Cooking gas must be affordable to unleash the best profits
Wednesday July 21, 2021
By OTIENO PANYA
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- Increasing taxes on LPG and other petroleum products will reverse the gains from having green energy sources.
- An increase in LPG prices would significantly increase dependence on kerosene and charcoal as alternative fuel sources.
- The use of clean energy sources such as LPG has significantly reduced the degradation of forest resources over the years.
The Value Added Tax (VAT) on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) returns.
LPG penetration has increased in the last 10 years, especially in urban centers and cities. The government pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent, with clean cooking accounting for about 14 percent, under the Paris Agreement on climate change; and hopes to reach this goal by 2028.
With an increase in taxes on LPG and other petroleum products, this measure will reverse the gains from having green energy sources. LPG has the potential to protect the environment and offer substantial benefits for health and society.
According to Unep, Kenya loses 10.3 million cubic meters of wood from its forests each year through the consumption of firewood and charcoal, a major factor contributing to the country’s 0.3 percent annual deforestation rate.
The use of wood fuel and charcoal, including black carbon emissions, contributes 25 million tonnes of CO2 eq each year, about 40 percent of Kenya’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
‘Dirty fuels’ dominate Kenyan urban areas, particularly charcoal (22 percent) and kerosene (29 percent). An increase in LPG prices would significantly increase dependence on kerosene and charcoal as alternative fuel sources.
The WHO said that household air pollution from burning solid fuels increases the risk of acute lower respiratory infections in children under the age of five.
If no action is taken, by 2030, an estimated 870,000 people will die each year from acute lower respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease related to solid fuel cooking.
The use of clean energy sources such as LPG has significantly reduced the degradation of forest resources over the years.
The World Bank recently estimated the annual economic losses and opportunity costs of dependence on solid fuels in terms of health, environment, and economic cost to households. At worst, the impacts are close to $ 60 billion a year.
In Kenya, women in rural areas spend an average of an hour a day on this task and suffer serious long-term physical damage from hard work.
They are also exposed to falls, snake bites, or assaults, especially if they have to walk far from home.
Cooking with traditional biomass can also take several hours. Reducing this monotony would free up time for women and girls to pursue an education, participate in income generation, or simply rest.
The International Energy Agency lists LPG as a recommended key fuel to address energy-related air pollution and proposes it as a solution for half of the 2.8 billion people who need access to clean cooking fuels and technologies.
Using cleaner, more modern stoves and fuels can dramatically reduce exposure to harmful smoke; provides opportunities; and help reduce forest degradation and slow climate change.
The government should reconsider the LP tax. Clean and efficient energy is a prerequisite for sustainable development.