East African cities urged to embrace ‘low-carbon’ options

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East Africa is home to some of the planet’s fastest-growing cities, with urban populations expanding by more than four percent annually. The Conversation reports that this impoverished region could reduce both emissions and energy costs with “low-carbon” development.

Kampala, Kigali, Dar es Salaam and South Sudan’s capital, Juba, are among the cities that might benefit from the strategy, the article says. Rooftop solar panels, improved energy efficiency for buildings and electric-powered bikes are among the recommended options. Even energy-sipping light bulbs would help reduce reliance on fossil fuel.

“This suggests that cities in East Africa can meet growing demand for modern energy in a relatively climate-friendly way,” the authors conclude. All three are environmental experts affiliated with the University of Leeds. They warn that the rapid pace of urbanization, coupled with high poverty levels, poses challenges for East Africa’s city leaders. Slum dwellers on the periphery of cities are particularly susceptible to climate impacts such as floods and drought.

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