The Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, says there is “no excuse” not to embrace renewable energy, underlining the Botswana’s new enthusiasm for the sector.
Addressing members of the press Monday at the Ministry’s headquarters, Minister Khama said there was no excuse for not adopting renewable energy. “We should move to green energy, especially solar energy. There is no need for excuses that after sun sets solar does not work because there are storages for usage when there is no sun,” said Minister Khama.
He also said they recently discovered that coal fired power stations contribute about 50 per cent of Green House Gas emissions into the atmosphere.
Mining operations like drilling, blasting, hauling, collection, and transportation are the major sources of emissions and air pollution. Coal left in the ground can catch fire, and mine fires are difficult to control, with some burning for decades or even centuries, creating a major source of air pollution. Dust and coal particles stirred up during the mining process, as well as soot released during coal transport, contributes to emissions and respiratory problems.
Minister Khama pointed out that 1000 Megawatts coal powered emission equals 1.5 million cars.
“So if Morupule B was fully operational its emissions would be the same as all cars in the country,” he said.
Information from a scientific website, SourceWatch indicates that a Scientist, James Hansen; who reported to the U.S. Congress that climate change was underway in 1988, has been particularly critical of the coal industry, stating that coal contributes the largest percentage of anthropogenic carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. He acknowledges that a molecule of carbon dioxide emitted from burning coal has the same effect as a molecule emitted from burning oil, but that the difference is where the fuel originally resides. He says that most oil comes from Russia and Saudi Arabia, and that no matter how fuel-efficient automobiles become, the oil will eventually be burned and the carbon dioxide emitted.
In a 2007 testimony before the Iowa Utilities Board, he stated that the United States has a large reservoir of coal, which makes it a resource that can be controlled through action by U.S. politicians, unlike oil which is controlled by other countries. He and other climate scientists have called for coal phase out completely by the year 2030.