By Wezi Tjaronda
Environment and Tourism Minister, Willem Konjore, says climate change presents Namibians with an opportunity to exploit its abundant sources of renewable energy.
Konjore was speaking yesterday at the World Environment Day (WED) commemoration at the Habitat Research and Development Centre when he launched the week-long activities that the MET, the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the UNDP have arranged to bring awareness to climate change and its impact on Namibia.
Namibia’s theme for this year’s WED is “Go Green – Use Renewable Energies”: Namibia positioning itself to mitigate & adapt to the negative impacts of a global phenomenon – Climate Change”. The world is, however, commemorating the day under the theme “Melting Ice – a Hot Topic”.
In line with this theme, the minister said Namibia should explore the abundant potential of renewable energy sources to supplement or even replace the existing non-clean energy sources.
The most viable sources of renewable energy include solar, water, biomass, crop, wind and gas.
“New and innovative methods are being developed to deal with the challenges brought about by climate variability and the changing climate. Consistent with the national energy policy, climate change presents an opportunity for Namibia in terms of exploitations of our renewable energy,” he added.
He also said renewable energy is viable and important in Namibia due to the abundant sunshine which allows the application of solar technologies by prolonging clean and environmental-friendly energies.
In addition to this, renewable energy, from which electricity can be produced, can be set up anyway, thereby increasing access to remote settlements where the national grid cannot be extended in the near future.
Although global warming has had little effect on Namibia so far, the country is vulnerable. Predictions are that temperatures will rise, the sea level will rise while droughts can be expected to be more severe, which will increase costs for the farming and tourism industries. The two industries are big contributors to the GDP and they also create a significant number of jobs.
Namibia’s vulnerability to climate change, results from among other factors its high dependence on natural resources which form the base of its economy, its arid environment, recurrent droughts and desertification.
Konjore said environmental assets provide opportunities for Namibia to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030 and make good progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2100. Namibia, he added, could therefore not afford to lose its assets through inappropriate practices and degradation. Most communities in rural areas, which include farmers, labourers and others, derive a livelihood from natural resources.
Learners from various schools in Windhoek attended the day, at which the Jan Jonker Afrikaner Secondary School made a poster presentation on causes of deforestation and drought and how the two can be mitigated.