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Erias Lukwago Addresses Climate Change at UN ‘Race to Zero’ Emissions Campaign Launch

On Tuesday this week, the Kampala Lord Mayor His Worship Erias Lukwago was invited to the United Nations Webinar launching a ‘Race to Zero’ emissions campaign where he shared a panel with Mr. Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce and Mr. Mark Schneider, the CEO of Nestlé and Gonzalo Muñoz, the UN High-Level Climate Champion for Chile.

This comes after Lukwago delivered a powerful message at a Webinar series presented by ICLEI Africa, the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoMSSA) and partners, contributing to the RISE Africa Roadmap under the theme “Building Sustainable African Cities during and after the pandemic.”

The focus of the campaign was on framing the New Growth Agenda: Set out what ‘Real Economy’ leadership looks like within the context of COVID-19 – painting a picture of huge momentum around zero-emissions commitments, which the economic recovery is expected to activate.

The Lord Mayor elucidated on Kampala’s current situation with an ambition of reducing emissions which are up to 22% in the ‘business as usual scenario’ around the city. Adapting the use of clean energy, Lukwago argued, is the major focus in lowering the emissions percentage.

It is projected, however, that the overall emissions will increase by 55% from 2020-2030 if we continue with the business as usual scenario, the main contributing sectors being; transport, household, freight, waste, tertiary and industrial sectors.

The City’s energy supply is dominated by biomass and hydroelectricity for cooking, lighting, industry and fossil oil for transportation. The main source of energy for household cooking is biomass which are high emitters of particles that seriously affect public health. The use of oil for transportation (diesel) produces the same concerns.

“Kampala as a City is largely plagued by lack of integrated detailed neighborhood plans, poor construction practices, energy-inefficient buildings, low use of renewables, few green spaces, and environmental degradation,” Lukwago said.

‘For Kampala, it is estimated that the cost of adaptation to Climate Change will increase significantly from about US$ 7.3 million in 2013 to between US$ 33 – 102 million by 2050. However, in the wake of Covid-19 and its related vagaries, the budgetary implications are affected as resources are dedicated to the same,” he added.

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In synopsis, the Lord Mayor called upon the international community to holistically address the “Race to Zero” towards emissions with special attention to Africa because “our contribution to the cause of global warming and climate change is negligible but most vulnerable.”

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