14 April 2006

Uganda: Energy Crisis Likely to Cause Global Environmental Catastrophe - PWC Report

Kampala — The global energy industry must reform fundamentally to move fast to avert the full impact of an environmental catastrophe that is already unfolding, spawning deadly consequences for human survival, according to report by the PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

A result of a survey of 116 top executives at the world's leading energy companies, the report released yesterday says the most popular opinion passionately echoed in boardrooms across the world was of the "need to adopt a 10-year plan to halt environmental damage, developing new technologiesâ-oeand finding new fuel sources," The sort of change needed, PWC said, was nothing short of a revolution in the energy industry to give it enough capability to respond to the emerging challenges of supply disruption and growth rigidities, exploding demand and environmental crisis.

This report's observations strike a particularly familiar note in Uganda where an unsettling power crisis is inflicting immeasurable damage to the economy. That electricity shortage has been blamed in part on the lowering of Lake Victoria water levels, itself caused by the effect of global warming that has seen persistent droughts become more frequent and higher lake-surface evaporation rates.

Countries that face power crises as a result of over-dependence on one or few sources of energy are finding that they have to intensify efforts to develop their renewable energy resources. Yet, even as this reality becomes even starker, governments like Uganda, according to the report, have been too slow in adapting and responding.

Global warming, according to climatologists, has also caused a shift in the regional climatic patterns, reducing rain seasons and upping the pressure on wetlands.

"Many within the industry believe the pace of change needs to be stepped up to face the challenges that lie ahead," the report reads in part.

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