Global warming: a fact or a myth?

Global warming: a fact or a myth?

Abstract

Over the years, there has been discussion on whether global warming is a hypothesis or a fact. Global warming and the obvious climatic shift pose as one of the most contentious, ambiguous, and hotly contested occurrences in the world right now, with proponents and detractors taking opposite sides of the issue. The recent suspicious climatic variations, steadily increasing temperatures and depletion of ice cover are indications that the global warming issue may not be a myth after all (IPCC, 2001). One of the most famous and recent such conferences is the Kyoto conference. The 1997 conference led to a partial consensus on global warming as a reality. However, sceptics and climate scientists have stepped forward to disapprove that global warming is in fact a reality and that human activities are responsible for it. This short paper aims to convince those who doubt the notion of global warming that it is a reality and not a myth by addressing the changes in climatic conditions, global temperatures, and greenhouse gases; also, by revealing the sceptics’ claim vis-à-vis global warming to be a myth; the claims of advocates of global warming; as well as the position of the signing Kyoto Protocol to the proponents. Information was collected from secondary data and can be accessed by researchers.

Intro

The concept of global warming has been widely rejected by sceptics and those opposed to it as a mere myth or assumption with no scientific evidence linking it to anthropogenic activities and which is greatly unapprehensive (Wollstein, 2007)[1], despite the fact that its proponents firmly believe that the phenomenon is a reality and is largely responsible for the variations in climate observed in recent years as a result of increased emission of greenhouse gases (Proctor, 2009)[2].

According to Wollstein (supra), the advocates of global warming contend that the irregular climatic variations and global warming are the results of increased human activity, which has boosted greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. The recent climatic variations, steadily rising temperatures, and loss of ice cover are signs that the global warming issue may not be a myth after all. Scientists have not yet produced convincing evidence linking changing climatic changes with the destruction of the ozone layer due to the increased emission of greenhouse gases. (IPCC, 2001). The theory of global warming has received renewed attention in the wake of the 1997 El Nino and other climatic indicators that seem to refute the theory. The global warming debate has led to the organization of a global forum to debate the problems and seek solutions with the shared aim of “saving” the world from impending disaster (IPCC, 2001).

The Kyoto conference was held in Japan in 1997 and attempted to address the global warming phenomena as well as develop adequate solutions. It culminated with the signature of the “Kyoto protocol,” a famous international law intended to stop additional greenhouse gas emissions (COP-3, 1997). Even though the partial consensus on global warming significantly increased the issue’s visibility as a reality, sceptics and several climate scientists have come forward to contest that global warming is in fact a reality and that gas emissions from human activities were to blame for global warming and other climate variations. To convince those who doubt the notion of global warming that it is a reality and not a myth, this paper gives a thorough defence of it. It aims to demonstrate that human activity—in particular, increased emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily CO2 is to blame for global warming.

The changes in climatic conditions, global temperatures, and greenhouse gases

The premise that underlies both the global warming phenomenon and the discussion that has followed is the world’s ongoing, unprecedented climate variability (IPCC, 2001). The ideal scenario would be for such climatic changes to be clearly visible and indisputable, even by sceptics of future global warming who have agreed that there are unusual and unmatched variations in the global climate, which have steadily continued to change over the last few decades. However, the observed changing climatic conditions are heavily dependent on global climatic trends observation rather than global climate models. But those who reject global warming have steadfastly maintained that the assertion that climate changes are a direct result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide into the atmosphere because of increased human activity is false (Wollstein, 2007). In short, they wrote off the global problem as a fiction that is difficult to support with scientific data. However, information on unsettling climatic patterns greatly increased the worry and provided a legitimate platform for those who support global warming to present their case.

Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting global warming, individuals who disagree with the hypothesis have cited two key studies to support their position. In essence, the studies have been disregarded by those who believe in global warming as unreliable and untrustworthy. They leave little room for anyone to draw a conclusion that global warming is a fantasy. Also, despite being the greatest component of greenhouse gases, water vapour has been shown to consistently predict temperature changes, according to those who believe that human activity is contributing to global warming (Wollstein, 2007).

In his book, The Greenhouse Effect, William Archer argues that increased human activity has contributed to a rise in the number and concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (Archer, 2005; P.J. Hoegh-Baker, et al., 2006). Methane and associated gas concentrations in the atmosphere have unquestionably increased because of emissions from landfills, ruminant animals, rice paddies, natural gas operations, and worldwide wetlands, termites, and water bodies, particularly oceans (Archer, 2005). According to Archer, an increase in the usage of nitrogen fertilizers in agriculture has resulted in a rise in the atmospheric concentrations of nitrous oxide and other associated gases.

Furthermore, the absence of any known natural sources for any of the chlorofluorocarbons is strong evidence of the contribution of human activities to global warming. The increased atmospheric concentration of these chemicals is completely due to human activity, as well as an increase in the use of fertilizers in agriculture. The increasing concentration of greenhouse gases keeps the planet warmer than it could be if those gases were less concentrated, according to Proctor (2009) and Hansen (2006).

Evidence shows that periods in the past marked by high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were associated with greater temperatures, and the opposite is true today. If these gases were virtually absent from the atmosphere, the earth’s surface temperature would have been 50°F lower than it is now. According to those who support global warming[3], the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases has the capacity to affect global climate change years after they are released into the atmosphere. As a result, the climate system has a high degree of climatic inertia, primarily because oceanic dynamical processes have long lifetimes. The ozone depletion has contributed to global cooling in a way that is favourable to the notion of global warming (Archer, 2005). There is some evidence that the lower the global temperature is because of their cooling effects, and not because they are damaging to the ozone layer.

The IPCC[4] has concluded that it is impossible to determine the precise role played by human activities, such as increased greenhouse gas emissions, and subsequent global warming. However, evidence from climate scientists suggests that during the past decade global temperatures have risen by between 0.3 and 0.7 degrees Celsius (PIRCS, 1998)[5]. The ability and accuracy of climatologists as well as those who support global warming greatly depend on their ability to significantly reduce the uncertainty surrounding the role of changes in clouds, water vapour, ice, and oceanic circulation (PIRCS, 1998), among other factors.

The sceptics’standpoint

Evidence that sulphate particles of sulphur dioxide, which are produced when humans burn coal, have cooling effects and brighten clouds negates the prior claim made by sceptics that there is a strong likelihood that human activity is to blame for global warming. The proponents of global warming formerly claimed that further discussion of the issue was unnecessary. Advocates of global warming tend to view sceptics as either industrial trills, incredibly foolish people, or terrible people who deserve to be immediately silenced. They even suggested that those who disagreed with them should be labelled as Islamic terrorists since their denial would spell the end of humans.

The sceptics argued that the rise in global temperatures over the previous 133 years was visible in the early 20th century, long before the alleged inflation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Satellite temperature measurements from 1979 showed evidence of warming, but critics contended that the latter was only half as accurate as surface temperature observations at the same time. Global warming sceptics argued that the rise in global temperatures over the previous 133 years was visible before the alleged inflation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The claims of advocates of global warming

The proponents of the global warming theory claim that rising levels of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide from anthropogenic sources, are the primary cause of global warming. Anthropogenic sources include but are not limited to emissions from cars, significant industries and factories, barbecue grills, or even the most natural act of breathing. The current deterioration of climatic conditions caused by increased anthropogenic activity and increased atmospheric pollution amply justifies how seriously the global warming issue is being addressed. The advocates have persisted in their efforts to persuade the public that human activity, including the release of greenhouse gases, primarily CO2 into the atmosphere, is the primary cause of global warming.

The proponents of global warming tend to view sceptics as either industrial trills, incredibly foolish people, or terrible people who deserve to be immediately silenced. The British foreign secretary once said that those who are sceptical should be punished the same as those who support Islamic terrorism and shouldn’t be allowed access to the media.

The Kyoto Protocol’s signing is a victory for the proponents

The Kyoto Protocol sought to limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions. The signing of the agreement fulfilled the conference’s primary goal, which was to find ways to reduce carbon dioxide. The decree effectively obligated all its signatories to act responsibly in the complete control of greenhouse emissions (COP-3, 1997)[6].

Conclusion

The concept of global warming has been rejected by sceptics and those opposed to it as a mere myth. The sceptics have vehemently denied the involvement of humans in global warming even though there is little evidence linking it to anthropogenic sources. The repercussions of global warming, which are ideally demonstrated by sharp and life-threatening changes in the world’s climatic conditions, serve as the best pillars on which proponents can construct their case for global warming. The global warming argument intensified in response to recent exceptional global fluctuations in climatic conditions. The recent suspicious climatic variations, rising temperatures, and loss of ice cover are signs that the global warming issue may not be a myth after all. The time for debating the issue has long since passed, and drastic steps must be adopted to control such activities to prevent the planet Earth from perhaps extinction. All evidence indicates that global warming is not a myth but an unquestionable truth.

