Experts in the area have underlined that, among other things, the following important issues have to be squarely addressed to reduce the impact of climate change on Africa:
· Reduced emission commitments have to be significant enough to guarantee a less than 2c increase
· Africa is seeking the allocation of reliable and adequate funding with an appropriate governance structure which gives Africans an equal say
· Existing CDM (Clear Development Mechanism) structures do not allow Africa to participate in mitigation programmes so we need to change the CDMs to ensure African participation
· Funds must be clearly earmarked for adaptation
· Provide funds for maintenance of existing forests, especially in central Africa
· Appropriate financial compensation for maintenance and opportunity costs undergone by the countries for not using their resources
· Support forestation programmes to check deforestation in Africa
· Clear support for Africa in its endeavour to develop alternative energy sources with a low carbon footprint – hydro, geothermal etc
· Climate change impacts on agricultural production. In order to cope with this challenge, Africa needs drought-resistant seeds, irrigation infrastructure and health infrastructure to stand up against malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases which could manifest themselves in areas negatively affected by climate change
· Education sector support – to offer education and training opportunities for other livelihoods instead of agriculture and farming
“The Copenhagen summit is an opportunity for Africa to secure benefits from stepped-up action on climate change, action that would contribute to both poverty eradication and sustainable development.” Seyoum Mesfin, Foreign Minister, Ethiopia, Nov 2009
For further information please contact the Ethiopian Embassy press office on +44 (0)7 838 3880, mob (0) 7717 603163
ETHIOPIA - ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Africa is often wrongly perceived as sitting on its hands, waiting for the West to act.
But Ethiopians are working hard to mitigate the effects of climate change, even though they have not been responsible for causing the damage and, in common with other African countries, are suffering more severely from the consequences.
In Ethiopia :
Ethiopians have engaged in wide-spread re-forestation for nearly two decades. Over 1.5 billion trees have been planted in the past two years alone thanks in part to a planting campaign initiated in Ethiopia’s Millennial year – called “Two Trees for 2000”. People were asked to plant two trees in 2000, some planted three or more. Forest coverage has risen to 15% (previously 3%). Re-forestation reduces soil erosion and flooding.
Many other ground-level initiatives are being taken. One such initiative is the “Hold back the Sahara” campaign in northern Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government asked Ethiopians to dedicate 30 days a year to projects that would contribute to climate change mitigation. People in northern Ethiopia chose to go further and offer 40 days a year. They have planted trees, erected terracing on hills (to prevent water run-off and retain the soil), dug wells, set up water harvesting and irrigation projects in addition to building infrastructure such as roads. Their work is duplicated throughout Ethiopia.
“Ethiopia has the potential to generate 60,000 megawatts of renewable energy of which 10,000 can be generated from wind and 2,000 megawatts from geothermal sources. Ethiopia is first among African countries in terms of having renewable energy potential which is environmentally friendly.” PM Meles Zenawi at a Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change meeting, Addis Ababa, 21st Nov 2009
Ethiopia is ahead of the game on green energy :
Ethiopia and DRC have the capacity to electrify the entire African continent through hydro-power. Ethiopia has nine trans-boundary rivers, including the Nile so, contrary to common belief, there is no shortage of water in Ethiopia.
During the last 10 years, three hydro electricity power projects have been completed :
· the Tis Abay II, which produces 80MW
· Fincha IV, which produces 34MW and
· Gilgel Gibe I which produces 184 MW
Other hydro-power projects, completed in 2009, are :
· Tekeze, 300MW, Africa’s tallest dam at 185-metres high, the largest public works project in Ethiopia’s history
· Gilgel-Gibe II, 420MW, constructed by Salini Costruttori, engineering and management by Coyne et Bellier, to be inaugurated in January 2010
· Tana Beles, 460MW, taps water from Lake Tana and conveys it to an underground plant with four pelton units with an estimated annual capacity of 2,051GWh per annum. Salini Costruttori, with pelton turbines furnished by VA Tech Hydro (now Andritz Hydro)
They will join the already existing Tis Issat hydro-station. By mid 2010, the above, along with other power sources such as wind power, will generate 2,218 MW. The total generation capacity of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) will increase by 140% which will revolutionize Ethiopia’s power sector.
EEPCO expects to begin exportation of surplus power to neighbouring countries including Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya in 2010. Construction of the interconnection infrastructure between Ethiopia and Sudan and Ethiopia and Djibouti is underway.
In addition the following are under construction :
· Gilgel-Gibe III, 1870MW, total investment cost 1.47B Euros, 240m high RCC dam, constructed by Salini Costruttori
· Fincha Amerti Neshe, 100MW, earth-fill diversion dam and tunnel to a 100MW pelton plant, engineering management by MWH, and construction by CGGC of China
Ethiopia will develop additional new plants – a total of ten - over the next decade at a cost of US$10 billion, with a combined capacity of 15,000 MW, in partnership with financiers, contractors, investors, and independent developers. Projects include :
· Halele Worabesa, a 440MW hydroelectric project
· Chemoga Yeda, a 278MW hydroelectric project and
· Ashegoda Wind Farm, 30MW (see below)
At 185 metres, the recently opened Tekeze dam is the tallest hydroelectric dam in Africa. Its $356 million cost was fully covered by the Ethiopian government. Ethiopia’s topography consists mainly of a high mountainous landscape which provides vast hydroelectric potential - up to an estimated 40,000MW. More investors are sought.
