Zimbabwe, just like the rest with the developing world, faces a looming economic and environmental meltdown propelled using a combination of your credit-fuelled financial doom and gloom; accelerating global warming and the looming peak within the extractive industries particularly coal mining and electricity generation from energy sources. Policy makers take record setting new production targets during these industries. In my previous article published within this newspaper a fortnight ago, I urged government entities to stop funding new coal projects. All ideas their very own moments. Some of them are pivotal. The trouble is knowing when those pivotal tipping points arrive. The other world is focusing on developing green energy avert the accelerating climatic change, Zimbabwe cannot miss this opportunity – especially as being the country steps right into a ‘new dispensation within the newly elected government led by His Excellency E.D Mnangagwa. As much as the federal government is making frantic efforts to draw foreign direct investment (FDI) underneath the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, there should be equal efforts to direct such investments towards developing infrastructure for the green energy. The government has to start to strategically fund the infrastructure for greener, smarter and cleaner energy to reap the attendant benefits.
Evidence business countries have established that it is possible to subsidise the national energy grid through renewable energies of solar and wind. Germany being one of the most outstanding example. Locally, authorities have to be commended to the piloting of ‘smart energy’ in traffic lights systems – noticeably from the city of Gweru, Harare (Airport road) where traffic lights are powered by solar power. The efforts must certainly be rolled out to your larger scale. Many traffic casualities have occurred especially in high volume traffic roads because of failure of traffic lights a result of power cuts. Government and local authorities are urged consider powering all traffic lights with solar.
It is often a fact that transition to low carbon is not achieved fast enough in order to avoid dangerous coffee without massive direct government investment. It is unfortunate the Gwanda Solar project can’t see the light of day caused by corruption and greedy by some few people at the cost of the country’s progress but that’s a move inside the right direction. However, all hope must not be lost because of one failed project – rather it need to be taken being a learning curve. For starters, how come government sub-contract a real high priority project? In my view, the federal government of Zimbabwe not just has the technical capacity but the resource ability to run the Gwanda Solar project and plenty of other related projects. With high degrees of unemployment of university and college graduates, they are projects which the us govenment should be employing teenagers to run even on the short term basis.
Funding renewable power has been shunned for high capital demands. However, recently economists have argued how the cost of Solar renewable power generation is declining dramatically for over a decade, plus the decline is predicted to carry on. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Health Organization (WHO) further mention that, the costs of just local pollution from non-renewable fuels include 3-4 million annual premature deaths from outdoor polluting of the environment, along with extensive morbidity.
On the opposite hand, ending fossil fuel subsidies and properly taxing carbon emissions would actually give a large fiscal surplus for consumers, most equitably when the tax proceeds were returned to citizens upon an equal per capita basis as being a ‘fee and dividend’â-âperhaps one of the most politically acceptable kind of carbon pricing, which benefits the indegent who use least energy typically.
And certainly these measures would accelerate the continued transition from fossil energy to green energy. Combining every one of the savings from abolishing fossil fuel subsidies, reducing health costs of pollution, increasing energy efficiency, taxing carbon emissions, and gradually phasing your world’s huge current investment and production expenditure on non-renewable fuels of around $5 trillion (globally) annually would not merely generate major local health benefits inside medium term, but also give a financial surplus greater than sufficient to finance the transition. So in funding the transition to green energy, government should besides consider the immediate capital demand (quantifiable costs), and also the avoidable costs (qualitative benefits accruing) inturn.
However, most of the benefit will likely be delayed, a great deal new investment is urgently had to speed up transition and ensure how the majority of lower income consumers don’t suffer initial losses, this also could be accomplished through the ‘Green New Deal’ discussed below. The additional and incalculable advantages of averting dangerous java prices represent the best bonus of survival inside long run.
Expanding government expenditure when resources are under found in recession, or as currently, when most economies are not even close to full employment and endure extensive underemployment and low participation inside labor force, typically generates a greater increase in output compared to the initial expenditure the ‘Keynesian multiplier’. In the end, the other expenditure greater than pays for itself.
Direct public investment in a Green New Deal thus enables the urgent goal of the low carbon economy being achieved sooner and limits the chance of irreversible climatic change, while increasing growth and employment in route. A progressive Zimbabwe cannot miss this opportunity.
The Green New Deal will rekindle an essential sense of purpose, restoring public trust and refocusing the usage of capital on public priorities and sustainability. In this way this may also help deliver a variety of social benefits that may greatly improve quality of life from the future. The Green New Deal includes policies and novel funding mechanisms which will reduce emissions contributing to java prices and allow us to handle better with all the coming energy shortages a result of peak oil. It contains two main strands. Firstly, it entails a structural transformation with the regulation of national and international establishments, and major changes to taxation systems. And, second, a sustained programme to purchase and deploy energy conservation and renewable energies, in conjunction with effective demand management. This huge transformational programme should be designed to substantially decrease the use of classic fuels while inside the process tackling the unemployment and decline in demand brought on by the credit crunch.