File picture: Julian Stratenschulte

Johannesburg - The African Renewable Energy Initiative on Wednesday unveiled an ambitious plan to roll out clean energy across the continent, Greenpeace said.

The announcement, made at the Paris climate summit, included a commitment to install 10 gigawatts of new renewable capacity by 2020, and a potential 300GW by 2030.

“Today I am proud of my continent,” said Kumi Naidoo, the South African Greenpeace International executive director

“It has often been said that the nations of Africa do not have the same historic responsibility to act because they've done so little to cause the problem. But today, they came forward and demonstrated remarkable vision.”

Naidoo said the major chunk of 300GW of renewable energy by 2030 needs to come through solar and wind installation, as opposed to big dams.

It was also reported by the Climate Action Tracker that if all global coal plants currently in planning are actually built, the world will not be able to limit climate change to two degrees Celsius.

The Chinese government had to shut down parts of its industry due to air pollution earlier this week. Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace sent out a strong message to the coal industry.

“Build these plants and you're burning money because they'll soon have to shut down anyway,” said Kaiser.

“We simply can't power our world with coal for decades to come.” He said if it continued, temperature rises could well hit the dangerous zone and that coal wasn't only a threat to the climate, but also poisoned the air as seen in China this week.