References

Archer, D. (2005). “Fate of fossil fuel CO2 in geologic time: Journal of Geophysical Research 110 (C9): p.1–6″

Christy, J., Spencer, R., & McNider, R. T. (1995). Reducing noise in the MSU daily lower tropospheric global temperature data set. J. Climate 8,888-896.

COP-3, 1997: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Conference of Parties – 3, Kyoto, Japan.

IPCC (1995). Summary for Policymakers: The Science of Climate Change. IPCC Working Group.

PIRCS, (1998). Project to Intercompare Regional Climate Simulations, Iowa State University. Web.

Proctor, J. (2009). Is Global Warming a Myth? How to respond to people who doubt the human impact on the climate: Scientific American.

StudyCorgi. (2022). ‘Global Warming is Not a Myth’. 8 June. (Accessed: 18 August 2022).

Wollstein, J. (2007). Global Warming: Myths and Reality, ISIL home.


[1] Wollstein, J. (2007). Global Warming: Myths and Reality, ISIL home.

[2] Proctor, J. (2009). Is Global Warming a Myth? How to respond to people who doubt the human impact on the climate: scientific American.

[3] See Archer, 2005.

[4] IPCC (1995). Summary for Policymakers: The Science of Climate Change. IPCC Working Group.

[5] PIRCS, (1998). Project to Intercompare Regional Climate Simulations, Iowa State University. Web.

[6] COP-3, 1997: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Conference of Parties – 3, Kyoto, Japan.

The World’s Waste-to-Energy Market: an overview

The World’s Waste-to-Energy Market: an overview

Abstract

Rapid economic expansion, urbanization, and population growth have increased the use of (materially intensive) resources and, as a result, the amount of trash released into the environment. Globally speaking, there is a lack of a comprehensive strategy for waste and resource management that addresses the entire value chain of product design, raw material extraction, manufacture, consumption, recycling, and trash treatment.

Also, hundreds of millions of tonnes of municipal solid waste still wind up in landfills, despite the recent growth of the world’s waste-to-energy (WTE) industry. At least 1.3 tonnes more carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere for every tonne of waste that is landfilled. This article gives a general overview of the WTE sector and examines current developments in the US that have reduced mercury and dioxin emissions. In order to advance WTE technology, the recently founded Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council seeks to bring together international academic and industrial expertise

Introduction

Over 600 waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities burn roughly 130 million tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) yearly. The MSW produced by the world’s WTE industry has increased by more than 16 million tonnes since 1995. There are WTE facilities in 35 countries, including big ones like China and tiny ones like Bermuda.

Combustible material landfilling must be phased out within a decade, per a European Union directive[1]. It is unclear, nevertheless, whether all the member nations will contribute the necessary money. Some, like Greece, have no WTE capacity at all, while others, like Singapore, have very little. Table 2.[2] displays the installed capacity and per-person use of WTE for disposing of municipal solid waste in the EU as of the present. For instance, the quantity of WTE used per capita in Japan is 314 kg, in Singapore, it is 252 kg, and in the US, it is 105 kg. China is one of the more recent entrants to WTE, with seven units currently in operation and a potential annual capacity of 1.6 million metric tonnes.

The present condition of the world WTE market

The European waste-to-energy (WTE) industry produced over 40 million tonnes of energy per year in 2002. The Brescia WTE facility in Italy is a good example of cogeneration of thermal and electric energies. It provides at least as much energy as is needed for district heating during the cold winter months.[3]

WTE capacity from the US accounts for around 23% of the global total, and 66% of it is concentrated in seven states along the East Coast.[4] (See Table 1).

Table 1: Major users of WTE in the US

StateNumber of PlantsCapacity (short US tons/day)
Connecticut66,500
New York1011,100
New Jersey56,200
Pennsylvania68,400
Virginia68,300
Florida1319,300
Total5369,600

Table 2. Reported WTE capacity in Europe[5]

CountryTonnes/year (in 1999)Kilograms/capitaThermal energy (gigajoules)Electric energy (gigajoules)
Austria450,000563,053,000131,000
Denmark2,562,00047710,543,0003,472,000
France10,984,00018032,303,0002,164,000
Germany12,853,00015727,190,00012,042,000
Hungary352,00062,000399,000
Italy2,169,0001373,354,0002,338,000
Netherlands4,818,000482n.d.9,130,000
Norway220,000491,409,00027,000
Portugal322,000321,000558,000
Spain1,039,00026n.d.1,934,000
Sweden2,005,00022522,996,0004,360,000
Switzerland1,636,0001648,698,0002,311,000
UK1,074,000181,0001,895,000
Total reported40,484,000154.5 (average)109,550,00040,761,000

The Present Condition of WTE Technology

Mass burning is the most popular WTE method since it is straightforward and has a minimum initial investment.

The annual installed capacity of the most popular grate technology, created by Martin GmbH (Munich, Germany), is around 59 million metric tonnes. One of the newest WTE facilities in Europe is the Martin grate at the Brescia (Italy) facility. A schematic representation of its mass-burn combustion chamber is shown in Figure 1. 32 million tonnes are burned as part of the Von Roll mass-burning operation in Zurich, Switzerland. The combined estimated capacity of all other mass-burning and refuse-derived fuel (RDF) processes is more than 40 million tonnes.

Waste-to-Energy mass-burn combustion chamber schematic diagram
Source: https://www.yokogawa.com/fr/industries/renewable-energy/waste-to-energy/

The Advantages of WTE for the Environment

  • Landfill Gaseous Emissions:

Some environmental groups in the US still oppose new WTE facilities on principle. Landfills, the only other option for disposing of MSW, have much worse environmental effects. At least 1.3 tonnes more carbon dioxide are released for every tonne of waste that is landfilled. Biogas from landfills typically comprises 46% carbon dioxide and 54% methane.[6] A tonne of landfilled MSW has a maximum methane production potential of 62 standard m3 of CH4.[7] 8 billion Nm3 of landfill gas were captured annually in the US in 2012.

  • Mercury Emissions from landfills:

The majority of the mercury in MSW is in metallic form (fluorescent lamps, thermometers, etc.). At landfill temperatures (40°C), its vapour pressure is 0.007 mm Hg as opposed to 5.67mm Hg for water. A mercury droplet of the same size will evaporate in four weeks if an exposed water droplet evaporates in an hour.

The Next Generation of WTE Processes

A Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility has three times the capital and operating expenses of a coal-fired power station that produces the same amount of electricity. Oxygen enrichment, used in the metallurgical industry, and flue gas recirculation are two ways to increase the turbulence and transport rates in the WTE chamber. The Brescia WTE facility has already used the latter to great success. Martin GmbH[8] is now constructing two “next generation” plants in Arnoldstein, Austria, and Sendai, Japan. Syncom-Plus uses an infrared camera to monitor the temperature of the bed on the grate. It has a complex control system to assure complete combustion and create bottom ash that is nearly fused.

The WTE Research and Technology Council (WTERT)

Waste-to-energy (WTE) is increasingly important to the US economy. There are currently no industrial or governmental research centres dedicated to advancing WTE technology. The WTE Research and Technology Council’s purpose is to promote waste-to-energy technologies’ economic and environmental performance. Creating connections between academic teams working on various WTE technology issues is one of the goals. The Council was formed with the assistance of Columbia University’s Earth Institute (WTERT). The image below is a view of the WTE plant in Brescia, Lombardy – Italy[9]

WTERT is currently supported by its founders, the US EPA, the Municipal Waste Management Association of the US Conference of Mayors, the Solid Wastes Processing Division of ASME International, and other groups. The interactive database “SOFOS,” which offers information on technical papers and studies linked to the integrated management of solid wastes, is one of the services offered by WTERT.

The Earth Engineering Centre, Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, and Department of Civil Engineering from Columbia University, USA; the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Temple University in the United States; the Marine Sciences Research Centre at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in the United States; Department of Applied Earth Sciences at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands; The United Kingdom’s Sheffield University Waste Incineration Centre (SUWIC), are now taking part in the WTERT University Consortium. WTERT invites additional universities that share the Council’s objectives to join this alliance.

Conclusion

Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facilities burn about 130 million tonnes of municipal trash annually. 47 new WTE plants have begun construction since 2001 or are currently under construction. WTE expansion in the US has been hampered by environmental opposition that ignores the significant decrease in gas emissions made by the US WTE industry because of the adoption of the US EPA regulations for Maximum Available Control Technology and by the fact that current legislation does not acknowledge the significant environmental benefits of WTE, in terms of energy generation, environmental quality, and reduction of greenhouse gases. Significant improvements in WTE technology have been made in recent years, including the utilization of flue gas recirculation and the construction of new plants that will utilise oxygen enrichment of the main air. This group brings together universities that are interested in waste management. The Council was established because of the significance of WTE in the international drive for sustainable development. The Council began its operations by compiling a list of the available research resources as well as the global WTE market. Enhancing the economic and environmental performance of technologies that can be utilized to recover materials and energy from solid wastes is the Council’s overarching objective.


