Ethiopia and Kenya seek to make biomass sustainable

Ethiopians use charcoal and wood to cook and heat their homes. Kenyans use tea residues and charcoal. They’re among the 80 per cent of people in Sub-Saharan African who use biomass as their main energy source.

In a bid to achieve sustainable goals seeking to mitigate climate change by 2030, the UN and others are now hoping to help them figure out whether they can use alternative forms of energy or continue using biomass in a more sustainable way.

“A robust understanding among stakeholders of the multiple benefits of sustainable bioenergy is lacking,” said the UN’s Environment Programme Climate Change Coordinator for Africa Richard Munang in a press release.

The UN is helping the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments collect data with an eye towards new rules, programmes or incentives to people who often possess too little money to change their energy consumption habits on their own. The UN-local government partnerships will focus on calculating greenhouse emissions associated from biomass. Currently, nobody has tallied the emissions from biomass burned throughout the enormous East African countries.

“Tangible and scientist-based indicators will help us a lot to monitor the bioenergy sector and inform how it contributes to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the Big Four Agenda of Kenya – food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and universal healthcare,” said Charles Sunkuli, a former forestry official in Kenya.

Image credit: Peter Kapuscinski / World Bank via Flickr

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