The Patriotic Front has called on all stakeholders to heed President Edgar Lungu’s call on the nation to prepare and respond to Climate Change by way of mitigation and adaptation.
PF Media Director Sunday Chanda says Zambians must ensure climate change takes centre stage of dialogue as a nation.
Mr Chanda has reiterated that Climate change is a reality that now affects every region of the world and Zambia is no exception as confirmed by international organizations such as the United Nations.
He said it is important to note that Climate change is a threat that cuts across the different spheres of life to include human rights, dignity of persons, sustainable development, economic progression, food security, human development and the list is endless.
“United Nations Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet at opening of Human Rights Council warned that “The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope of climate change”, he added.
Mr Chanda has since called on climate change denialists such as the leader of the United Party for National Development Hakainde Hichilema to come back to their senses and realize that the threat Zambia is faced with goes beyond partisan politics or selfish ambitions.
He said President Lungu in his SONA referred to among others, nuclear energy, solar energy and wind energy as part of the energy mix being pursued by his administration.
“Let there be no doubt – Climate Change is real hence the need to diversify the energy sector in boosting Zambia’s economy. In this regard, we are calling on Members of Parliament to debate the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by taking off any partisan lenses and do what is best for Zambia”, he added.
Mr Chanda has also called on Members of Parliament to proactively consider facilitating the passing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Bill in Parliament in order to position Zambia as an energy hub to meet its domestic, industrial and export obligations.
He noted that Climate change put a threat the attainment of Zambia’s development goals such as the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) and Vision 2030.
“For example, in 2015/16 Zambia experienced low power production due to prolonged drought. This caused a reduction of approximately 40% of the economic growth rate. In order to address the above challenge, His Excellency President Lungu announced on 18th September 2015, and 16th September 2016 that his administration during its term in office would pursue nuclear energy as part of the diversified sustainable energy mix to power Zambia’s economy. There is no doubt that the 2018/19 looks to be a repeat of 2015/16”, he said.
He reminded Zambians that a nuclear power plant generating an average of 1,000 megawatt (MW) generates approximately US$470 million in electricity sales and revenue for the nation.
And on nuclear energy. Mr Chanda said on the environmental impact, unlike oil, coal or natural gas, nuclear energy is one of the lowest carbon foot print technologies across the world. Nuclear power has very low lifetime greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which makes the technology a potent climate change mitigation option.
“There is clarion call to Members of Parliament across the board to support Government in meeting of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards through ratifications of relevant treaties, conventions, protocols and agreements. Members of Parliament are also called upon to support Government in domesticating of the same IAEA standards through amendments of existing laws such as ZEMA Act, NCC Act and EIZ Act) with emphasis on safety and security”, Mr Chanda has said.
He said in a statement that mitigation and adaptation in light of climate change calls for the nation to pull together in finding lasting solutions, both in the short, medium and long term.
“Least we forget the impact and effect of the El-Nino on the 2015/2016 fiscal performance, an un budgeted US$39, 286, 245. 70 was spent on emergency power imports by the Treasury in 2015. This caused adverse effects on the Fiscal performance in 2015 as the El-Nino effect was not anticipated when drawing the 2015 budget”, he said.
Mr Chanda said while the PF appreciate that its very difficult for Zambia’s body politic to engage in substantive issues, for once everyone must join hands with Government in addressing a common threat – climate change.