Greenpeace protests gas pipeline construction

Greenpeace protests gas pipeline construction

Kenya has recently been praised for its reliance on renewables, and many countries have looked to emulate the same. However, the recent announcement that the government had committed to constructing a natural gas pipeline from Tanzania’s main city, Dar es Salaam, to Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa and later to the capital, Nairobi, has elicited opposition.

Claire Nasike from Greenpeace argues that the country will return to its reliance on renewable energies. With gas being a fossil fuel, investing in it will lead to pollution that will continue to contribute to the climate crisis in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. “The pipeline will only negate all Kenya has done and committed to with renewables,” she said. “It will put the livelihoods of millions at risk, affect biodiversity, and have severe impacts on local communities land rights,” she added.

Kenya is already a leader in developing future energy systems in Africa, with more than 80% of its electricity coming from renewable energy sources. Allocating resources needed for Kenya to leapfrog to 100% renewable energy sources by 2030 will undermine Kenya’s current leadership on the African continent. By investing in the pipeline, Kenya risks increasing its debt as it looks to finance the projects. Additionally, other African economies looking to follow will only accelerate the climate crisis.

Claire Nasike has appealed to President Ruto to change stance on the pipeline, as Kenyans require consistency in a full transition to renewable energy. “Our president has highlighted strong arguments on why Africa’s governments must seize the opportunity to tackle climate injustice, press ahead with renewable energy solutions, and desist from pushing for more fossil fuels. This is what we would want to see,” she said. 

East Africa has some of the best renewable energy resources in the world, and these resources should be maximized as governments shift away from fossil fuels in a people-centered just transition. Renewable energy has a crucial role in achieving universal energy access for all. Decentralized renewable energy systems offer a faster, more affordable way to expand energy access and promote climate resilience. President Ruto can galvanize the rest of Africa to champion a fossil fuel-free continent, and in doing so, he will have continued the war on the climate crisis.

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