The Perry Episode
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will commence in Bonn, Germany on November 6th 2017 and will last until the 17th.
This meeting of world leaders and leaders in business seeks to continue in its resolve to (at the very least) remind its members about their commitments to take action that will reduce, prevent, and manage the effects of excessive CO2 gases in the earth's atmosphere.
However, Secretary Perry felt this was the best time to launch his misplaced campaign for fossil fuels, and decided to involve something that is very dear to me in the process.
Now, the funny thing about this is that I normally wouldn't have written anything about this man's absurd comments if he hadn't mentioned "Africa" in his twisted logic.
But in order to let you know why I didn't find it all that funny, here is what he said: And here is a video of him saying it:
"It is gonna take fossil fuels to push power out into those villages in Africa, where a young girl told me to my face...[blah blah blah]....when you have light, it shines the righteousness, if you will, on those acts [the acts of sexual assault.] "
Hold On! Rapists Can Be Repelled By Fossil Fuels???Well, that is amazing!
So, I really want to talk about why COP23 matters to us in Digital Africa, but let me just quickly unpack this man's depressingly disappointing argument for one moment:
1) Let us even assume that light (produced through electricity) can actually save this "mystery" girl from sexual assault. You know, let's assume that sexual assault cannot happen at noon in any part of the world.....Did she specify that she needs fossil fuel powered light, specifically, to save her?
2) If SHE did not say it was going to take fossil fuels per-se to protect her, but Mr Perry thinks this is the right solution, then how did Mr Perry arrive at this messianic ability of fossil fuels?
I'm curious. Is it possible that Mr Perry could simply be using this young lady's fear to conjure up an illogical argument for justifying fossil fuels a week before COP23?
3) Which is more likely to penetrate African villages today? Is it fossil fuels OR solar energy? Ask Akon.
Please, can somebody tell me this man was joking?
Because if he is serious, then these folks weren't drinking the same schnapps he was.
You know? I actually find it a bit odd that he choses to repeatedly use the term "fossil fuels" to classify them.
Considering the circumstances, I would imagine it is probably wiser to say, "power from natural gas or coal". I dunno.
Anyway, back to the more important matter that should be trending at this time:
Why Africa needs to pay attention to COP23.
But quickly, a background.
What is COP23?
The 23rd Conference Of the Parties - a meeting that involves all of the member nations (or parties) that form the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Their purpose is to collectively and individually tackle human-influenced global warming. It is important to note that in the opinion of the parties, a historic milestone was achieved in the 2015 edition - COP 21; the much talked about Paris Agreement.
What Happened At The Paris Agreement?Although it is widely regarded as a historic success, COP21 features commitments and promises to reduce carbon output and limit global warming to lower than 2%.
It should interest many of you reading this that a lot of the recent announcements by some countries to ban the sale of gasoline-engined cars, while at the same time investing heavily in a cleaner electric grid, can be traced back to their need to honour these commitments.
What Is Happening Now?
A significant event that was initially expected to have a mostly adverse effect on the COP21 resolutions was US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the agreement.
However, something else seems to be happening as a result. This.
In fact, some would argue that Trump's decision is only going to make governors, mayors and corporate leaders in the country more resolved and more fired up to do what they believe is the right thing.
The Renewables Revolution Is Still In Full SwingRegardless of what Secretary Perry says, the world is embracing this change, and therefore, everyone of us members of Digital Africa must be alert to this.
Rick Perry's voice is certainly not loud enough to affect this global tide. Therefore, it will not likely be fossil fuels, as he thinks, that will "rescue" African girls from "sexual offences". (tongue-in-cheek btw)
On a more serious note, the evidence is strongly piled up on the side of solar energy and storage (google the hashtag #StoredSun) having greater penetration in rural areas in Africa.
But I am, however, going to warn that solar may not easily or quickly overcome the role of fossil fuels in African cities and larger towns that are served by an electricity grid.
We should understand that the revolution in Africa will start outwards and slowly extend inwardly.
Take Away For Digital Africa?I keep saying, "Be informed. Stay in the know. pay attention."
Knowing what the leaders of the world are up to is never a waste of your time. Neither is knowing how your leaders in Africa are responding to these policies and changes.
Digital Africa is, among other things, a community of Africans who are future oriented. We do not want to be left behind. We want to know what direction the world is headed.
So if you have been following the stories from the UNFCCC since COP21, you would know that the major climate policy topic that was found to be the most important to African leaders, was that of "Capacity Building".
Therefore, as many of you that have been listening to my advise; either here on this blog, or in real life, my tip for you (for now) is to tune in to the COP23 Youtube channel.
Also consider doing google searches like, "COP22 Capacity Building in Africa" or "COP22 Capacity Building in Nigeria".
Also consider taking a look at my previous article about Climate Change.
Always learn to variate your keywords when using Google. Reading one document is never really enough to get the full gist of a topic/idea. Always try to converge information on that topic from several different sources.
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