Niger turns to coal to save rainforest

by William Yeatman on October 26, 2004

in Politics

The sub-Sahelian state of Niger has seen authorities turn to promoting the use of coal in an effort to halt deforestation (Inter-Press Service, Oct. 20).  Wood is the primary energy source in Niger, accounting for 95 percent of energy needs.  This means that the country consumes two billion kilograms of firewood each year.

The government aims to replace 25 percent of firewood with coal, mainly by targeting large institutions..  The move will require the Nigerien Coal Company (SONICHAR) to increase production to 33 million kilograms.

The government is also keen to persuade households that coal is more economical than wood.  One restaurateur told IPS that he would save about $20 over a three-week period by using coal.

Even the president of the National Association of Wood Users has endorsed the move.  Elhadj Dodo Mahaman Abdou said, Recourse to coal as a source of domestic energy is a healthy initiative, in the sense that it will allow us to save our forests from altogether disappearing.

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