It’s almost official – the Ivorian government is seriously considering abandoning the San Pedro coal-fired power plant project. This announcement was reportedly made on November 18th by the Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development speaking to parliamentarians during the budget session.
Now the communities of San Pedro, local and global environmental civil society, who have been fighting for years for the cancelation of that controversial project are demanding an official statement from the government to confirm its abandonment.
The project to build a 700 MW coal-fired power station in San Pedro was proposed by the government in December 2016 with the aim of increasing national electricity production. Right after its announcement, local communities, civil society organisations as well as various groups and concerned citizens stood up as one to oppose this project with disastrous consequences for communities, ecosystems and the environment; a project that would violate article 27 of the Constitution and goes against the country’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.
Protests, awareness-raising workshops, public and media debates, advocacy campaigns at different levels, skills and experience sharing with other climate activists were some of the tactics used by the Ivorian activists and community leaders supported by 350.org and its partners to ensure that this coal project is buried.
In the meantime, debates and campaigns to end coal-fired power stations – the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the world – have made good progress both in Africa and globally, notably through the Paris Agreement which classified coal as a risky investments and the recent climate negotiations where for the first time in history, politicians have agreed to put an end to fossil fuels, the greatest enemy of the crisis climate.
It is undoubtedly this desire not only to respect the commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, but most importantly to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment for the Ivorian population through renewable sources of energy that would have pushed the Ivorian authorities to abandon this project.
This historic decision must not continue to fuel rumours and speculation. It must be made public and official by the competent authorities. This is the main request for this Twitter storm this Friday. We demand truth, transparency and accountability from the President of the Ivorian Republic and his Environmental Minister.