Agriculture contributes 70% of greenhouse gas emissions in Rwanda – report

The report shows the summary of emission trends from 2006 to 2015 and future emissions scenarios up to 2050, vulnerability and ways of mitigating and adapting to climate change.
L-R: Eng. Colletta Ruhamya, director-general of Rwanda Environment Management Authority; Fatina Mukarubibi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment; and Stephen Rodriques, UNDP Resident Representative in Rwanda during the official launch of the Third National Communication report on climate change, in Kigali yesterday. The report, which was prepared by REMA under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, provides an inventory of greenhouse gases in the country and mitigation measures. It was unveiled during an event to mark the World Environment Day in Kigali. / Nadege Imbabazi

Agriculture produces most emissions of greenhouse gases in Rwanda with the sector accounting for 70.4 per cent of the total national emissions, the Third National Communication report on climate change has shown.

National Communication reports are submitted to the United Nations every four years under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

The report was launched in Kigali on the occasion of the World Environment Day on Wednesday.

Primary greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone that cause global warming.

Others include extreme weather events such as flooding, drought and many more.

The report shows the summary of emission trends from 2006 to 2015 and future emissions scenarios up to 2050, vulnerability and ways of mitigating and adapting to climate change. 

The gases inventory was conducted in the sectors of energy, including electricity production, manufacturing industry, construction, transport and other sectors such as domestic use of energy.

The sectors also include industrial processes, agriculture and forestry and other land use as well as both solid and liquid waste.

After agriculture, energy follows as the second biggest contributor of greenhouse emissions in Rwanda, accounting for 20.11 per cent, followed by waste and industrial processes at 7.55 per cent and 1.08 per cent respectively. 

“The emissions from agriculture are dominated by urea fertilisers application and enteric fermentation. In 2015 alone, emissions from urea application alone were almost double the total emissions from energy sector and these emissions have increased from 1,246,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2006 to 2,559,000 in 2025,” the report says.

However, Rwanda is categorised as a sink of the emissions and not the emitter. 

“This means that although it does have emissions coming from agriculture and energy sectors, removals of emissions by forestry and agro-forestry are much more,” the report explains.

The report shows that Rwanda will continue to be a sink up to at least 2050 if it continues to implement mitigation activities leading to reducing GHG emissions, including appropriate management of existing forestry and agro-forestry areas. 

Coletha Ruhamya, the director-general of Rwanda Environment Management Authority, said that some of mitigation options of the emissions include sustainable agriculture that uses manure and incorporate agro-forestry so that they reduce emissions from chemical fertilisers such as urea.

She added that in the energy sector best practices for cleaner and efficient technologies in industrial process will continue to be embraced.

Other options include development of road lanes that are dedicated to bikes, e-mobility strategies for electric vehicles as well as emissions standards for reduction of pollution in transport sector. 

In the energy sector, the report calls for more adoption of renewable energy sources.

In the waste sector, the Government targets to generate power from landfills, known as Landfill Gases (LFG), establish centralised wastewater treatment plants and reuse wastewater in irrigation.

Meanwhile, during the event in Kigali, REMA presented the 2019 Environmental Awards for projects and initiatives that focus on air pollution management.  

The watchdog said the awards “recognise best practices and innovation in beating air pollution by districts, small and medium sized companies in the private sector, higher learning institutions and technical and vocational education and training schools, as well as the media. The awards will highlight initiatives by different sectors to improve air quality and encourage them to keep up their efforts.”

Also, a discussion was held on air pollution mitigation, and the effects of air pollution on human health in Rwanda and impact on attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.

Air pollution is a leading environmental threat to human health, with statistics indicating that more than 90 per cent of people globally breathe polluted air and about seven million people die from air pollution-related causes every year.

Air pollution costs the global economy US$5 trillion in welfare costs annually and ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reduce staple crop yields by 26 per cent by 2030, according to a statement from REMA.

The World Environment Day was held under the theme “Beat Air Pollution”.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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