Climate Justice, Extractives & Renewable Energy
The era of climate change is upon the world and yet one of the critical issues to discuss is socio-ecological transformation and energy. Access to energy is one of the principal means to service the most basic needs. Family life, health, education and general societal well-being would not thrive in the absence of energy. Without energy, life as we know it would cease to exist. However, environmental concerns also come into the forefront of access to energy concerns. Most African countries, with the inclusion of Zimbabwe, rely heavily on fossil fuels for energy generation and production. Furthermore, in Zimbabwe, 83% of urban households have electricity compared to only 13% in rural areas. Statistics also show that 65% of rural households use firewood for cooking while 30% use other forms of energy.
In the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference, Conference of Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland one of the declarations was a complete move from fossil fuels, which has detrimental effects on the environment through a high concentration of greenhouse gas emissions, to generate energy and use alternative sources like renewable energy. Parties were given until 2030 to ensure that grid and off-grid power supplies are based on one or more sources of renewable energy. Although Zimbabwe has shown concern in the past on its heavy reliance on fossil fuels, the draft Renewable Energy Policy presents a new thrust in power generation and production which not only benefits urban communities but has the potential to lift many rural communities from the pit of poverty.