Sunday, September 27, 2020

New energy projects may get Botswana into trouble

As Botswana welcomes new projects like the proposed mega size Mmamabula coal-fired energy project, the country might find itself in the ‘wrong’ side of emission, it has been warned.

Sitting on large quantities of coal reserves, Botswana has invited energy investors to undertake such projects that in future will export power to the region.

Officials of the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism told a post Copenhagen climate change conference media briefing that Botswana’s forests will save the country.

“Botswana can use its forests to buy space that projects like Mmamabula will emit,” said David Lesolle, National Climate Project Coordinator at the ministry.

“As Mmamabula and other projects come, we might find ourselves on the wrong side of emission; that is why we should continue planting trees,” added minister Kitso Mokaila.

Botswana plants around 100, 000 trees to protect the environment every year, in a bid to fight deforestation.
However, Mmamabula Energy Project is expected to be the first in Africa with flue gas desulphurisation and it is being designed to meet the Equator Principles.

The Equator Principles are guidelines based on environmental and social standards of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group.

It is said that currently Botswana still does not have commitments to reduce emission under the Kyoto Protocol.

The ministry officials revealed that they are coming up with a strategy that will make the economy more sustainable.
Mokaila, however, pledged that it will use coal resources wisely and benefit from technology transfer pledged by the first world.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.