Delivering low carbon technology to the next generation
The city of Kampala, Uganda is home to approximately 1.5 million people. A major transportation and trade hub, the city has come under increasing pressure in recent years as a result of industrialization, a growing population, and attendant pollution and waste-water issues. In the face of projected climate change impacts, Kampala has adopted an ambitious climate change action strategy to make the city a vibrant and sustainable place for its people to live and work.
With such rapid industrial and population growth in the region, access to clean, low carbon and sustainable energy is a crucial part of Kampala’s journey to a low-carbon and climate-safe future. To get there, understanding the city’s current energy use is key. 2018 figures show that, across the country, only 38 percent of households had access to electricity, and 97% of the population used solid fuels for cooking. In Kampala, up to 25% of black carbon emissions come from burning solid fuels for household energy needs. Black carbon contributes to global warming by absorbing energy and turning it into heat, and can cause cardio-respiratory diseases and premature deaths of children.
Tackling black carbon head on is a vital step for Kampala. Studies have shown that measures to prevent black carbon emissions can reduce climate warming, increase crop yields, and prevent premature deaths. Clean cooking – cooking that is fuel-efficient and has minimal environmental impacts – is one solution that the city is exploring.
Cutting both cooking time and air pollution, clean cooking solutions simultaneously address climate impacts, and energy poverty. To bring clean cooking technology to its citizens, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has partnered with Simoshi Limited, a social enterprise, to install improved cookstoves in 79 KCCA owned public schools. To date, the partnership has led to the installation of improved cookstoves in 20 schools. In total, 60,000 children will benefit from the use of these cookstoves, with 10,000 tons of CO2 reduced - the equivalent of growing 150,000 trees for 10 years. The project is also estimated to save 11.4 tons of firewood annually, thereby contributing to efforts to halt deforestation in Uganda, which loses 2% of its canopy cover annually.
This energy efficient project has in part been funded through a carbon finance scheme, with the continuous use of the cookstoves enabling both the participating schools and Simoshi to claim carbon credits. Revenue from these credits will be used to provide free annual maintenance of the stoves, train staff, and provide educational campaigns on the environment and climate change to children. It will also finance future projects on food security, renewable energy, and tree planting.
The example of Kampala demonstrates the impact of low-carbon technology, particularly when addressing the every day. By tackling black carbon at its root, and demonstrating how clean cooking solutions can be implemented, the city is working towards tackling its contributions to climate change and securing the health of it's citizens.