Tanzania-Norway Initiatives: A Silver Bullet for Clean Cooking Energy Transition in Africa

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The Paris Agreement, which came into force in 2015, implied that each party to the agreement who rectified it was obliged to comply. This was a unanimous agreement that, to date, comprises about 196 parties legally bound by this agreement. Subsequently, several other Conference of the Parties (COPs) have continued, including other initiatives across the globe focused on energy and sustainability.

However, the Paris Agreement continues to be among the most vigilant and successful climate change agreements in history. Its COPs, which happen each year, continue to shape and assess progress, including setting more policies to continue efforts to cut emissions to about 1.5 degrees Centigrade. This was after realising that human-induced activities have sparked the global temperature, mainly due to the increase of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere.

Since the treaty’s signing, parties, including Tanzania, have continued to comply by implementing some climate actions, either for mitigation or helping in adaptation. Mitigation includes doing any possible means to avoid climate change and its impacts. Adaptation, on the other hand, deals with trying to accept whatever changes are beyond our capacity to change their occurrences; hence, we adapt.

Both means of mitigation or adaptation, continued use of the best available technology and financial resources, and increased collaboration between parties to the agreement are of particular interest to the developed and developing economies. There are defined and structured means through which the climate actions between these groups operate, and Tanzania is within these initiatives.

The Parties to the Agreement are classified into three categories: Annex I, Annex II, and Non-Annex Parties who are not listed in the former groups.

The priorities and exchanges between these annexes involve projects or programs to reduce emissions. Countries are obliged to submit their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which embody each country’s commitment to pursue domestic mitigation measures to achieve the objectives of such contributions. Tanzania continues to contribute to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Read Relate: Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions are at an all time High, What does this mean for Africa?

Therefore, Tanzania is undertaking several projects within identified sectors under that framework in their submissions. Among the sectors of concern here is the energy sector, which has recently shown a positive, progressive trend in the projects that have been delivered and others that are continuing to unfold.

Herein below, I will delve further into the recently development of “Tanzania-Norway Clean Cooking Energy in Africa”, an Initiative to contribute positively towards the transition to clean and reliable energy.

The initiative, Co-chaired by Norway and Tanzania under the African Development Bank (AfDB) and International Energy Agency (IEA), is intended to unlock the possibilities to ensure universal access to clean energy goals are achieved by 2030. The meeting had a high level of attendance and a ground-breaking attendance of about 1,000 delegates from 60 countries. It was revealed that in Africa alone, about 1 billion people have limited access to clean cooking energy.

Why Clean Cooking Energy?

Human beings need to breathe to survive and require food, which must be cooked. It is, therefore, essential to have clean cooking energy and get rid of crude and primitive means, which have several issues for humans. The continued use of traditional open firewood cooking is a threat to health; it has resulted in deaths in Tanzania and in Africa at large.

About 33,000 deaths in a year in Tanzania happen as a result. Worse enough is the lower number of clean cooking energy users, estimated at 5-8% of the population. This is scary, and a large segment of the population is at risk of unprecedented deaths.

Clean energy use helps to protect our trees both in and out of the forests, which are the main carbon sinks in place. The current mode relies on wood fuels like charcoal and firewood, which jeopardize the availability of different tree species that absorb toxic carbon dioxide.

The statistics indicate that Dar es Salaam consumes about 70% of Tanzania’s charcoal, while other urban areas across the country are increasing their charcoal production, straining the little available and yet unclean energy.

Clean energy, on the other hand, is about rescuing women from the tiresome task of cooking under unclean energy and its associated effects. Women are the core players in cooking for the family and ensuring energy availability.

They spend much time hunting for cooking energy and encounter risks in some circumstances, including sexual harassment and foregone opportunities such as schooling. Therefore, when given a clean and reliable energy source, their potential will be unlocked, and their contribution to the economy will be enhanced, leaving aside the positive impacts on the environment and health of both humans and the stratosphere.

Also, read Tanzania’s Role in the Clean Energy Transition: A Wealth of Critical Minerals

Investing in clean energy is also an opportunity to explore various financial opportunities, whereby it provides some avenues for projects which are also providing investment ventures such as carbon trading. The offsetting of carbon credits in various market-based mechanisms provides means for economic prosperity while contributing towards clean cooking energy and compliance means. This is seamlessly the same case for the Tanzania-Norway cooking energy initiative in the making.

A collaborative platform for finding solutions for cooking enhances solidarity and international cooperation among different stakeholders. Clean cooking energy affects several sectors, and by nature, as a multi-sectoral issue, it attracts many corporations.

Technological transfer, policy, regulation formulation, and platforms bring onboard nations and organisations, including businesses. The Paris Agreement, for example, has brought together 198 countries globally, indicates a successful international corporation and continues to showcase the power of coming together.

Now, this Tanzania—Norway clean cooking energy initiative serves as a pivot for yet another important mechanism that can liberate the opportunity for African countries to embark on a meaningful and ambitious target to transform into clean cooking energy. It will free the continent from unnecessary deaths caused by unclean cooking energy.

It will offer several other advantages, enabling a sustainable future and economic prosperity. Tanzania and Norway have set the bar higher, motivating them to work towards a sustainable future. If all the stakeholders work towards the objectives of this move, its ripple effects will be echoed globally.

Dr. Emanueli Ndossi, a seasoned EIA and EA Expert, directs J & Enviroconsult (T) Ltd, with over a decade of experience. His expertise covers Project Management, Monitoring, and Evaluation (M&E) for comprehensive environmental assessments. Dr. Ndossi, with impactful roles in WCST, TFCG, and the University of Queensland, has shaped conservation efforts work spans diverse sectors, contributing to sustainable practices in tourism and conservation. Dr. Ndossi holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Göttingen and an M.Sc. in Environmental Management from the University of Queensland. His active engagement in organizations like ISIE, Carbon Lab, Soil Science Society of Germany, WCST, and FCC showcases his significant contributions to the environmental field.

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