[1] European Union, Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste, the landfill of waste,

Official Journal of the European Official Journal of the European Communities Communities, pp. L182/1-19 (July 1999).

[2] International Solid Wastes Association, Energy from Waste, State-of-the Art Report, www.wte.org

[3] Bonomo, A., WTE Advances: “The Experience of Brescia WTE Advances: The Experience of Brescia” (April 2003), Keynote presentation at the 11th North American Waste-to-Energy Conference, Tampa FL.

[4] Nickolas J. Themelis in Waste Management World (www.iswa.org), 2003-2004. Review Issue, July-August 2003, p. 40-47

[5] International Solid Wastes Association, Energy from Waste, State-of-the-Art Report, www.wte.org.

[6] Themelis, N.J. and H.Y. Kim, “Material and Energy Balances in a Large-scale Aerobic Bioconversion

Cell”, Waste Management and Research, 2002, 20:234-242.

[7] Franklin Associates, “The role of recycling in integrated waste: The role of recycling in integrated waste management in the US”, Rep. management in the US, Rep. EPA/530-R-96-001 EPA/530-R-96-001, USEPA, Munic. Industrial Waste Division, Washington, DC. 1995.

[8] Martin GmbH, www.martingmbh.de.

[9] Waste to energy plant in Brescia, Lombardy – Italy Stock Photo – Alamy

A Visit to South African Green Buildings

A Visit to South African Green Buildings

Abstract

Renewable development has evolved into a typical understanding of the idealistic approach for human long-term development due to the acceleration of the depletion of global energy supplies and the worsening of the climate crisis. The construction industry’s buzzword has been “green building.” Urban construction is moving quickly, and green building is urgently needed. In recent years, green buildings have emerged as a crucial element in the quest for improved durability through increased reliance on renewable energy sources. Several nations have established their own green building councils and guidelines as a general outcome of contributing to the development of green building fundamental concepts. The building industry is responsible for several harmful environmental issues worldwide, and South Africa is no different. To address these issues, which continuously endanger the wellbeing and existence of both people and the natural world, sustainability principles have been introduced. As a sustainable idea, “green building” seeks to address socio-economic challenges as well as environmental ones in the created environment. This short paper assesses the benefits and drivers of implementing green building projects in South Africa. The paper also seeks to highlight a structure that must undoubtedly meet several requirements to be labelled as green, but what are these requirements? What attributes distinguish a green building? It further demonstrates how we can better comprehend how the Green Building Index (G-B-I) rating tool works to lessen a building’s carbon footprint by outlining the six requirements that make a building green. The paper also explains some reasons why green buildings aren’t just good for the planet, as well as how green buildings can help fight climate change. Data were obtained and analysed from books, publications, articles, and reports.

Introduction

A “green” building is one that minimizes or eliminates harmful effects on our climate and natural environment during design, construction, or operation. It can also have positive effects. Green structures protect priceless natural resources and raise our standard of living. The green building strategy, also referred to as sustainable building encourages ecologically friendly and resource-conserving techniques that endure the entire life of a project.

A network of high-quality natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features, built and managed to provide a variety of ecosystem services and safeguard biodiversity in both rural and urban settings, can be widely referred to as “green infrastructure.” In addition to improving community safety and quality of life, green infrastructure is efficient and cost-effective. The goal of green infrastructure, which is a physical structure that allows people to benefit from nature, is to improve nature’s capacity to provide a variety of essential ecosystem goods and services, such as clean water and air.

The nation’s economy is primarily supported by the construction industry, which plays a vital part in that. It is common knowledge that the building sector requires important inputs and outputs.

Providing pertinent structures like schools, hospitals, and other important facilities, which are employed to create commodities and services for the populace, helps to shape the socioeconomics of the residents.[1] But both the people inside and the building itself are affected by the building’s location, materials utilized, and construction methods[2]. The industry has a negative impact on the environment, the economy, and society despite the beneficial inputs and output activities. The building industry uses around 40% of the energy consumed worldwide and emits 30% of greenhouse gases annually, according to the United Nations Environment Programme[3]. Cement and steel are overused in the construction business.

The extensive resource use of developing nations like South Africa results in air and water pollution, land degradation, excessive energy consumption, and the extinction of the wildlife habitat[4]. The concept of green building was developed by professionals in the construction industry to address the need for environmental compliance and attempt to mitigate the consequences of global warming by creating environmentally-friendly infrastructure[5].

Environmental, economic, and social sustainability are the three pillars that make up sustainable development. A crucial tactic for reducing adverse effects and enhancing the sustainability of the construction sector is green building[6]. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency[7], green building is the practice of designing buildings and implementing procedures that are resource- and environmentally conscious throughout a facility’s life cycle. Green construction can lessen carbon dioxide emissions, energy use, water and air pollution, excessive raw material consumption, and other harmful effects on the environment. Implementing and constructing more green structures in developing nations like Ghana and South Africa saves money because they will eventually have a less carbon footprint. The recent construction of infrastructure has given special attention to the green building idea to promote healthy, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly practices[8]. Due to urbanization and rising energy consumption, it has become essential for the construction sector to implement the green building idea. This study aims to evaluate the advantages and motivators of putting green building initiatives into practice in South Africa.

  1. What are Sustainability Construction and Green Building?

Sustainability is a term used to describe actions taken with the intention of achieving eco-friendliness[9]. The building sector can harm the environment by producing trash, using too many natural resources, polluting the air and water, and causing other environmental harm[10]. It involves the overuse of raw materials, which degrades the land and pollutes the atmosphere.

Green buildings are planned, constructed, and operated to increase productivity and the health and well-being of occupants[11].

2. Benefits of Green Buildings Projects

According to the United Nations Environment Programme[12], the world’s population is expected to expand from 7 billion to 9 billion people by the year 2050. The environment will be strained because of tremendous air and water pollution brought on by population growth. Additionally, it overtaxes the ecosystem by increasing the demand for water, energy, and natural resources. The advantages of green construction are numerous and include the sustainability facets of the economics, environment, and society[13],[14]. Researchers suggested that green construction outperforms conventional building from the building life cycle perspective, and they found several advantages associated with green architecture. Reduced water and energy use, lower maintenance and operating expenses enhanced health and increased production efficiency all have financial advantages that outweigh the additional construction costs needed to satisfy green design standards by a factor of ten.

Additionally, it is asserted that using green building practices results in energy savings of around 30%. Furthermore, Yudelson J, (2010)[15] claims that green buildings utilize between 30 and 50 percent less water and energy than traditional structures. According to a study by Madew R, (2006)[16], energy and water consumption in buildings is reduced by about 60% in green buildings, which greatly lowers operating expenses. He continued by mentioning that green buildings have higher market values of 10% and higher rental rates that vary from 5% to 10%. There are six green buildings using from 25 percent to 75 percent less energy and code-compliant buildings in the United States[17]. Adding to this, Ries R., and Ors., (2006)[18] found that green manufacturing facility by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Buildings (LEED) green rating system reduces energy by 30 percent and increases the productivity of the employees by 25 percent. Like in developed countries, developing countries can benefit greatly from green buildings.

3. Drivers of Green Building

Green building techniques have been steadily used in recent years to reduce the detrimental effects of the construction industry on the environment, the economy, and society. A better and more thorough comprehension of the factors influencing the implementation of green building technologies is required to promote their wide adoption. According to a study by Love[19], the need to improve occupant health and well-being, enhance multidisciplinary collaboration, raise awareness of non-renewable resources, lower total life cycle costs, market research and landmark development, and draw in high-end customers and rental returns are the driving forces behind a green building in Australia. Energy conservation, resource conservation, and waste reduction are the major forces of sustainable construction, according to Manoliadis and Ors., (2006)[20]. Additionally, Zhang X. and Ors., (2011)[21] revealed that the most significant driving factors of green building in the Chinese built environment sector are developing unique green products, reducing construction costs, gaining a competitive advantage, committing to corporate social responsibility, and lowering maintenance costs. According to Serpell[22], in Chile, corporate image, cost containment, and market differentiation are the main forces behind green building. According to Bond[23], the factors that influence sustainable development in New Zealand’s commercial real estate include ecological consequences, tenant demand, financial benefits, corporate social responsibility, and individual beliefs. Based on earlier studies into sustainability, Falkenbach[24] divided the forces behind green buildings into external, corporate, and property-level forces.

i. External Green Building Drivers

The drives that are established by organizations like the United Nations (UN), governments, trade unions, organizations, and businesses engaged in green construction are referred to as external drivers. In recent years, numerous governments have increased their involvement in the creation of green buildings. As a part of encouraging green building technology and energy efficiency, governments also created legislation and policies that provide incentives[25]. In many nations, the green construction phenomenon is spreading, and it is anticipated to expand and incorporate additional regulatory requirements[26]. The necessity to lower the energy consumption of the traditional structures led Europe to be the first region to develop legislation that mandates energy efficiency and comfort upgrades of the buildings[27]. The effectiveness of governmental laws and policies in fostering and advancing knowledge of green building has been demonstrated[28]. The United Nations (UN) has endorsed the Kyoto Protocol, an international policy that calls on all state parties to agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions internationally[29], one of the laws influencing the development and use of green buildings.

