By Chimwemwe Njoloma
As the world is in a race to limit climate change effects, government says coal-fired power remains the solution to ending blackouts in the country.
This comes although the Conference of the Parties (COP) summit in Madrid continues pushing hard on developed countries to phase out coal burning for power generation by 2030.
Nearly 200 countries that signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 are expected to boost their emissions-reduction ambitions by at least threefold to meet the targets adopted in the agreement.
In an interview with Mana at the climate negotiations in Madrid, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Binton Kutsaira, said the Paris Agreement goal of staying well below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 needs to be applied on developed countries that emit larger amounts and not on developing countries which their emissions are not even counted.
He said Malawi is among the least developing countries that their contributions to carbon emissions are very minimal, yet hugely suffering the effects of climate change that have been contributed by the developed countries.
“As it stands, Malawi needs coal-fired power plants to end blackouts and we will make everything possible that we get there since our reliance on hydro power has failed us,” said Kutsaira.
He said developed countries are not willing to take out coal despite several calls made at the climate negotiations because they know that they cannot completely do without it and that it is the survival of their nations.
“Major contributions of carbon emissions have come from those actually that are saying no now. And as least developing countries, we also have a say on that and that is to insist using coal powered plants so that we revamp our economies,” he said.
He said other countries have sufficient power for everybody and that is what Malawi needs now.
The minister was however, quick to say that government is ready to do everything possible to work towards finding other sources of energy for Malawi as long as the world lives.
The phasing out of coal is still a big issue amongst climate negotiations because some 40 percent of the world’s energy generation still comes from coal, and generates massive amounts of greenhouse gases annually climate analysists say.
Developing nations, particularly Asian countries such as India, Vietnam and Bangladesh, have plans for new coal-fired power plants, and coal-producing nations like Australia and the United States are committed to providing it. While China has peaked its coal demand early, it still emits one-third of all global carbon emissions, largely as a result of burning coal,” Climate change records show.
In relation to this, Kutsaira said developed countries should be pinned down to make huge contributions towards adaptation but also should offer grants to least developed countries and not loans.
Just like Malawi, Prime Minister Angela Merkel told UN delegates in November this year that her country would likely not meet its Paris carbon emissions reduction goal of 40 percent by 2030 and is struggling with a broader transition to renewable power.
Noticeably, missing from the alliance is Germany, which had pledged in the Paris Agreement to phase out coal by 2030.
Likewise, attempts to find clear pathways by which developed nations will raise the tens of billions needed for vulnerable developing nations to deal with climate change is not yet known.