By Mary Mwendwa
Kenya’s electricity supply is predominantly sourced from hydro and fossil fuel (thermal) sources.
Fossil fuels , coal, oil and natural gas which are burnt and known to release CO2 into the atmosphere are commonly used as a source of energy in Kenya . Because of this the layer of greenhouse gas is getting thicker, which is in turn making the Earth warmer. Therefore , the ongoing unlimited burning of fossil fuels is the cause of climate change. Statistics indicate that fossil fuel consumption in Kenya stands at 35% where a total of 811.3 megawatts is generated. These figures are rising due to a huge number of people who are relying on fossil fuel for energy needs continue to rise.
Middle class citizens in Kenya are buying more and more cars , roads are now congested and many poor households are using fossil fuel like kerosine as a cheaper way of sourcing energy especially at household level.
Amina kaka, a resident at one of Nairobi’s informal settlement says, ” I have been using kerosine as a source of energy in my house for a long time now, even I don’t think there is any other way of energy access for cooking apart from kerosene, I cant afford gas , kerosene I get as cheap as 20 ksh but cooking gas I have to get more money and as you can see I have no steady income. Kerosine produces fumes and I have three children in this small one roomed house I live in, I have no option, I know it is dangerous to our health too.”
On responding to a question about fossil fuels and how they affect the climate she says .“Iam not aware of anything like that, kerosine is my option and I have no regrets, if there is anything better and cheaper than that, then I will gladly use .”She reckons.
There are over 500,000 motor vehicles on the Kenyan roads. Of these, saloons and station wagons form about 50%. Utility vehicles especially pick-ups form about 20%.Public vehicles commonly known as Matatus registered annually are slightly more than the buses/coaches. Both form about 5% of the total motor vehicle population in the country.All these contribute to carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
With the liberalization of the economy, used imported motorcars far outnumber the new motor cars registered annually. Most of the imported used motor vehicles are saloon cars. All these cars emit emission that would have a negative effect to the current warming climate .Further more deforestation is taking it’s toll in Kenya’s main water towers like the Mau where efforts to restore it have been politicized in recent times.
There are efforts by the government to invest in green energy like solar, wind and geothermal which are still not fully utilized at large. Also ,the change of attitude and awareness to many about the dangers of fossil fuel is still bleak.
Fighting climate change in Kenya needs a revolution in the use of the fossil fuels which remain a big threat to the warming global climate.