It is not uncommon data that Africa contributes the least to local weather change but suffers essentially the most from the lip service the world is paying to environmental points. From extended droughts to heavy rainfall characterised by floods to lethal cyclones that begun hitting Africa extra not too long ago – Africa continues to endure the wrath of mom nature and it doesn’t assist that the continent is ravaged by poverty a lot in order that when these calamities go away a devastating scene in its wake. There’s now sufficient proof and analysis to show that the coal trade is the only most accountable trade for world warming leading to local weather change. Extra not too long ago 11 scientists warned that planet Earth is dealing with a local weather emergency. By no means thoughts that this warning is coming 4 years after the world got here collectively in France and signed the Paris accord to maintain the worldwide temperature rise under 2 levels Celsius above pre-industrial ranges and to pursue efforts to restrict the temperature enhance even additional to 1.5 levels Celsius. Africa and Kenya for that matter don’t should observe the trail developed nations took over 130 years in the past to energy their economies by means of coal vegetation. We already leapfrogged the telecommunications trade with cellphones with out having to take a position an excessive amount of in landline cables. We did the identical with banks – Safaricom’s M=Pesa was the primary cell banking know-how that allowed monetary inclusion for the unbanked largely rural people.
Cellular banking has since disrupted the banking sector a lot that banks are usually not eager on constructing new bodily branches anymore. To not point out that each severe bank in Kenya now permits clients to transact through cell cash companies.
There are sufficient examples that present we are able to leapfrog over-reliance on coal vegetation as a supply of power if we dare to suppose in a different way and to do that, we want the political buy-in. It’s the one motive we’re seeing spectacular transition in Europe particularly the place governments are taking it upon themselves to transition to renewable power.
To that finish, international locations that developed on the again of the coal trade at the moment are shutting these coal vegetation. Germany is on its technique to shutting down at the least 38 coal energy vegetation within the subsequent twenty years. Britain plans on shutting down all of its coal energy vegetation by 2025.
Sweden simply shuttered it’s final remaining coal plant two years forward of their goal becoming a member of the ranks of Belgium and Austria – the latter shutting its final coal plant in April this 12 months and transitioning to 100 % renewable power. Even China and India which have been on the receiving finish for being the world’s greatest polluters have begun spectacular renewable power packages. And regardless of President Trump’s administration’s assist for the coal trade in the US the very fact is coal energy vegetation are closing quick. Understandably, there are individuals in majority African governments who really feel that these international locations which can be transitioning to renewable power developed utilizing coal energy vegetation and that point is ripe for African nations together with Kenya to make use of coal vegetation as a “cheaper” method of powering the continent.
Both out of ignorance or malice those that are eager to construct new coal vegetation on the continent argue that if it’s going to take Germany twenty years to close down their coal vegetation we’d as nicely put up our personal and run it for 20years then shut it after they do.
This faculty of pondering can also be backed by that argument that we hurt the earth the least anyway, so why not construct our economies on coal?
Firstly, this reasoning ignores the truth that whether or not we’re the least producers of greenhouse gases (GHG), we’re struggling closely for it when it comes to excessive climate circumstances.
Secondly, these having this type of pondering overlook that Africa and certainly Kenya has nearly all of its inhabitants dwelling in poverty and subsequently endure extra in comparison with individuals in richer nations dealing with related and even worse climate circumstances. By no means thoughts that the mantra that coal is affordable has been debunked already however I digress. Individuals in authorities with this type of pondering undermine our potential to leapfrog.
As a substitute of calling communities that need sustainable growth anti-development, they need to push developed international locations which can be nonetheless utilizing coal energy vegetation to contemplate investing in renewable power tasks that may assist mitigate local weather change and defend our poor communities from the distressing impacts of local weather change.
Abiud Onyach Pure Justice Communications Officer, through electronic mail.