First of all we must acknowledge that Climate change is a very serious issue and accept the responsibility to do something about it. Appropriate actions in dealing with this crisis lies in our ability to diagnose it and how much we understand it. I do agree with President LUNGU on this score. Climate change has the potential to affect every section of our lives as a people and as a country. My advice to our president is that avoid simple solutions to complex issues. If the house is collapsing, you don’t paint it a different color to save it. Climate change is crisis and to deal with it we must employ the necessary sophistication needed.
For so many years now, the motorists in ZAMBIA have been paying the carbon tax, how much of this money has been used in research work? What interventions have we employed in the country to control and manage carbon emissions? Or did we just use the carbon emission theme as an opportunity for the government to raise extra cash for itself?
With extended hours of loadshedding, are we able to account for the number of trees that we are cutting for charcoal? How then do we avoid worse rain drought next year if we fail to manage our lifestyle patterns now? We must remember that this loadshedding cycle will not end itself, we must be deliberate to deal with it as a people. What are we doing now that should guarantee us a different reality next year?
Last year I remember we spent millions of dollars just to import power and this year we are doing the same. This intervention is shallow and unsustainable for a small economy as ours. When the energy sector is left to random swings, it becomes difficult to industrialize a country. It also makes the environment vulnerable as people we opt for unconventional ways of getting the much needed power. For example, many have resorted to using fuel propelled power generators which is an additional burden on the environment because most these emit unmonitored carbon into the environment.
WHAT IS THE WAY FORWARD?
As a matter of urgency, the government must freeze import duty on clean alternative sources of power like Solar energy equipments. This will make solar energy generators become affordable and accessible by majority of our people. This will lessen the burden on ZESCO and also on the environment.
Instead of spending millions of dollars on importing power from South Africa, the government should use that money to construct new solar power stations that should guarantee a loadshedding free next year. The importation of power today would be a good idea but not sustainable. We did it last year and if we do it this year we can be sure that we will do it next year. If we can construct solar power stations now and wind energy stations this year, we will not have to worry about extended loadshedding next year and we will not worry about millions of dollars to import power.
Remember complex issues cannot be solved with simple solutions. I am not an authority on this, to deal with this issue extensively the government and the president must be bold enough to look for minds outside of their political friends and engage them. There are brilliant Zambians who understand these matters better and can help find solutions that are sustainable and affordable. The work of politicians is to win elections and make stupid speeches but the real work must be left for people with the talent and skills. The government must not be shy to reach out to these brilliant minds. They are the real assets of our beautiful country.
God bless ZAMBIA