Nathan Gachugi

Project Manaager, Viability Africa, LLC

This conversation is closed.

African sustainability and the continent's contribution to climate change adaptation

There is no doubt that Africa is on an economic rise. Whereas we as a people have not yet emancipated ourselves from the poverty so well illustrated in that famous portrait of a malnourished child, with a runny nose and a swarm of undisturbed houseflies on his face, we are at that point in our historical development to truly realize the fruits of an independence brutally fought for but poorly translated to its children.

The Climate Challenge adaptation agenda in Africa is not a question of doing the right thing for industries and middle income households, it is indeed a question of the very survival of the people who are faced by the realities an increasingly harsher environment.

60% of people in the developing world live in rural areas.Despite the rapid urbanization rates in the region, an analysis of the choice of domestic energy sources is indicative of a shift from traditional biomass fuel such as cow dung and firewood to kerosene and another fossil fuel dependent energy systems. This includes National or regional electricity grids where electricity generation from hydroelectric sources is less than the sum total of natural gas and oil sources.

What is the participation of these African households in the global effort against the climate change?

The typical rural household still depends on biomass and or kerosene for domestic energy. A basic analysis of major energy consuming activities includes cooking, boiling water and lighting where the average household emits 6.78 tonnes of CO2 annually.

In my country (Kenya) alone that translates to 42.85 million tonnes of CO2 emissions that could be avoided by introducing simple technologies like zero energy water filters, LED lamps and improved cook stoves. Not only do point of use solutions like these save lives and improve the environment the present a new perspective on the real economic opportunities avaliable in Sub Saharan Africa.

Africa is now open for business - Green Sustainable Business!

  • thumb
    Jan 10 2012: Africa also has one of the great geo thermal hot spots , it should be possible to establish geo thermal power plants, as well as wind solar tidal and yes nuclear plants to transform the region into an economic industrialized nation using clean power where the first world poisoned its prosperity by depending on fossil fuels. Africa can take thew lead in showing us the right way to do things, soil water air wildlife food power economy and most of all the vital steps toward global unity. I hope that Africa can create a new paradigm for politics and culture that we can all learn from.
  • thumb
    Jan 10 2012: Russel,

    Very true. Kenya for example has the potential to generate 7,000 - 10,000MWe of electricty and to this date has 198 MWe developed and all within the same geographical location. This despite a feed in tarrif of 8.5 cents per KWh and government plans to scale up to 50% of the entire electricity generation mix sourced from Geothermal power.

    All around Africa is waking up to the full potential of RE solutions. Wind, large hydro even solar PV sites are sprouting every where and while we have not seen much development on the front of tidal power we are seeing many new prospects
    ( see http://www.bellona.org/weblog/1298385449.63).

    What we can only hope is that the current state of political stability reigns in Africa long enough for us to see the fruition of this ambition.