adopted the Paris Agreement to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and global warming.
However, this has not stopped governments supporting their companies in building even more infrastructure to explore, extract and burn oil and natural gas abroad. Export credit agencies (ECAs) play a key role in facilitating this support for fossil fuel development.
Via ECAs, which are public agencies, governments provide loans, credits, guarantees and/or insurances to enable private companies in their home countries to do business abroad.
NGOs and communities around the world have raised issues concerning human rights abuses and the environmental and climate impacts caused by ECA-supported projects.
A general lack of transparency by ECAs, however, makes it difficult for (potentially) affected communities to make their concerns heard. Mostly, communities are not even aware of the involvement of a foreign ECA in the mega projects that affect their livelihoods and environment.
Communities in the coastal regions of Ghana for example, where fossil fuel projects such as the Kpone Thermal Power Station II have impacted the residents of Kpone and as a result are becoming more vulnerable to climatic impacts. These communities have seen environmental losses, social impacts and economic losses.
The livelihoods of these communities have also seen a great decline as youth unemployment is on the surge, income losses due to loss of jobs and other associated risks. Communities in the Kpone municipality are sitting on a time bomb due to the influx of fossil fuel projects in the area.
Fisher folks in this area have lamented on the impacts of these projects on their livelihood. Challenges such as low fish catch, loss of fish species, lack of mini habour and landing sites, pipes laid in the seas among others are all problems fossil fuels have brought on them.
AbibiNsroma Foundation’s three demands for a Just Energy Transition:
1. Commitment to the Nationally Determined Contributions
Keeping global temperature rises below 1.5°C can only be achieved through countries delivering their fair share of reductions in national emissions. Government is urged to prioritize the NDCs and rally all her policies, programmes and medium term development plans to align with the NDCs.
2. Ensure that climate actions protect human rights and safe guard the environment
As Ghana reviews and implements its climate policies (NDCs and NAP) to shape industries, food systems and forests, these must work in conserving our natural environment, promote sustainability and empower communities to manage natural resources. At the same time the rights of coastal communities, particularly fisher folks and indigenous peoples must be protected. Livelihoods of communities must be supported.
3. Ensure proper audits for clean energy projects to safe guard the future of communities
Ensure value for money audits in all renewable energy contract negotiations and agreements, so that these will be in the interest of both the State and the communities that are directly impacted. Make sure that any communities that are likely to be affected by the renewable energy developments are guaranteed equal and comprehensive stakeholder participation in all stages of the renewable energy development projects.