ii. Corporate-Level Green Building Drivers

One corporate-level driver that was mentioned by Falkenbach H. and Ors. (2010),[30] is image benefit. One approach to give the property a competitive edge is through uniqueness. In order to succeed in their respective industries, corporations must build a solid reputation. According to Andelin[31], a firm’s corporate image represents its ideals and determines how marketable the company and its goods are. According to Zhang and Ors.,[32] a company’s dedication to green building can be a positive reflection on the organization and developing a positive reputation and being more competitive demands one to adopt a smart green business plan. The business image, culture, and vision are the three main motivators for adopting green construction methods. Investment in green building and achieving high standards for social and environmental performance that draw customers and enhance organizational culture are key drivers for organizations to adopt green building.[33],[34]. A positive public image was found to be the most important factor for construction enterprises to consider when thinking about green practices, according to a study conducted in South Africa[35] A business can improve its reputation by demonstrating its commitment to social responsibility.

iii. Property-Level Green Building Drivers

Due to the advantages green buildings provide, such as reduced environmental impact and higher occupancy costs, stakeholders including tenants are requesting them.

By lowering expenses, raising revenue, and lowering capitalization rates, according to Reed[36], stakeholders can maximize the capital value of the structures. The green building market is driven by the ability of green buildings to lower building operations and maintenance expenses.

4. Criteria that make a building green & reduce its carbon footprint

Reducing a building’s carbon footprint is the goal of the Green Building Index (G-B-I) assessment system. It lists the six criteria that a building must meet to be considered green in Malaysia. What are the criteria that a building must meet in order to be designated as green?

To begin with, a building must maximize its orientation to harvest as much natural light as possible, minimize solar heat gain, and employ renewable energy in building services. The air quality, acoustics, visual comforts, and thermal comforts must all be considered by architects to create a high-quality indoor environment. Also, having good parks and landscaping with greenery and plants fosters a healthy atmosphere. In addition, living close to public transportation encourages individuals to use this type of transportation rather than purchasing their own automobile. Furthermore, reusing and recycling existing materials can help you avoid making new ones, which lowers carbon emissions.

The building needs to be reviewed for a time of at least every three years to maintain its G-B-I certification reason being that a building is given a rating of Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum depending on its score (out of 100).

Future construction will be characterized by green architecture, as everyone aspires to do their part to protect the environment. An environment that is greener and healthier for everyone is a result of more green buildings, which also means a more sustainable lifestyle with lower carbon emissions. Having a green home is a great place to start if we want to make a difference without having to travel far.

5. Why green buildings are beneficial to society as a whole?

The advantages of green buildings for energy savings are now generally acknowledged. According to a study, green buildings can lower city temperatures by up to 2°C. People living in frigid climates may benefit from green buildings since they provide the same advantages as spending time in nature. With plants covering the roof, an uninsulated structure can save money by using up to 5% less energy for heating in the winter. Even in relatively chilly places like Toronto or New York, planting 50% of the roof would help to lower the area’s summertime temperature by around 1°C.

Also, for improved air quality­, indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental threats to human health, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For instance, in downtown Toronto, a 20% increase in the surface area of green walls and rooftops could significantly reduce indoor air pollution.

Faster recoveries are another advantage of green building. It reveals that hospitals with green infrastructures, like an ornamental green wall, have shorter average hospital stays, quicker recovery times and lower rates of secondary infections. Plants also improve acoustics, aesthetics, and air quality, as well as energise the medical professionals who work there.

Another added advantage of green building is lower emissions. This reveals that a green-certified building emits 62% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the typical Australian building due to the addition of green walls, roofs, and other low-energy interventions. Plants on building roofs and courtyards, as well as permeable outdoor surfaces like soil, rock wool, and vermiculite minimize echoes.

6. How green buildings can help fight climate change

2016 and 2020 were the warmest years since records began, according to NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Buildings produce close to 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. By building sustainably, we can increase the resilience of our homes and communities while reducing the contribution that buildings make to climate change.

Green buildings generate less greenhouse gas:

A structure’s planning, design, construction, operations, and end-of-life recycling or renewal, while considering energy, water, indoor environmental quality, material choice, and location, are all included in a green building. Green communities and buildings encourage the establishment and preservation of vegetated land areas and roofs, as well as the reduction of trash sent to landfills. High-performing green structures, in particular LEED-certified structures, offer the means to lessen the effects of buildings and occupants on the climate.

Buildings constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards produce fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) than buildings constructed conventionally, according to a study. The credits that promote compact construction and connectivity to amenities and transit help reduce the GHGs related to transportation. The energy—and GHGs—needed to remove, treat, and pump the water from the source to the building are saved when a building uses less water. Additionally, the amount of fuel used to transport materials to and from the structure is reduced.

Beyond what energy efficiency alone does, each of these methods greatly lowers the carbon footprint of buildings and their occupants. Further reductions can be achieved by giving residents feedback through systems like Arc, which displays a building’s environmental efforts and performance. Green construction can contribute to the fight against global warming. Discover more about LEED and the green buildings in your area by looking through the LEED project database.

Conclusion

According to this paper’s findings, the top five advantages of implementing green building projects include better indoor air quality, ecosystem protection, increased energy efficiency, improved health and well-being of occupants, and reduced CO2 emissions. The most important factors influencing the adoption of green building projects are the expansion of financing options, the expansion of the market for green goods and materials, the provision of economic incentives, education and training about green building technologies, and the affordability of green building materials. The results of this study will aid in raising awareness and promoting the adoption and execution of green building initiatives, which could address the serious environmental problems brought on by the operations of the construction sector.


[1] Ofori, G., 2012. Developing the Construction Industry in Ghana: the case for a central agency. A concept paper prepared for improving the construction industry in Ghana. National University of Singapore, 3-18.

[2] Choi, C., 2009. Removing market barriers to green development: principles and action projects to promote widespread adoption of green development practices. Journal of Sustainable Real Estate, 1(1), 107-138.

[3] UNEP, 2011. Towards a green economy: Pathways to sustainable development and poverty eradication. Nairobi, Kenya: UNEP.

[4] See footnote 1 and 5 below.

[5] Gunnell, K., Du Plessis, C. and Gibberd, J., 2009. Green building in South Africa: emerging trends. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT).

[6] Shen, L., Yan, H., Fan, H., Wu, Y. and Zhang, Y., 2017. An integrated system of text mining technique and case-based reasoning (TM-CBR) for supporting green building design. Building and Environment, 124, 388-401.

[7] USEPA, 2016. Definition of Green Building (Mar. 28, 2017). https://archive.epa.gov/greenbuilding/web/html/about.html.

[8] Darko, A. and Chan, A.P., 2016. Critical analysis of green building research trend in construction journals. Habitat International, 57, 53-63.

[9] De Schrijver, R.E.M. (2009). Green public procurement. The Netherlands: Amersfoort. Developer’s perspective in China. J. Manag. Eng. 31(3).

[10] Aigbavboa, C., Ohiomah, I. and Zwane, T., 2017. Sustainable Construction Practices: “A Lazy View” of Construction Professionals in the South Africa Construction Industry. Energy Procedia, 105, 3003-3010.

[11] MacNaughton, P., Spengler, J., Vallarino, J., Santanam, S., Satish, U. and Allen, J., 2016. Environmental perceptions and health before and after relocation to a green building. Building and environment, 104, 138-144.

[12] See footnote 3

[13] Ibid

[14] Ibrahim, M., El-Zaart, A. and Adams, C., 2018. Smart sustainable cities roadmap: Readiness for transformation towards urban sustainability. Sustainable cities and society, 37, 530-540.

[15] Yudelson, J., 2010. The business case for green buildings. In Sustainable investment and places–Best practices in Europe (88-91). Union Investment Real Estate AG Hamburg.

[16] Madew, R., 2006. The Dollars and Sense of Green Buildings, A report for the Green Building Council of Australia. Green Building Council of Australia.

[17] Torcellini, P., Pless, S., Deru, M., Griffith, B., Long, N. and Judkoff, R., 2006. Lessons learned from case studies of six high-performance buildings (No. NREL/TP-550-37542). National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States).

[18] Ries, R., Bilec, M.M., Gokhan, N.M. and Needy, K.L., 2006. The economic benefits of green buildings: a comprehensive case study. The Engineering Economist, 51(3), 259- 295.

[19] Love, P.E., Niedzweicki, M., Bullen, P.A. and Edwards, D.J., 2011. Achieving the green building council of Australia’s world leadership rating in an office building in Perth. Journal of construction engineering and management, 138(5), 652-660.

