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Govt Stance On Coal Mining Worries Climate Change Experts

MUTARE– Climate change experts have called on government to have an honest discussion with stakeholders over its capacity to support green investments, in light of its stance to push investment into coal mining.

By Problem Masau

In an interview with 263Chat, climate change experts said there was need for honest discussions nexus between industrialization, and look at the renewable energy.

Sydney Chisi of Reyna Trust, an organization advocating for gender mainstreaming in climate change adaptation, said while it was ideal that government negotiates at the United Nations high level it should come clean on its stance on fossil fuels.

“It might be ideal that government is talking at that high elite level but the game totally changes at the level of its political economy. Government has to make sure that the green transition is facilitated by clear financing mechanisms

“Is the government in that particular capacity to invest in this transition or it would rather negotiate for a bit of a time to use fossil fuels. We can negotiate to keep using the fossil fuels as the cheap available energy as we grow our economy because we will not be doing justice to ourselves and our future because the transition is not uniform across all countries,” he said.

An academic, Dr Walter Svinurai of Marondera University said governments must focus on domestic resource mobilisation to support investments for a green transition instead of relying on donor support.

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“We need to look at climate change differently as not fully scientific, because this is a colonial trap. How can we develop when we are trapped into processed which does not help our economies to industrialize?

“Global nature of the economy forces the global south into these agreements when more focus should be on domestic capacity for example we need to be looking at how we increase investment in Renewable Energy,” he said.

Principal Director in the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Nesbert Samu said while these misgivings could be true and has raised mistrust at the international level, the Global North was a necessary partner in the climate change fight.

“There is a lot of mistrust at the international level about declarations of emissions, we need to build trust with international community because of reliance for technological transfer, technical and financial support so that we are be able to track their emission reductions,” he said.

Dr Dingane Sithole, an energy and climate change consultant said this review was an opportunity to set a long-term templates which do not negate sustainable development aspirations or national development targets set by government.

He said it was incumbent on stakeholders and government to critically reflect on impact of disinvestments in coal to protect the local depressed industry, although it has rebounded in 2020 according to industrialists.

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According to the Confederations of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) capacity utilization across the industry has improved and rose to 47% compared to 36.4% in 2020 due to improved access to foreign currency.

CZI projects this to rise up to 61% on the backdrop of the vaccination program, while closures of border has pushed consumers to the domestic markets, as Zimbabwe imports mostly from South Africa.

“We need to be critical in our approach. If we want government to exploit coal we should come up with a target that accommodates coal mining, without compromising our mitigation targets,” he said.

Zimbabwe is reviewing its 2015 NDC obligations as a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to contribute to global reduction of emission under the Paris Agreement (PA).

Dr Sithole said the NDCs are national commitments which also take into account domestic circumstances and capabilities and strengthen local capacity to fulfill those obligations.

“Let us find a way of mainstreaming our national development targets, but also meeting our national commitments. We need something that allows us to contribute to lowering emissions but not to deindustrialize the country,” said Sithole.

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