Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem preservation (GIFSEP), and 25 other environment based non governmental organizations across Africa have called on the African Development Bank (AFDB) to stop financing coal fired power plants projects in Nigeria.
Speaking while addressing a press conference in Abuja, the group described as strange that in this era of renewable and clean energy, the Bank is pushing for energy from coal with its attendant negative environmental impact.
The group instead advocated for more funding for renewable energy.
Coordinator of GIFSEP, David Ter Michael disclosed during a press conference that the groups had written a letter to ADB, demanding the phasing out of finance for coal powered plants projects in Nigeria and other African countries.
In a letter dated May 25, addressed to ADB, Abidjan Còte d’Ivoire, GIFSEP and the other groups observed that in line with the bank’s “light up Africa vision”, the goal of ADB’s energy strategy is to help the continent achieve universal access to modern energy by 2025, including through harnessing Africa’s abundant renewable energy resources.
In view of this, the environmentalists wondered and raised the question as to why the ADB is now funding outdated energy sources such as coal.
“Burning coal significantly raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, along with numerous other toxic pollutants, it contradicts many of the African countries’ nationally determined contributions which pursue low-carbon development pathways, and defeats the uncompromising 1.5 degrees celsius tempremature goal asked for by African countries under the Paris Climate Agreement” the groups stated.
“The proposed power plants will affect the quality of both soil and water, coal mining affect the quality of both soil and water, consequently dimminishing the livelihood of the local people, as well as the area of arable land available” the environmentalists posited.
Therefore, the NGOs has called on the ADB to increase funding to renewable energy projects at multiple scales to enable Africa to switch to sustainable forms of energy instead of relying on conventional fuels that cause irreversible harm to both people and the planet.
Speaking further, David Michael expressed concern that they want to go back to the past, using coal when countries are shutting up the coal powered plants for solar energy.
He noted that energy poverty is real, stressing that, “Fossil fuels generated energy is not a solution for the issue”.
“We need to unite and stand in solidarity for a clean energy future. We must break free from fossil fuels.
David Michael expressed concern that the government is now looking to the side of another dirty energy -coal.
He submitted that mining, transportation and disposal of coal has the most environment impact than any other energy source.
In addition, he said that coal mining gravely impact people’s health, with the elderly, mothers and children being the most vulnerable.
“We are expressing our deep concern regarding the decision of the African Development Bank to finance coal power projects in Senegal, Nigeria and Kenya, and request that you revise this decision before it is too late”.
The group noted that since coal and other fossil fuels were the energy sources of yesterday, they would not help Africa leapfrog into the 21st century, and will cause irreparable harm.
Mr David stated that around the world, governments of developing countries are switching from coal to cleaner, more efficient and sustainable energy solutions to control pollution and slow down climate change.
Therefore, he urged Nigeria and other African countries to push forward and lead the rest of the world in stopping coal mining and power generation.
On his part, Charles Opaluwa from Okobo Ogone, a coal mining community in Kogi State who also buttressed the negative impact of coal mining, said that the impact has negatively affected the activities of the people in the community.
He stress the need to embrace the global best practice in developed countries which according to him is cleaner, efficient as well as aid sustainable energy solutions to control pollution and slow down climate change.