[20] Manoliadis, O., Tsolas, I. and Nakou, A., 2006. Sustainable construction and drivers of change in Greece: a Delphi study. Construction Management and Economics, 24(2), 113- 120.

[21] Zhang, X., Platten, A. and Shen, L., 2011. Green property development practice in China: costs and barriers. Building and environment, 46(11), 2153-2160.

[22] Serpell, A., Kort, J. and Vera, S., 2013. Awareness, actions, drivers and barriers of sustainable construction in Chile. Technological and Economic Development of Economy, 19(2),.272-288.

[23] Bond, S. and Perrett, G., 2012. The key drivers and barriers to the sustainable development of commercial property in New Zealand. Journal of sustainable real estate, 4(1), 48-77.

[24] Falkenbach, H., Lindholm, A.L. and Schleich, H., 2010. Review articles: environmental sustainability: drivers for the real estate investor. Journal of Real Estate Literature, 18(2), 201-223.

[25] DuBose, J.R., Bosch, S.J. and Pearce, A.R., 2007. Analysis of state-wide green building policies. Journal of Green Building, 2(2), 161-177.

[26] Andelin, M., Sarasoja, A.L., Ventovuori, T. and Junnila, S., 2015. Breaking the circle of blame for sustainable buildings–evidence from Nordic countries. Journal of corporate real estate, 17(1), 26-45.

[27] Allouhi, A., El Fouih, Y., Kousksou, T., Jamil, A., Zeraouli, Y. and Mourad, Y., 2015. Energy consumption and efficiency in buildings: current status and future trends. Journal of Cleaner production, 109, 118-130.

[28] Arif, M., Bendi, D., Toma-Sabbagh, T. and Sutrisna, M., 2012. Construction waste management in India: an exploratory study. Construction Innovation, 12(2), 133-155.

[29] Parnell, P., 2005, April. Sustainability: what’s the fuss all about? In RICS annual conference.

[30] Falkenbach, H., Lindholm, A.L. and Schleich, H., 2010. Review articles: environmental sustainability: drivers for the real estate investor. Journal of Real Estate Literature, 18(2), 201-223.

[31] Andelin, M., Sarasoja, A.L., Ventovuori, T. and Junnila, S., 2015. Breaking the circle of the blame for sustainable buildings–evidence from Nordic countries. Journal of corporate real estate, 17(1), 26-45.

[32] See footnote 21 supra.

[33] Gou, Z., Lau, S.S.Y. and Prasad, D., 2013. Market readiness and policy implications for green buildings: case study from Hong Kong. Journal of Green Building, 8(2), 162-173.

[34] Hwang, B.G., Zhao, X. and Tan, L.L.G., 2015. Green building projects: Schedule performance, influential factors and solutions. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 22(3), 327-346.

[35] Windapo, A.O. and Goulding, J.S., 2015. Understanding the gap between green building practice and legislation requirements in South Africa. Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, 4(1), 67-96.

[36] Reed, R.G. and Wilkinson, S.J., 2005. The increasing importance of sustainability for building ownership. Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 7(4), 339-350.

Energy Crisis in Africa: the case of Comoros

Energy Crisis in Africa: the case of Comoros

                           Abstract

Energy has long been regarded as an important factor in a country’s social and economic growth. This is still evident today, and it is especially true for weak, non-interconnected areas, such as small island republics. Comoros’s energy status, just like several other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) around the world, is heavily reliant on fossil fuel imports. From the standpoint of sustainability, availability, and affordability, energy security is critical to the archipelago’s socio-economic prosperity. The development of renewable electricity generation appears to be a crucial prerequisite for ensuring a sustainable future as a forward-looking response to energy vulnerability. The potential for renewable energy in Comoros has yet to be investigated. The main problem is that there have never been any reliable energy statistics in the past. As a result, socioeconomic data were obtained and analysed through books, reports, publications, and the World Bank database, among other sources. Meetings and interactions with various energy players in Comoros, as well as published sources, provided most of the data used. The potential for solar or wind energy production was calculated using online geographic information systems (GIS) or freely available open-source software. Despite the enormous potential for renewable energy, hydropower only accounts for 3.8 per cent of the Comorian electrical supply. This article presents an analysis of the energy situation in Comoros, with a focus on renewable energy options to help with the green power supply. The goal of this article is to discuss the steps that are being taken in Comoros to address the present energy crisis as well as to contribute to the construction of a conducive climate for the private sector to participate in the development of renewable energy in the country. The findings of this paper reveal that only 8% of the people in Comoros have access to electricity, with the three islands servicing only 8% of the population (Grande Comore, Moheli and Anjouan). Despite the vast potential of many resources, this study concludes that renewable energies are infrequently utilized. Finally, this study makes recommendations for Comoros to achieve a more sustainable future.

Introduction

Despite having one of Africa’s highest electrification rates, the Union of Comoros faces a particularly difficult energy scenario. Comoros has the greatest rate of energy loss and the lowest cost recovery rate in Africa. It is estimated that 48% of the electricity generated is wasted, with just 33% of the energy sold being paid for. The enormous power shortage, which acts as a key impediment to the country’s socio-economic development, is one of the most important concerns to overcome in achieving Comoros’ growth possibilities. Due to a structural problem of high generation costs and ineffective sector management, Comoros’ power sector is experiencing an energy crisis. The country’s dependence on fossil fuels and the worn-out national power grid, which is inadequately operated and maintained, hinder socioeconomic development in an already fragile environment. The larger cities and the capital Moroni regularly experience power outages lasting several hours per day.

Comoros is an archipelago, and its geography lends itself to a decentralized power grid with different levels of government on each island. However, the large inventory of public buildings owned by the Comoros government can be used to install solar energy systems and address the energy crisis. In addition to public buildings, mosques account for a significant portion of total electricity consumption in a country where nearly 98% of the population is Muslim and attendance at a mosque in central to religious rituals, practices, and a sense of community. “Public buildings account for about 15% of daily national energy consumption,” said Mohamed Nassur, Director of Energy at the Comoros Ministry of Energy, Water and Hydrocarbons. “Reducing national energy costs by promoting renewable energy will contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The technical assistance provided to Comoros following the Climate Investment Platform’s call for proposals will help the General Directorate of Energy, Mines and Water identify its own consumption needs. For a period of six months, the project Green, and Smart Administration: promoting self-production and self-consumption in public institutions (administration and large mosques) in Comoros will identify energy demand and consumption in public and religious buildings on the three islands of Ngazidja, Anjouan and Mohéli.

The Ministry will use the results of the feasibility study to implement individual and collective self-consumption and, if possible, self-production in all public institutions of the Union of Comoros. “The performance of public administrations is at the mercy of unstable electricity supply. Promoting clean energy will contribute to the national goal of increasing renewable energy supply – and it will also help increase government performance and efficiency. The Climate Investment Platform’s Thomas Jensen Energy Transition Award is a significant step toward more comprehensive and informed climate change initiatives. It will help promote energy conservation and green practices that have the potential to be replicated in other public sectors across the country,” added Fenella Frost, UNDP Representative to Comoros. Mohamed Oussein Dahalani, Imam of the Grand Mosque of Moroni, emphasized the role of clean energy in supporting the mission of large mosques to promote sustainable development initiatives for the well-being of the community and its environment. The unreliability of the current electricity grid and the high cost of electricity make the possibility of switching or incorporating more renewable energy into the energy mix very attractive. The CIP-funded project will contribute to the National Contributions formulated by Comoros.

Methods

As already mentioned, the renewable energy potential of Comoros has yet to be investigated. The main issue is that there have never been any reliable energy statistics in the past. As a result, socioeconomic information was gathered using the World Bank database. Meetings and interactions with various energy players in Comoros, as well as published sources, provided most of the data used. The potential for solar or wind energy production was calculated using online geographic information systems (GIS) or freely available open-source software.

Prior to the current energy scenario in Comoros, which is characterized by significant spatial inequalities in terms of energy security and economic development throughout the three islands, the Union of Comoros continues to focus on the issue of sustainable electricity.

In the coming years, Comoros’ main task will be to achieve a balance between the quality of its electricity supply and the growth of a low-carbon energy sector. Despite its enormous potential, the Comoros electrical sector must develop critical solutions to address the financial, management, and governance challenges that continue to hinder renewable energy development, especially in rural areas. In comparison to islands in the Indian Ocean that are close by, such as Mauritius[1], Madagascar[2], and La Reunion[3], Comoros has a negligible share of renewable energy (see Table 1).

