Equity Bank fights climate change by launching clean cooking initiative in schools

Equity Bank fights climate change by launching clean cooking initiative in schools

Equity Bank has launched an initiative to support learning institutions to transition from wood-fuel based cooking to cleaner, sustainable, and environmental sources of cooking and lighting.

Dubbed the ‘clean cooking project’, the initiative aims at supporting learning institutions to install modern technologies for cooking that are environmentally safe such as steam-based cooking, biofuels, sustainable biomass and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG).

The lender will provide financing for the equipment and other installation costs based on an institution’s needs.

Speaking during the launch of the initiative at alliance high school, Equity Group Managing Director and CEO, Dr. James Mwangi said lack of appropriate financing and innovative technologies has been the biggest barrier to clean energy transition.

Dr. Mwangi said equity decided to partner with learning institutions to facilitate them to access and install more environmentally friendly cooking and lighting facilities.

“We need to create an integrated programme that would ensure that ensure tree which grows to maturity would not be threatened by the need for wood energy,” said Dr. Mwangi.

According to the Clean Cooking Alliance of Kenya (CCAK) study on ‘use of biomass cookstoves and fuels in institutions in Kenya report of 2018’, 97 percent of primary and secondary schools use firewood derived from forests as cooking fuel.

CCAK estimates that 1 million metric tons of wood-fuel is used by primary and secondary schools every year with a value of 10 billion shillings.

“…we realized the majority of the schools use wood fuel for cooking in the kitchen and when we did research we realized that 97 percent of all schools use wood fuel. They use a million metric tones every year worth Ksh10. billion every year,” added Mwangi.

Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha graced the event and welcomed Equity’s initiative, saying it was important to work on climate change across the globe.

“It is a project that is transformative, good for the government’s development agenda. Just imagine how long it takes for wood to grow, the amount of oxygen it consumes. When you remove oxygen from the climate, then you see what they talk about climate change,” said Professor Magoha.

Fighting climate change

The year 2019 was the second warmest year on record and the end of the warmest decade (2010- 2019) ever recorded. 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rose to new records in 2019, this is according to the United Nations (UN)

Greenhouse gas emissions are projected to drop about 6 percent in 2020 due to travel bans and economic slowdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN said this was only temporary.

Scores have ignored calls to fight the looming pandemic, and the U.N says once the global economy begins to recover from the COVID-19, emissions are expected to return to higher levels.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the dire threat of climate change in December last year in a speech on the state of the planet delivered at Columbia University in New York.

“The state of the planet is broken, humanity is waging war on nature,” he said. “Nature always strikes back, and is doing so with gathering force and fury.”

Referring to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) provisional report, The State of the Global Climate 2020, released in December, Guterres reiterated that the last decade was the hottest on record, and that ice sheet decline, permafrost melting, vast climate fires and unprecedented hurricanes were just some of the consequences.

“Stop the plunder,” Guterres added, referring to the ongoing deforestation that is also fueling climate change. “And start the healing.”

The Paris Agreement

Climate policies have failed to rise to the challenge, Guterres said, noting that emissions in 2020 are 60 percent higher than in 1990. “We are heading for a temperature rise of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (by 2100).”

The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The agreement also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, through appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity-building framework.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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