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About adapting to climate change

Apr 14, 2014, 10:09 AM

The Gambia government it seems is taking the fact of climate change very seriously, and is preparing for the use of alternatives to fossil fuels to power our future national development endeavours.

This is clear from the fact that, to attract investment in the country’s energy sector, the government enacted the Renewable Energy Act in December 2013.

“The law provides incentives for both local and foreign investors in the Gambia’s energy sector,” we heard in the President’s state opening of the National Assembly statement.

These include: All proceeds from the sale of carbon emission credits shall be exempt from all taxes; exemptions from import tax; from import duty for equipment that fulfill the eligibility criteria; from corporate tax (turnover tax, withholding tax, tax on dividends and interest) for a period of 15 years; as well as exemption from value-added and any retail tax for a period of 15 years, from the date of commissioning.

We were also informed that the ECOWAS centre for renewable energy and energy efficiency is providing support to produced the renewable energy national action plan, which would set renewable energy targets.

This at a time when the ministry of Energy with UNDP assistance is reviewing the national energy ppolicy and action plan.

Despite the interest in renewable energy projects, according to news reports, most current foreign direct investment in Africa is in hydro carbons, and that this is fueling the high growth rates now being recorded in the continent.

It may be pertinent to add that, in our planning for future energy security for this country, we are faced with a choice.

We can choose to either get our energy from the abundant sunlight we are blessed with or from our predicted petroleum resources, which the government has said we have a lot of within our territory, including off-shore.

Yet, they are not mutually exclusive!

We can develop and have both; of course, with more emphasis and priority given to promoting renewable clean energy.

Indeed, as made clear in our story on the latest report of the IPCC released on Sunday, focusing on alternatives to oil will not substract much from the growth or development we aspire to achieve for ourselves.

In fact, it would be a sacrifice worth making, considering the consequences of continuing global warming – one of which is the certain loss of Banjul, our capital city, to the sea – the prediction being that a sea-level rise of two meters will leave the Gambia’s capital city flooded and uninhabitable.

To prevent this from happening, we must continue joining the rest of the world to keep pushing for the adoption of a more sustainable lifestyle everywhere; one which is in harmony with a livable environment for all of creation.

“The impact of climate change is a tremendous risk to the security and well-being of our countries.”

Nancy Pelosi