Back To Charcoal: Costly Kerosene May Reverse Clean Energy Gains

On Monday 15th May, Kenyans woke up to a shocker at the pump, as the cost of fuel recorded a significant jump.

In the May-June 2023 schedule, Kenyans will part with Ksh 182 for a litre of fuel, Ksh 168 for diesel.

However, for poorer homes, a litre of kerosene will now retail at ksh 161, far beyond reach of the many homes that live under one dollar a day.

In many developing countries, kerosene is a major source of energy for people who do not have access to electricity. When the price of kerosene goes up, these people are forced to spend more money on energy, which can leave them with less money for other basic necessities like food and healthcare.

This can exacerbate poverty and widen the gap between rich and poor.

When people are unable to purchase enough kerosene to meet their energy needs, they may resort to alternative sources such as firewood or charcoal.

This can result in deforestation and soil erosion, both of which have long-term negative consequences for the environment.

In Kenya, many counties have imposed a charcoal ban, owing to the rampant deforestation of the water catchment areas.

Expensive kerosene might be damaging to one’s health as well. People who cannot afford to purchase enough kerosene for lighting may turn to using candles or traditional lamps, which create smoke and soot. This can lead to respiratory issues as well as other health issues.

To summarize, pricey kerosene can have a number of negative consequences for individuals, society, and the environment. 

It is critical for politicians to consider these implications when making energy policy decisions and to work toward finding sustainable solutions that are accessible and affordable to all.