US envoy for climate visits Namibia

05 October 2021 | Environment

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK

A United States delegation focused on climate change and clean energy last week met with Namibian government officials and civil society to encourage a partnership on clean energy development and combating the climate crisis.

The delegation was led by the US president’s deputy special envoy for climate, Jonathan Pershing.

He reports to John Kerry, the first-ever special presidential envoy for climate and the first-ever principal dedicated to climate change to sit on the US National Security Council.

Discussions explored how the two countries can work together in anticipating and addressing climate impacts, building resilience, scaling up development of clean energy, and raising global climate ambition ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow this November.

“Bold action to tackle the climate crisis is more urgent than ever,” Pershing said.

“Transitioning to a net-zero economy is also the greatest economic opportunity of our lifetimes – it will speed our recovery, produce good jobs, and create entire new industries.

“The United States understands that we need to mobilise more finance and support for adaptation. We have pledged to double US climate support for developing countries by 2024, and triple adaptation finance.”

Solar solution

The delegation also spoke with Namibian officials about the recently launched Mega Solar initiative and ways to expand a strong partnership with the Namibian government on clean energy.

The Mega Solar partnership between the governments of Namibia and Botswana, Power Africa, the African Development Bank, the World Bank International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation, and African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) is expected to generate up to five gigawatts of solar power.

Mega Solar could transform Namibia and Botswana into two of the globe’s most significant producers of solar power, enough to begin exporting renewable energy to the southern Africa region and making a significant contribution to global efforts on climate change.

Political will

While in Namibia, the delegation also engaged directly with civil society representatives on raising ambition to tackle the climate crisis, including advancing clean energy development.

The delegation also included Mark Carrato, coordinator of Power Africa, which is the world’s largest partnership for development, with 170 public and private partners who have committed $56 billion to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Other delegation members were US government technical experts working on climate and clean energy policy and programmes.

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