Dr. Destenie Nock
Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University

The spotlight is on Africa at COP27, the UN climate change conference taking place in Egypt.

This year, climate-induced disasters have ravaged the continent. Cyclones and flooding in the south, and a four-year drought in the east have crippled food supplies, increased human suffering, and hurt economic growth. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of Africans still live in energy poverty. With pressure from developed nations to cut emissions at global climate talks, African leaders are hoping to secure billions of dollars to invest in the transition away from fossil fuels and build new energy infrastructure. 

But securing financing to build renewable energy projects isn't enough. For the first time in its history, the COP agenda includes “loss and damage” funds. These are reparations that industrialized countries would pay to developing countries which have suffered the most from climate change. 

What will it take to bring about meaningful energy transitions in Africa? And do the energy developments underway give us some insight on what’s possible?

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Dr. Destenie Nock. Destenie is an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University where she teaches civil and environmental engineering as well as engineering and public policy. She is also newly appointed to Columbia’s Visiting Faculty Program.

Destenie recently co-authored a report about energy poverty in Africa in the journal Nature titled “Africa needs context-relevant evidence to shape its clean energy future.”

Bill and Destenie spoke about her research, and the nuanced energy and climate needs of African nations. They discuss ‘loss and damage’ and the previously unfulfilled promises from wealthy countries to fund climate mitigation projects.