Lamu Coal plant not even economically and commercially viable, says Chinese envoy

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

Chinese ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng has assured the country that his government will not force coal mining and prospecting on Kenyans.

Wu said China is committed to reducing coal usage in the world.

At a meeting with Greenpeace Africa and members of the deCOALonize coalition who petitioned him to stop investing in  Lamu and Kitui coal projects, Wu  confirmed that the Lamu Coal Power Plant is not economically and commercially viable.

According to research carried out by Greenpeace, if the Lamu coal plant goes ahead, 10 different locations in Kenya and Tanzania; Garissa, Voi, Makueni, Moshi, Lushoto, Matuu, Hedaru, Mazindwe, Korogwe and Mombasa would be affected by extreme pollution. Areas as far as Garissa in the Northwest and Voi will be the most affected.

“It has been and always will be that it is the people of Kenya who can decide whether there would be a coal power plant or not. We are committed to reduce coal usage in the world,” he said.

His sentiments came after the lobby groups led by Greenpeace Africa’s Executive Director, Njeri Kabeberi and deCOALonize Campaign Coordinator, Omar Elmawi asked the Chinese corporations to stop investing in Lamu and Kitui coal projects and instead invest in renewable energy.

The lobby groups said no coal plant should be set up in the country, and asked  the  Chinese Embassy to follow up with  other potential coal investors in Kenya with the intention of halting any and all interventions and investments in coal.

Kabeberi said studies have shown that the social, environmental and economic costs of running coal-fired power plants far exceed the benefits.

Globally, climate crisis remains one of the biggest challenges facing humankind. China, which is directly linked to these projects, is divesting from coal.  Why should China invest in dirty coal and pollute Lamu, a UNESCO World Heritage site,” she posed.

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