UGANDA: GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS; “POST COVID-19 MILLENIUM SHOULD NOT BE BUSINESS AS USUAL”

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Nursery seedbeds of Mr. Langoya located within Gulu City to mitigate climate change

“You need to know the number of trees you need to plant to off-set the carbon dioxide your particular vehicle will emit into the atmosphere before you even begin to think of buying a vehicle. For me, I started by planting trees before I began to build and buy vehicles. I use timbers from my plantation for furniture and roofing works for my buildings”

“If you take my example for instance, 796 vehicle owners of my type of vehicle should actually be paying me because my forest is cleaning the pollution of the environment by their vehicles instead. Off-setting carbon dioxide by trees is by far the cheapest. Those polluters should actually pay me for that instead of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) coming to disturb me for revenue yet I am contributing to cleaning the environment”

GULU-UGANDA: A Ugandan entrepreneur in forestry products has welcomed the good news that because of the global COVID-19 lock-down, there has been significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

According to Mr. Dickson Council Langoya, who is in his late fifties, ‘post COVID-19 should not be business as usual’ where industrialized nations would pollute the environment with impunity yet they do very little for ‘Carbon Offset (Sequestration)’; which should be our collective responsibility.

According to the forestry entrepreneur, carbon emissions can be defined as the ‘release of carbon into the atmosphere’. It can take place through vehicle emissions, burning biomass fuel, manufacturing industries, deforestation and agricultural practices.

On the other hand, carbon sequestration (offset) can be defined as the ‘intake and storage of carbon’. This takes place in four major ways; trees and green plants during photosynthesis; underground sequestration geological as oil, gas, etc; ocean sequestration and lastly by burying carbon-dioxide deep into the ground.

Mr. Langoya, who is the Managing Director of JC Holdings Limited, is a very bitter man as far as those polluting the atmosphere is concern because they contribute very little to clean it citing their action as  greed.

According to a report published on May 20, 2020 in www.economic times says the world experienced a sharp decline of 17% decline in global carbon emissions due to COVID-19 lockdown between January and April 2020. This level of reduction is much better than the figures of 2019 and it could decline to anywhere between 4.4% and 8.7% by the end of the year.

“That figure would mark the largest decline in carbon emissions since World War II”, the report says.

UNEP report says decrease in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission of 2.7% per annum are needed to keep global warming well below 2% Celsius and 7.6 %  per annum to keep below 1.5% Celsius.

According to a report published in The Guardian newspaper of May 19, 2020 the steep fall in carbon emissions during the corona-virus is no cause for celebration.

“This decline in emissions, the biggest in history, is the result of economic trauma. It has nothing to celebrate as it is not a result of policies. This decline will be easily erased if the right policy measures are not put in place”, the article says.

Mr. Langoya has planted 130 hectares of trees which hold 58,500 tree stamps and drives a Toyota Hillux double cabin pick-up car which makes12 kilometers on each litre of diesel, needs only 73 trees to off-set the carbon it emits. He says each tree in his plantation is holding about 36.5 kilograms of carbon per year totaling to about 2,137 tons of carbon sequestrated by his plantation.

"The kind of vehicle I am driving can emit carbon which can be off-set by only 73 trees, but here I am off-setting carbon being emitted into the atmosphere by a total of 797 vehicles of my model. That is the credit I should be paid for doing that. I am contributing to cleaning the environment", he says.

 

“You need to know the number of trees you need to plant to off-set the carbon dioxide your particular vehicle will emit into the atmosphere before you even begin to think of buying a vehicle. For me, I started by planting trees before I began to build and buy vehicles. I use timbers from my plantation for furniture and roofing works for my buildings”, says Mr. Langoya.

 

Mr. Langoya says the cost of carbon sequestration in the open market is about US$15-25 per ton while burying carbon using current technologies under high pressure requires US$225-250 per ton.

 

“If you take my example for instance, 796 vehicle owners of my type of vehicle should actually be paying me because my forest is cleaning the pollution of the environment by their vehicles instead. Off-setting carbon dioxide by trees is by far the cheapest. Those polluters should actually pay me for that instead of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) coming to disturb me for revenue yet I am contributing to cleaning the environment”, he complains.

Mr. Langoya advises world leaders to borrow the example of Costa Rica authorities who actually pay individuals like him for carbon off-set. He says in that country, they pay a total of US$1300 per hectare of trees per annum.

“That is why deforestation in that country reversed from 18% in 1987 to negative 52% in 2005 making a total of 34% increase of reforestation in 18 years. It is one developing country that did not go to Europe to organizations like The World Bank or International Monetary Fund for bail out”, he says.

He reveals that Costa Rica charges some percentage on air ticket so long as you are flying into that country which money is put in a Trust Fund preserved for reforestation.

He says a four engine airbus which burns 40 tons of aviation fuel are worst polluters of environment yet they do absolutely nothing to off-set their damage to the environment.

“Although they say a plane in the air makes more money than a grounded one, I think the reverse is true because grounded ones do not cause damage to the environment”, says Mr. Langoya.

According to a study conducted by Makerere University AirQo project, Kampala Capital City air quality improved by up to 40% that followed government suspension of movement following COVID-19 lock-down between March and May 2020.

WHO estimates that over 85 people die in Uganda everyday due to causes related to air pollution. Burning household thrash, cooking with charcoal and using plastic bags to light charcoal stoves (sigiri), unregulated emissions from vehicles and industries and air dust have made Kampala the third most polluted cities in Africa, according to a 2019 World Air Quality report.

Today Uganda has over 70 low-cost air quality monitors with over 50 sensors made in Uganda by Ugandan scientists with support from Google.

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