How High Will Petroleum Prices Rise

by Rodgers Phiri
(Lusaka, Zambia)

Fuel Shortage in Zambia

Fuel Shortage in Zambia

How far will petroleum prices rise? Nobody knows. Currently, most parts of Zambia including the tourist city, Livingstone, is facing a fuel shortage which has affected the economic activities of the country significantly. Oil producers will try to maximize production from aging fields, which itself will drive up the price.

Secondary price increases will occur in energy-intensive industries, as they pass on higher energy prices. Demand itself is unpredictable. Consumers will face a sharp decline in their standard of living as they absorb the higher cost of energy, and this, in turn, will affect their purchasing power and propensity to consume.

Coal and Oil

Reliance on coal and oil sands is a dangerous course. Aside from the greenhouse gases and atmospheric pollution, coal mining always disturbs the land. Strip mining, which sometimes involves cutting the tops off mountains, is the most destructive, and efforts to enforce restoration of the area have had mixed success.

Coal mining uses and degrades valuable water resources that are particularly scarce in the Copperbelt province. However, we can markedly reduce the atmospheric pollution, and use the by-products as feedstock.

However, as well as failing to improve energy access for the world’s poorest people, burning fossil fuels contributes to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year due to air pollution and is the single most significant contributor to climate change.

Helping Communities

Most communities suffer various environmental and social challenges including repeated pollution or contamination of their domestic water and land resources, polluted air causing a variety of lasting respiratory complications and damaged or run down social and economic infrastructure such as recreation facilities and roads due to heavy traffic of trucks carrying copper.

The communities suffering significantly from the effects of pollution are Mufulira, Kankoyo, and Chilanga.

A future without fossil fuels for Zambia implies a country which fully utilizes the renewable energy sources which will impact communities positively. Essentially, there will bean improved in health, fewer deaths due to lower levels of pollution.

It is crucial that Zambia recognize its potential to benefit significantly from the use of renewable resources which the country has in abundance ranging from wind, solar, tidal and biogas. One way to minimize the threats would be to go to less polluting renewable sources. That is, by and large, a long-term process demanding many fundamental changes.

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