Sunday , May 16 2021

Evaluating the risks of Africans opting for coal power, Ars Technica


    

      Coal out of Africa –

             

Africa’s current emissions are driven by transit, but coal could dominate.

      

      

Africa is an enormous continent, with countries at various stages of development. But if you take the continent as a whole, its carbon emissions have risen at about 3.3 percent a year, half the rate of China’s in the decade from to . That’s above the global rate for this period, and it’s well above that of the developed economies. Sub-Saharan Africa saw a rise similar to China’s, and a number of African countries — Angola, Congo, Mozambique, and Niger — saw emissions grow by 34 percent or more a year over this decade. This was only true for a single country outside the continent.

This growth came despite the fact that the energy intensity of economic activity dropped over this period. That was offset, however, by a rise in the emissions per unit of energy consumed.

In (******************************************, about half of Africa’s energy was supplied by biomass (nearly (percent in sub-Saharan Africa), which can be largely carbon neutral. Nearly half of its energy-related carbon emissions came from oil used primarily for transportation; about a third were from coal, and another 34 percent came from natural gas. In sub-Saharan Africa, the role of transportation is even more dramatic, with 90 percent of emissions coming from petroleum products, and a tiny eight percent produced by coal.

Nevertheless, coal was the largest driver of additional emissions over the prior decade, primarily driven by its expanded use in South Africa. Within sub-Saharan Africa, expanded oil use was the largest contributor.

The key question, however, is whether these trends will continue. In many developed economies, wind and solar power are now the cheapest sources of new generation, though it’s not clear whether the same is true in African countries at the moment. Many energy projects are also dependent on international aid or loans, and the policies of the organization providing that aid can also make a difference. Finally, given the typical lifespan of generating facilities, projects in the works now could commit countries to increased emissions for decades.

                     

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