Table 1: Energy use by source in 2016[4]

ResourcesEnergy (toe)Share (%)
Liquified Petroleum Gas8310,56
Diesel2975920,07
Gasoline112747,60
Oil/Jet fuel1641611,07
Dry wood8981660,58
Renewable energy1550,10
Coal63384,28

Results

There is no explicit policy in place in Comoros to encourage the development of renewable energy sources. This is because of three major issues. To begin with, the country’s economic situation is dire. The country is plagued by structural flaws, and the economy remains unstable, limiting the country’s ability to invest in its development. Second, political instability is a barrier to foreign capital investment and the long-term viability of major policy directions, particularly in the energy sector. Third, developing an energy strategy necessitates precise statistical data on the territory, which is currently missing. In June 2017[5], the Comorian government conducted its first national energy conference, despite all these disadvantages. The government reaffirmed its willingness to guide the country out of its precarious energy predicament during this gathering.

The government has rallied energy stakeholders around Comoro’s Horizon 2030, a medium-term strategic objective. The Ministry of Energy is currently in charge of the electricity delivery. However, the country receives foreign cash on a regular basis to enhance and renew these facilities. The biggest issue until now has been meeting electricity needs with fossil fuel power plants. It is critical to adopt a real energy policy to lay the groundwork for long-term energy planning. The energy sector, however, is not governed by any laws or regulations. As a result, it is critical to developing an incentive as well as an appealing legal structure. Because of the importance of initial investment for investors, this framework is very crucial. A constant challenge with SIDS, as described by Surroop[6], is a lack of political will to begin significant change. Comoros is no different. The establishment of a true political agenda, together with power sector reorganization, would be the first step toward a decarbonized society in the short future. Furthermore, it appears that establishing an independent regulatory framework in which policy decisions and investments may be openly assessed to evaluate whether the established aims are being met is critical. As a result, the creation of a new framework should provide an economic incentive for the energy sector’s harmonic and long-term development. In a vulnerable area like Comoros, economic assistance mechanisms are required in addition to political aspirations to attain electrically self-sufficient islands[7]. Unfortunately, despite the 2017 Energy Conference, the first signs of such a transition have yet to emerge, and the 2017 ambitions have yet to be reflected in national legal frameworks. Therefore, Comoros, like many small islands, must forsake its monolithic energy policy. This strategy has proven structurally cumbersome for many years. To confront the problems of transformation, the country must adjust swiftly. The energy vulnerabilities of Comoros are threefold. To begin with, the high cost of carbon-based power (0.24e/kWh) is attributable to a malfunctioning distribution network. More than 40% of the losses are due to this bad state. These prices are currently the most expensive in the region. However, the region’s reliance on fossil fuels puts it sensitive to global market price swings. Finally, more than 65% of electricity generation is financed by the government. This assistance is impeding the area’s long-term growth. This is because other vital issues, such as access to clean water or mother and child health, are hampered by the energy sector’s resource constraints.

Discussion

What steps are being taken in Comoros to address the present energy crisis?[8]

To offer basic services to the country, it is critical to address the energy crisis. In this sector, reforms are in the works. The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) choice to concentrate solely on the energy sector in its 2011-2015 country plan demonstrates improvement. They are, nevertheless, insufficient. As a result, the AfDB convened a high-level conference with the Comorian government as well as important technical and financial partners[9].

The Union of Comoros’ Vice President and Minister of Finance, as well as representatives from the public and private sectors, donors such as the World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, and the AfDB President, will discuss strategic issues and questions related to the country’s energy sector’s long-term development. A high-level meeting was conducted at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan seven years ago to consider solutions to Comoros’ energy crisis[10]. The importance of the private sector in the country’s ailing energy industry was underlined at the meeting.

First Vice President of the African Development Bank, Emmanuel Mbi, stated, “The AfDB is dedicated to assisting Comoros’ energy sector and advancing the coordination of development partners and private sector initiatives. Increased energy production and sustainable and equitable growth require the cooperation of the private sector.” Comoros suffers from a chronic energy shortage, which has hampered the country’s socio-economic progress”[11]. The country has the continent’s greatest energy loss rate and the lowest cost recovery rate. Only 33% of the energy sold is actually paid for, even though 48% of the electricity generated is lost. According to estimates from the Ministry of Energy, roughly 80% of the country is without power, and output levels are almost non-existent. Consumers have access to energy for only five hours every four days, while individuals in remote areas go a month without it. The country’s health sector is likewise being impacted by the energy crisis. The country’s largest public maternity hospital was without power, forcing it to close. “The generator that serves the facility failed, and the staff refused to work with candlelight.”

Woman gives birth on expressway after being kicked out of car - People's  Daily OnlineWomen are now giving birth in automobiles or elsewhere because they cannot afford to give birth at a private hospital, which is too expensive, according to Alfeine Siti Soifiat of the Comoros Planning Office.

The committee stated that numerous generators are out of operation due to lack of maintenance, high operating expenses, and frequent fuel shortages, among other flaws in the country’s power-producing systems. Abdou Nassur, the Minister of Energy, argued for a shift to alternative energy sources. “We can’t rely on a single energy source.” “To meet our country’s energy needs, we need more than one source,” he stated.

The African Association of Energy Producers, whose leader Hickem Jemai advocated for the use of coal because it is less expensive, also welcomed the diversity of energy sources. President Donald Kaberuka of the African Development Bank recently urged for the financing of coal-fired power facilities in a meeting with journalists in London. The use of geothermal energy is also being investigated. Development partners, energy business officials, and the private sector, among others, attended the AfDB and Comoros government’s high-level dialogue. The conference will act as a forum for building a framework for tackling the issues that Comoros’ energy industry is facing to strengthen its contribution to development.

Conclusion:

Due to global concerns, Indian Ocean islands are becoming increasingly engaged in energy security and ecological issues. Comoros, like Madagascar, Mauritius, and La Reunion, has recently focused its efforts on converting to renewable energy across its whole territory. This article gives policymakers a detailed picture of Comoros’ energy status. Another goal of this article is to showcase the Comoros archipelago’s potential for incorporating renewable energy into its energy industry. Fossil fuels and hydropower are currently the main energy suppliers in Comoros. In the case of Comoros, some conclusions can be drawn. The first objective is to give an overview of the data and the potential for the development of renewable technologies in the Comoros archipelago. This first step allowed us to characterize the territory and build a reliable database that we are currently using to generate scenarios for Comoros’ electricity autonomy by 2050. One of the biggest issues we identified in 2017 was the availability and reliability of online information about the archipelago. As Dornan[12] points out, external assistance and national energy policies are the key elements that can shape the energy transition for SIDS. Comoros is not just sensitive to the consequences of climate change, but also to global energy price volatility due to its weak socioeconomic status. Furthermore, particularly in non-interconnected areas like Comoros, the link between energy and regional growth is obvious. Several studies have identified remoteness and a small population as barriers to development and energy transitions. A territory like Comoros provides an excellent opportunity to develop new energy policies that promote the use of renewable energy sources. In contrast to Europe’s monolithic energy governance frameworks, the consequences of urgent decisions in Comoros will have a swift impact on the country[13]. As a result, the Union of Comoros must diversify its energy mix as quickly as feasible by using renewable energy sources. According to this article, the three islands have the potential to develop solar, biomass, wind, and geothermal energy. This, however, demands the establishment of both regulatory and investment incentives. These developments will need the creation of a proactive energy strategy that allows for the setting of short- and medium-term targets within the energy planning framework. Further research will strengthen the development of this potential by defining energy scenarios. By 2050, one will be able to propose a steady evolution of the energy mix based on these and later findings.


[1] D. Surroop, P. Raghoo, “Energy landscape in Mauritius”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 73 (2017) 688–694. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2017.01.175. URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2017.01.175

[2] J. P. Praene, M. H. Radanielina, V. R. Rakotoson, A. L. Andriamamonjy, F. Sinama, 22 D. Morau, H. T. Rakotondramiarana, “Electricity generation from renewables in Madagascar: Opportunities and projections”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 (2017) 1066–1079. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2017.03.125.

[3] F. B´enard-Sora, J. P. Praene, “Territorial analysis of energy consumption of a small remote island: Proposal for classification and highlighting consumption profiles”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 59 (2016) 636–648. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2016.01.008. URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2016.01.008.

[4] M. de l’énergie des Comores, Rapport des assises nationales de l’energie, Tech. rep., Gouvernemnent Union des Comores (2017).

[5] U. des Comores, Rapport des assises nationales de l’énergie en Union des Comores, Tech. rep., Comoros (2017).

[6] D. Surroop, P. Raghoo, F. Wolf, K. U. Shah, P. Jeetah, “Energy access in small island developing states: Status, barriers and policy measures”, Environmental Development 27 (2018) 58–69. doi:10.1016/j.envdev.2018.07.003. URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envdev.2018.07.003

[7] Y. Simsek, A. Lorca, T. Urmee, P. A. Bahri, R. Escobar, “Review and assessment of energy policy developments in Chile”, Energy Policy 127 (2019) 87–101. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2018.11.058. URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2018.11.058

[8] https://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/tackling-the-challenges-of-the-current-energy-crisis-in-the-comoros-14078.

[9] AfDB convened a high-level meeting on March 25 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Discussions to reform ailing energy industry in the Comoros, 27-Mar-2015.

