The senate committee chair on Lands, Mines, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment, Senator Albert T. Chie, has observed that Liberia and other developing countries continue to bear the consequences of industrial development taking place in Countries of the North.
He said the United States, China, and the European Union should cut emission drastically and urgently in order to save the planet, especially economies of poor vulnerable countries. The Liberian lawmaker made these remarks Friday, September 26, 2015, at the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) validation workshop conducted under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA with support from United Nations Economic Convention for Africa or UNECA.
It brought together officials of government, members of the Diplomatic Corps, stakeholders, and civil society. Senator Chie wondered that with negligible emissions, of what use are strategies for Liberia to limit emission, and noted that the key interest of North Countries is for developing countries to conserve the forest and stall development.
“Our country continues to be tempted by various forest conservation plans, the most recent one being the offer of hundred million plus dollars by the Royal Government of Norway. Simple calculation will tell you one community forest managed sustainably can accrue that amount in revenue to the government”, he said.
He said it is unfair for countries to be pressured into not developing their forest resources in the name of mitigation of climate change effects, while at the same time wealthy countries continue to flout the atmosphere with noxious gases from their factories and refuse to cut emissions drastically.
Senator Chie said Liberians have already begun to see and feel the impact of climate change such as unpredictable weather patterns and severity of precipitation superimposed on weak infrastructure, while lack of urban planning continues to lead to flooding in most urban areas, especially in impoverished neighborhoods.
He said sea level rise imperceptibly aggravates erosion along the coast with inputs from other anthropogenic activities, which causes food security to be at stake with a recipe for hunger and mass poverty. “For our national INDC to be practical, access to clean and modern energy services at affordable cost is important. This will help our country get out of massive poverty and contribute positively to our INDC. The National Energy Policy published in 2009 set several targets in that direction, but most of these targets have not been met due to lack of financial resources.”
He added that in pursuance of this objective, the Legislature has enacted the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia, which is intended to create an enabling environment for private sector participation in the energy sector, saying, “It our belief that this liberalization of the sector will foster competition which will hopefully improve access to electricity from clean sources, improve quality of service and lower costs.”
He said it is expected that in non-grid areas where most of the country’s forests are located, energy will be delivered through a hybrid of renewable energy sources and hoped that the rural and renewable energy agency will be the driving force.
Meanwhile, Senator Chie has disclosed here the Legislature is currently deliberating on a Land Right Act and a Land Authority Act, which will give tradition communities -owners of customary land, the right and opportunity to participate deeply in decision affecting their forest land.
By Lewis S. Teh –Edited by Jonathan Browne