This process would be enhanced by the provision of financial resources, of capacity building and through engaging Ethiopia and other African countries in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that is expected to be realised within the framework of the Copenhagen accord [an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allowing industrialised countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment to invest in projects that reduce emissions in developing countries].
The first African Geo-Thermal Conference took place in Addis Ababa in 2006. Massive geo-thermal capacity exists in Ethiopia and is ripe for exploitation by domestic and foreign investors. It is estimated that the country could generate 10,000MW from this source. The geothermal resource is largely untapped - so far only 7MW has been exploited around the Great Rift Valley, Aluto-Langano area. Here expansion work is being carried out and energy potential is estimated to be over 5,000MW. There are sites with 200MW capacity ready for private investment along the Rift Valley, says Mines and Energy Minister, Alemayehu Tegenu. The Ministry of Mines and Energy is to invite companies to attend an investment/donor conference on the development of Ethiopia’s geo-thermal resources, which will include a site visit to the Aluto-Langano geo-thermal field.
Bio-fuel potential is huge. Bio-fuels are grown only on land that will not support the growing of food crops and in areas with sufficient water. Biodiesel development is carried out in a manner which ensures sustainable environmental protection. Special consideration is given to conserving and improving soil, water and biodiversity resources. World-renowned ecologist, Dr Tewolde Gebreziabher, head of Ethiopia’s Environmental Protection Authority, oversees all new developments. Ethiopia has over 74 million hectares of cultivable land of which only 15 million is so far cultivated (mostly by small-scale farmers), 3 million hectares have been offered to foreign and domestic investors to grow food and bio-fuel crops.
Ethiopia has the potential to produce over 10,000 megawatts of electric power from wind. One of the largest wind power stations in Africa is being built at Ashegoba in Tigray by the French Vergnet Group. The station is designed to be adaptable to all environments, including those not usually suited to wind power generation and is expected to be online and reaching its maximum 120MW output by 2011. More wind-power stations are on the way in Tigray but also in Oromia in partnerships between Ethiopia’s Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) and companies from Egypt and China. EEPCo has signed a preliminary agreement with the Hydrochina Company for the construction of two wind farms - which will produce a total of 100 megawatts of electric power - to be reserved for emergency power shortages in Adama town (formerly Nazreth) in Oromia and Mesebo Harena in Tigray. The EEPCo has also signed an accord with Egyptian company Elsewedy Cables, funded by the Islamic Development Bank. The company is also seeking funds to install a generator that can produce 120 megawatts of electric power for an emergency power supply in Addis Ababa. The Chinese company will seek funds from the government of China for construction of a wind power project in Mesobo Harena area which will be able to produce 49 megawatts of electric power.
With innovative solar light systems children in many villages can now study in the evenings safely and at tiny cost compared to the previously used kerosene lamps. One instance is Solar Energy Foundation Ethiopia, which won a (UK) Ashden Eco Award this year (2009), pioneering rented small photovoltaic (PV) solar-home-systems in 1,100 homes. The scheme was successfully trialed to replace kerosene lighting and dry cell batteries in Rema village and beyond. The homes have electricity for the first time thanks to 2,000 new solar home systems costing families just 75 pence a month. The company has now supplied a further 1,000 systems to outlying areas, benefiting over 10,000 villagers and has established a centre providing training for solar technicians - young people now have the chance to train as solar technicians in an International Solar School. Graduates of the scheme have opened four Solar Centres in other areas of Ethiopia with a further 8,500 solar home systems due to be installed by the end of the year (2009).
There are a growing number of solar-powered enterprises. An example is the under-floor heating at the three-year-old Simien Eco Lodge in the Simien National Park, the highest hotel in Africa. In addition, private companies have started manufacturing solar panels which helps expand their availability. The government has introduced incentive packages to encourage small and medium sized companies to participate in this sector.
There is government distribution of energy-saving light bulbs. All the above are renewable and carbon neutral
Overall Ethiopia will spend $12 billion over 25 years improving its power supply.
Interview with PM Meles, January 2009
Does the Ethiopian Government have a systematic and comprehensive climate change strategy at this time?
The thing is, adapting to climate change means having the necessary technology and resources to survive and, if possible thrive, in spite of changes in the climate. Now, the poor do not have the necessary technology; they do not have the necessary resources, in terms of money and so on, to be able to change and adapt. So, in my view, adaptation means fighting poverty and, fighting poverty quickly and effectively. The sooner you did that, the more resources you would have to adapt to climate change.
Whichever study is made about Ethiopian agriculture will have to admit that Ethiopian agriculture has been growing at a double-digit rate for the past five years. That is unheard of in Ethiopian history. And that, clearly, dramatically improves our capacity to adapt to climate change. And the study also shows that we are not, by any imagination, out of the woods yet, in terms of adaptation, especially in the pastoralist areas and in the drought prone areas, where there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. So, we have to balance both facts.
As far as strategies are concerned, we have very clear strategies of adapting to climate change. Our development strategy itself is one of green development. Our agricultural development strategy, as many of you know, is based on rehabilitation of the environment, and protection of our agricultural resource base has been at the centre of our development strategy. As many of you know, we have been one of the early promoters of bio-fuel to replace petroleum products. I am sure many of you understand we have been investing a lot in the generation of electricity from renewable resources, hydropower. We have recently agreed with a French company to harness our wind resources, we have put in place a pilot project to generate electricity from geothermal resources and so on. So, we believe, we have done quite a bit in terms of, on the one hand, accelerating growth so that we can adapt better, and on the other hand, making sure that this growth is, as they say, ‘green growth’, that is broadly carbon neutral.