Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin in ACW:
Just Energy Transition Requires Practical Framework That Integrates Global and Local Efforts

Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan Set Coherent Action Paths to Implement Just Energy Transition

Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, said that implementing just energy transition requires developing a practical framework that integrates international initiatives and action programs, with priorities and working conditions in local communities.

Mohieldin, during his participation in the “Just Energy Transition Collaboration (JET-Co)” session within the events of Africa Climate Week that takes place in Nairobi, Kenya, emphasized that implementing just energy transition is carried out through three levels, the international, regional and local levels, stressing the need for coordination and integration of efforts exerted at the three levels in this regard.

In this context, he confirmed the importance of the holistic approach that unites the efforts of all actors at the international, regional and local levels to finance and implement climate projects in general, and energy projects in particular, explaining that good implementation of climate action at the international level must be linked to good implementation at the regional and local levels.

“Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan discussed just energy transition and created coherent paths relate to energy sources, the socioeconomic impact of the transformation process, as well as its impact on the labor market and other dimensions, stressing that implementing energy projects must take into account their impact on societies and how much they contribute to achieving climate, environment and development goals.

He pointed out the importance of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), which focuses on investing in renewables and enhancing the Public – Private Partnership (PPP) to finance and implement energy projects.

Mohieldin explained that achieving the 1.5C goal requires actual implementation of energy transition, which in turn requires significant work on the level of finance, technology, capacity building, improving infrastructure and investment in human capital.

He said that some energy projects, such as green hydrogen projects, require regional cooperation, praising in this context regional cooperation between a number of African countries to implement green hydrogen projects, but he explained that these projects face an additional challenge related to stability of demand from potential external markets, especially the European market.

The climate champion stated that natural gas is a transitional source of energy that can be relied on in the phase of transformation to provide energy until the completion of implementing renewable energy projects and making the maximum benefit from them.

In the same context, Mohieldin said that Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance (AGHA), which includes Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Kenya, Namibia and South Africa, is leading the work well to achieve African leadership in the field of green hydrogen, adding that the green hydrogen projects are expected to create about 4.2 million jobs and contribute to the GDP growth of the six countries by between 6% and 12% until 2050.

He stated, during his participation in a session entitled “Realizing Africa’s Green Hydrogen Potential Through Government Leadership”, that the African green hydrogen projects are facing some challenges, including the cost of producing energy from green hydrogen, enhancing competitiveness, applying the latest technology in this field, improving infrastructure and supporting the supply chain, in addition to the need of these projects for financing, which requires mixing public, private, domestic and external sources of finance, while working to mitigate risks of financing and investment in these projects.

He explained that the world spends more than six trillion dollars a year on fossil fuel, while development and climate action needs $5.3 trillion, which means that money spent on “dirty energy” sources fully covers the cost of development and climate action.

During his participation in a session on financing adaptation and resilience in Africa, Mohieldin demonstrated that only 15% to 25% of the financing provided by IFIs and MDBs for climate action goes to adaptation activities, which must be changed.

Mohieldin said that the finance provided by IFIs and MDBs for adaptation activities in developing countries in general, and African countries in particular, should be concessional financing with a low interest rate and long-term repayment and grace periods, stressing the necessity of making concessional financing available to middle-income countries along with low-income countries.

The climate champion stressed the need for NDCs of African countries to reflect their real priorities for climate action, in which adaptation to climate change is at the forefront.

He highlighted the Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda that has been launched during COP27 as a practical mechanism to implement adaptation activities through five main work areas: food and agriculture, water and nature, coasts and oceans, human settlements, and infrastructure.