[12] M. Dornan, K. U. Shah, “Energy policy, aid, and the development of renewable energy resources in Small Island Developing States”, Energy Policy 98 (2016) 759–767. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2016.05.035.

[13] A. Ioannidis, K. J. Chalvatzis, X. Li, G. Notton, P. Stephanides, “The case for islands’ energy vulnerability: Electricity supply diversity in 44 global islands”, Renewable Energy 143 (2019) 440–452.

doi:10.1016/j.renene.2019.04.155. URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2019.04.155

Sustainable development: the African journey towards sustainability

Sustainable development: the African journey towards sustainability

                           Abstract

Sustainable development (SD) has increasingly played a key background role in government policy making across the world, especially for the least developed countries in Africa. This paper examines the SD of African countries in public life, education, and welfare, and helps policy makers better monitor the status of SD and formulate development policies in these aspects. The paper first proposes a new method to assess the SD in public life, education, and welfare. Then it assesses and analyzes the Sustainable Development of African countries. The findings of this paper are situated both in the context of prior studies and in relation to opportunities for further academic study. The findings however reveal three issues: first, that there was a positive correlation between income level and SD across African countries; second, that the most SD leading countries were in South and North Africa, while most low SD countries were in the middle; and third, that there were different characteristics of SD status between North African and Sub-Saharan African countries. This paper discusses an important research question that needed to be discussed: What should Africa do to rectify its development trajectory and to make economic development more inclusive? And made comparison between African countries and the countries in other continents. This paper suggests the following possible recommendations. First, the basis of all development is the establishment of a stable political power for those countries still in political chaos. Second, following the practices of European and other developed countries, establishing and improving the judicial, economic, and fiscal institutional systems in combination with the characteristics and development situation of their own countries is vital. After that, taking economic growth as the priority of national development, and establishing economic and trade cooperation with Europe, the United States, China, and other more developed countries is needed. Lastly, the government should pay more attention to sustainable development in public life, education, and welfare when the economic and income level reaches a certain stage.

Keywords: Sustainable development (SD), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), environmental sustainability

Introduction

Sustainability-related efforts remain central to development, and their accomplishment varies across places for a variety of reasons including climatic and geographic differences. This variability makes a regional focus important[1]. With the adoption of the SDGs in September 2015, Africa made commitments to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Africa Union Agenda 2063. It always faced a steep climb, its starting point being lower than the rest of the world’s. The continent was at a crossroads, with low tax revenues in relation to GDP at one end of the problem and enormous development needs at the other. The SDGs were conceptualized and adopted during a period of tight global economic and financial conditions. Recent analysis of the SDGs, including the previous Sustainable Development Goal Centre for Africa (SDGCA) reports on the 2030 Agenda and the first Africa SDG Index 2018, shows that African countries still lag in terms of achieving the SDGs, with different countries facing different problems.[2]

Despite the widespread adoption of, and the progress toward the SDGs, Africa continues to lag in most of the world when it comes to social and economic development. In fact, a recent report by the SDGCA — “Africa 2030: Sustainable Development Goals Three-Year Reality Check”—reveals that minimal progress has been made and, in some instances, there is complete stagnation. More than half of the global poor (those who earn under $1.90 PPP per day) are found in Africa. One in three Africans is at the risk of food insecurity (Begashaw 2019). According to Begashaw, Africa is relatively on track to meet three goals: SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 13 (climate action), and SDG 15 (life on land). In fact, the SDG Centre’s forecasts (for the SDGs for which we have sufficient data: poverty, malnutrition, maternal mortality, net school enrolment, access to electricity, and access to drinking water) show that all African regions except North Africa are unlikely to meet the SDGs. The struggle is more pronounced for Central Africa across all the goals.

Economic Growth and Human Development Gaps

The region’s growth over the SDG period was well below the SDG target of 7 percent per year and below the historical long-term average. In 2016—the year after the adoption of the SDGs—the sub-Saharan African region’s growth dropped to 1.4 percent. Globalization (migration, trade, and finance) has been under pressure or even reversing; China’s growth, which historically has been positively correlated with Africa’s, has decelerated in recent years; global trade growth has also dwindled; commodity prices remain depressed; and climatic conditions remain unfavourable. At the same time, social inclusion continues to be outstripped by population growth, impeding structural transformation and future productivity. Twenty-eight African countries are categorized as low income and 37 as having low human development (Begashaw 2019).

A child born in Africa today is still at risk of not receiving a full, high-quality education or decent health care. An African child in school today continues to struggle to read and write due to poor quality of education services. Too many Africans continue not to visit the hospital due to lack of money. In fact, some African countries have a Human Capital Index score of less than 0.4. In other words, a child born today in these countries will be only 40 percent as productive at 18 years of age as one who completes their education and enjoys full health.

Data Gaps Persist: While we do have a snapshot of the progress Africa (and the world) is making towards achieving the SDGs, a holistic review of SDGs over the last years was not possible given that not enough data exists. In fact, only 96 indicators have data (41.4 percent of the global indicator framework). Where data exists, it is not comprehensive and consistent. Too often, African countries do not possess updated data for crucial indicators in poverty, health, nutrition, education, and infrastructure. Household surveys are irregular: Their scope, comprehensiveness, quantity, and quality vary wildly. At the continental level, there is just not enough data for tracking SDGs 10, 11, and 12 (Begashaw 2019). This paper however reveals that education is the most important factor for sustainable development in public life, education, and welfare. And education is as important as health.

Methods

The Assessment Framework of SD in Public Life, Education, and Welfare[3]

Sustainable development in public life, education, and welfare was assessed by adopting the social dimension of the National Sustainable Development Index (NSDI) that was built with 12 indicators in economic, social, and environmental dimensions based on the concept of sustainable development (see Jin et al. (2021))[4]. Sustainable development is to coordinate socio-economic, and environmental development, and balance the intra-generational welfare, to maximize the total welfare of generations[5] [6]. In other words, the government should set sustainable development as a comprehensive goal including economic, social, and environmental dimensions[7]. Governments should also pursue a relatively high and fair income for citizens, a potential for economic growth, and a reasonable economic structure to improve the welfare of the present generation, in the economic dimension. From the resource and environmental dimension, the climate and air quality not only reflect the living conditions and quality of human beings in the present generation, but also affect that of future generations, while forests, arable land, and energy consumption represent the current resource and environmental conditions and affect the performance of economic activities. And in the social dimension, governments should not only improve social welfare, but should also consider social fairness and harmony, thus education for the young, medical treatment for the sick, basic sanitation, and drinking water should be guaranteed. Therefore, Jin et al suggest that the NSDI should contain these factors, namely “economic growth,” “income level,” and “economic structure” in the economic dimension, “climate,” “air quality,” “forest,” “arable land,” and “energy” in the resource and environmental dimension, and “education,” “health,” “drinking water,” and “sanitation facilities” in the social dimension. And they should select the corresponding indicators for each factor, based on the principles of representativeness, comparability, and data availability. So, we choose the social dimension of the NSDI to study the SD in public life, education, and welfare for Africa countries.

Results

This paper measures the weight of four indicators with the entropy method (see the last column of Table 1 below). As a result, each indicator accounted for the following weight: education 36.36%, health 35.09%, drinking water 14.60%, and sanitation facilities 13.95%. It means that education is the most important factor for sustainable development in public life, education, and welfare. And education is as important as health.

This paper measures the weight of four indicators with the entropy method (see the last column of Table 1 below). As a result, each indicator accounted for the following weight: education 36.36%, health 35.09%, drinking water 14.60%, and sanitation facilities 13.95%. It means that education is the most important factor for sustainable development in public life, education, and welfare. And education is as important as health.

Table 1. The weight of the four indicators

According to the weights in Table 1, we aggregate the four indicators into a composite index, and assess the SD score for 51 Africa countries as well the other countries (see Table 2 below). As a result, the SD score of each country is ranged from 0 to 1. The SD score of each Africa country is shown in Table 2, the top five countries are Mauritius (0.6514), Gabon (0.5836), Gambia (0.5648), Morocco (0.5496), and Togo (0.5474), while the bottom five countries are Mali (0.3863), Mauritania (0.3857), Central African Republic (0.3377), Chad (0.3260), and Niger (0.3031).

Table 2. The score of SD in public life, education, and welfare in Africa[]

The SD score of each country showed distinct characteristics in income level. These countries are divided into four categories according to income levels following the World Bank’s standard, namely high, upper-middle, lower-middle-, and low-income countries. As Table 2 shows, countries with higher SD score tended to have a higher income level. For example, there are only three low-income countries in the top 20, while 13 low-income countries are in the bottom 20. This means that there may be a positive correlation between income level and SD score. The main reasons are: (1) Those low-income countries have very limited fiscal revenue, leading to insufficient supply of public goods, such as education, medical care, public health, etc.[8]; (2) Some low-income countries lack a systematic and efficient public management system, which makes the supply of public goods inefficient[9].

