By Saleem Shaikh

LIMA, Peru: One week before UN climate talks conclude here, Friends of the Earth International activists urged the participating 195 nations to start building clean, sustainable, community-based energy solutions.

“We urgently need to decrease our energy consumption and push for a just transition to community-controlled renewable energy if we are to avoid devastating climate change. We must stop subsidising fossil fuels and put this money towards community-based energy solutions,” said Susann Scherbarth, climate justice and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe.

Community-owned renewable energy solutions bring wide ranging benefits, including reduced CO2 emissions, reduced energy consumption, increased public acceptance for renewables, stronger communities, and green jobs.

A proposal presented by African nations earlier in the year calls for an energy transformation and was welcomed by climate justice activists including Friends of the Earth International.

“Africa as a continent contributed the least to the climate crisis. Now Africans are pointing to the real solutions to stop global warming and for environmental justice,” said Godwin Ojo, executive director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

“We urgently need a transition to clean energy in developing countries and one of the best incentives is globally funded feed-in tariffs for renewable energy, he added.

Today, the What Next Forum, Sweden and Centre for Science and Environment, India launch their report on a ‘Global Renewable Energy Support Programme’ which shows how globally fund feed-in tariffs can promote community energy.

“Solutions to the climate and energy crisis exist. Among the most innovative ones is a mechanism to deliver international climate finance to Southern communities through feed-in tariffs. These are subsidies that cover the difference between actual costs and affordable, clean energy for people. It is a way to promote decentralised, community controlled energy and is the most effective and visionary approach to tackling the urgent need for transformation to renewable energy”, said Niclas Hällström of What Next.

Our current energy system – the way we produce, distribute and consume energy – is unsustainable, unjust and harming communities, workers, the environment and the climate. This is fundamentally an issue of corporate and elite power and interests outweighing the power of ordinary citizens and communities.

“We believe it is possible and indeed crucial to transform our energy system to one which ensures access for everyone to sufficient energy to meet their basic needs for well-being and lives with dignity,” said Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy Coordinator of Friends of the Earth International.

“We need an energy system which supports a safe climate, clean air and water, biodiversity protection, and healthy, thriving local societies that provide safe, decent and secure jobs and livelihoods,” she added.

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