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UK urges Malawi to rethink coal-fired power plan

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By Deogratias Mmana:

The British High Commissioner to Malawi David Beer has asked Malawi to make a commitment and stop plans of coal-fired production as one way of contributing to the decrease of global warming.

Beer said this ahead of the United Nations Climate Conference of Parties (COP) 26 which Scotland will host in November.

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He said this during a send-off reception for COP 26 Malawian delegation which also includes President Lazarus Chakwera.

Beer said this year’s COP is an extraordinary and necessary event for keeping the goal alive of reducing global temperatures by 1.5 degrees and for raising the financing necessary for both mitigation of climate impacts and helping countries such as Malawi to adapt.

While commending Malawi for creating momentum internally to tackle devastating deforestation, the UK asked the country to do away with coal-fired power.

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“The UK is proud to stand with the US in supporting your efforts through our modern cooking programming to tackle the drivers of this. We look forward to Malawi taking the next big step, and to commit to move away from coal-fired power production,” said Beer.

On its part, the UK has doubled its international climate finance commitment to £11.6 billion over five years.

It has asked rich countries to ensure that they surpass the goal of providing $100 billion annually for climate financing.

Said Beer: “We need 2021 to be the year the world gets back on track with climate finance, and we are urging all developed countries to commit to achieve and surpass the goal of providing $100 billion annually, by 2022.

“And we are calling on development banks to set ambitious targets to support green recoveries.”

He added: “It will be important that a significant proportion of this goes towards adaptation, loss and damage; and that such finance is both easily accessible, and well spent-so that vulnerable countries are able to effectively respond to the effects of climate change.”

Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo said at the reception that all countries, despite their status, need to redouble their efforts to achieve the global temperature goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Tembo said Malawi expects to get concrete progress and action oriented decisions from the Glasgow conference that will translate into increasing resilience for Malawians especially at grassroots level.

“Our call is to come from Glasgow with decisions and declarations that deliver enhanced ambition on finance, mitigation adaptation capacity building, technology development and transfer,” Tembo said.

She admitted that climate change is now a global emergency that calls for urgent global action.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change dubbed climate change as a Red Code for humanity that threatens the very survival of life on planet earth.

Last month, China announced it would no longer finance coal-fired projects around the world, a monumental move as the world seeks to tack the impacts of climate change.

The announcement by China should be a blow to Malawi as it has been pursuing the 300MW Kammwamba coal-fired power plant to shore up its energy capacity.

In the initial planning stages, authorities said the project would be financed by Chinese institutions.

Early this year, the Electricity Generation Company (Egenco), announced that a feasibility study which started in August 2019 would be completed by September 2021.

“Upon completion of the feasibility study, Egenco shall embark on seeking project financing. The project will take about three years to completion after reaching financial closure. Tentatively, we are looking at 2024. All being equal as far as financing arrangement is concerned,” says Egenco on its website.

It says the project is in line with the company’s diversification objectives as it seeks to improve power generation mix from being 95 percent hydro-based to 76 percent hydro-based in 5 years.

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