Figure 1. Geographical distribution of SD scores in Africa. (1) The darker the blue, the higher the SD score of the country, while grey indicates missing data. (2) Above the dark blue dividing line are North African countries, and below are Sub-Saharan African countries.

Figure 1 shows the geographical distribution of SD score in Africa. It should be noted that the darker the blue, the higher the SD score and SD performance in public life, education, and welfare. The countries in North and South Africa have the deepest blue and the highest SD score, such as South Africa and Morocco. On the contrary, central African countries north of the equator have the lightest blue and the lowest SD score, which means that SD performance is at the bottom level, such as in Central African Republic, Chad, and Niger. In sum, the geographical distribution of SD score shows that SD is high in South and North Africa, while low in the middle.

Africa need to adopt a new development trajectory

African youths did not benefit from the recent economic growth, since many of them either lack the relevant training or are unable to access capital to improve production. Nevertheless, Africa accounts for a significant fraction of the world’s youth (1/5th in 2012).[10] This share is expected to increase to 1/3rd of global youth by 2050. If Africa wants to benefit from the potential demographic dividend over the coming decades, it will be crucial to empower its youth with the relevant skills to meet the continent’s future job market needs. In today’s labour market, the transition from school to work is already challenging. Youth unemployment/underemployment rates are two to three times as high as those of adults. The “Arab Springs” demonstrated that youth unemployment might be a “ticking time bomb” if the transition from school continues to lead to unemployment.[11] Youths face challenges when searching for wage employment, in both the formal and the informal sectors. Governments need to make the appropriate supply-side responses to improve both the quantity and quality of education and skills training. This will require collaboration between governments and the private sector in order to create an enabling macroeconomic employment environment. In addition, because of the high prevalence of informality in Africa, a further challenge will be to find an effective way to harness the potential of youth entrepreneurs.[12]

The recent growth performance in Africa did not help to address issues of inequality resulting in the exclusion of both women and youth from the benefits of growth. Therefore, inequality and poverty are still Africa’s major challenges. These need to be addressed in order to achieve the SDGs. Over 120 million Africans are out of work, and more than 672 million live in poverty. Consequently, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of hunger: With one in four people being undernourished; More than 32 million children under-five are underweight; and, about 45% of deaths in children under-five are caused by poor nutrition (FAO, 2015). In addition, out of Africa’s 312 million adult women, 115 million are at risk of domestic violence. This disrupts their productive and reproductive roles as well as being a clear violation of their human rights. Therefore, achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) remains unfinished business for most African countries. The solution proposed is to adopt a development trajectory that is both more inclusive and sustainable.

What should Africa do to rectify its development trajectory and to make economic development more inclusive?

A new development trajectory should enable Africa to provide decent jobs, including most of the youth and women. It also needs to produce enough food for Africa’s population, especially the most vulnerable. To do so, Africa needs to industrialize, but this requires that the continent to first resolve some of its major deficits. One priority is to address the infrastructural deficit, especially the energy deficiency. Without energy, nothing else can happen. Energy fuels economic activities, especially production, industrialisation and the delivery of services. The continent will also need to resolve important shortfalls in its labour market, labour productivity and costs, and the adequacy of skilled labour for market needs, especially in the industrial and manufacturing sectors. Another important priority for Africa will be to expand domestic market sizes in order to benefit from potential economies of scale across the continent. This can be achieved by increasing intra-regional trade so that Africans can feed themselves, instead of allocating most of their income to imports from mainly western and emerging markets. Adopting such a development trajectory will lead to a real structural transformation in the continent and, thereby, to improvements in the living conditions of many of Africa’s poor people. These are precisely the priorities of the African Development Bank for the next decade.

Discussion: A Comparison Between Africa and Other Countries [13]

The SD scores of 179 countries are shown in Figure 2. As a result, the top 10 countries are Denmark (0.7840), the Netherlands (0.7423), Sweden (0.7095), Finland (0.7075), Norway (0.6960), Germany (0.6915), Canada (0.6895), the United States (0.6856), Belgium (0.6807), and Austria (0.6799), while the bottom 10 countries are Nepal (0.3980), Eritrea (0.3959), Sierra Leone (0.3952), Mali (0.3863), Mauritania (0.3857), Afghanistan (0.3729), Yemen (0.3391), Central African (0.3377), Chad (0.3260), and Niger (0.3031).

Figure 2. SD score for each country (upper) and continent (lower). The darker the blue, the higher the mean SD score of the country (upper) or the continent (lower).

The SD score and ranking of each country show distinct characteristics. Most of the high-SD countries are in Europe and North America. The countries with a low SD score are mainly in Africa and Asia. In addition, we find that all the developed countries [14] [15] are high SD score countries, and most of them are ranked in the top 30, while most of the bottom 30 countries are developing countries in Africa.

There are three main reasons for the poor SD performance in developing countries. First, the level of economy and residents’ income is relatively low. Second, the supply of public goods and services is insufficient and inefficient, like education, public health, and environmental protection, due to poor governments or inadequate fiscal revenue[16]. Lastly, some developing countries, such as China, are bombarded with such problems as inadequate management and technology of pollution control and resource utilization, while still promoting economic growth at all costs, which damages national sustainable development[17].

The geographical distribution of the SD score is shown in Figure 2. As the figure shows, the darker the blue, the higher the NSDI of the country and the better its performance in sustainable development, while the white indicates missing data. We find that European and North American countries have the highest average SD scores, Africa the lowest, and South America and Asia in the middle.

There is an important reason for that geographical distribution. On the one hand, the countries with a higher economic level always maintain a good performance in sustainable development, because of their established and sound system in public management. On the other hand, those low-income countries not only have a poor economic foundation, but also do not have the above conditions, so they always find it difficult to improve SD performance. Some countries have even been mired in war and extreme poverty.

Conclusion

Overall, the problems highlighted in this paper, future growth in Africa will, for most part, depend on successes in diversifying towards highly productive manufacturing and improving the productive capabilities of African economies through science and technology, especially in agriculture and agro industrialisation. Achieving these ends calls for increasing investment in key growth determinants such as physical and human capital, and improvement in the institutions that optimize the combination of these resources. To this extent, investment in energy for people and for firms, in agricultural technology, and in other infrastructure and human capital needs will remain priority areas for the Bank. Making growth more inclusive requires enhancing the capacity of segments of society with limited opportunity to participate and benefit from the continent’s growth. The Bank’s prioritized intervention areas are selected with this in mind. An industrial process that is underpinned by improved agricultural productivity, accessible and reliable sources of energy and well-integrated markets will generally contribute to poverty reduction by raising productivity and improving the level of participation among the poor and other marginalized groups.

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[1] Riva C. H. Denny, Sandra T. Marquart-Pyatt; Environmental Sustainability in Africa: What Drives the Ecological Footprint over Time? Sociology of Development 1 March 2018; 4 (1): 119–144. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/sod.2018.4.1.119

[2] Sustainable Development Goal Centre for Africa (SDGC/A), 2019, Africa 2030 2019 Version, ISSN 2077-5091.

[3] Li D, He G, Jin H and Tsai F-S (2021) Sustainable Development of African Countries: Minding Public Life, Education, and Welfare. Front. Public Health 9:748845. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.748845.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Guillén-Royo M. Sustainability and wellbeing: Human-scale development in practice. London, UK: Routledges (2016).

[6] Kwatra S, Sharma P, Kumar A. A critical review of studies related to construction and computation of Sustainable Development Indices. Ecol Indic. (2020) 112:106061. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.106061

[7] Goodland R, Daly H. Environmental sustainability: universal and non-negotiable. Ecol Appl. (1996) 6:1002. doi: 10.2307/2269583

[8] Jin H, Qian X. How the Chinese government has done with public health from the perspective of the evaluation and comparison about public-health expenditure. Int J Environ Res Public Health. (2020) 17:1–16. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17249272s.

[9] Jin H, Jorge Martinez-Vazquez. Sustainable Development and the Optimal Level of Fiscal Expenditure Decentralization. Georgia, USA: ICePP Working Paper Series, #2103, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University (2021).

[10] www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Publications/ADR15_chapter_8.pdf, Accessed 18 February, 2022.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2021.748845/full#B1

[14] According to the standards of the CIA’s World Fact Book and IMF.

[15] Hametner M, Kostetckaia M. Frontrunners and laggards: how fast are the EU member states progressing towards the sustainable development goals? Ecol Econ. (2020) 177:106775. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106775.

[16] Jin H, Qian X. How the Chinese government has done with public health from the perspective of the evaluation and comparison about public-health expenditure. Int J Environ Res Public Health. (2020) 17:1–16. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17249272s.

[17] Jin H, Qian X, Chin T, Zhang H. Global assessment of sustainable development: based on the modification of human development index with entropy method. Sustainability. (2020) 12:1–20. doi: 10.3390/su12083251.