Publisher: University of Calabar

Weaving Through Paradoxes of Green Transformation and Sustainability of Natural Capital In Biomass Economy: The Path Forward For Africa

Okoh, Augustine I. Sadiq
KEYWORDS: Biomass Economy, Natural capital, Food security, Climate change, green transformation, Africa

ABSTRACT:

Biomass economy is the dominant sector with 81.2% of the population reliant on traditional biomass for domestic purposes. Solid biofuel accounts for 81.2% of the total bioenergy consumed annually while 70 - 90% of primary energy supply in some poor countries are provided through biomass and waste. Hence biomass holds great potential for improving the economic wellbeing of many countries. Despite these benefits, biomass extraction also forebodes grave danger for the biogeophysical properties of the planet reordering biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem. With business as usual scenario, unsustainable biomass extraction and consumption will continue into the future thereby reinforcing climate-related extreme events. This will require dramatic green transformation aimed at reducing depletion of natural capital and eco-efficient utilization of green infrastructure. In the paper, it is noted green transformation is fast catching up in sub-Saharan Africa. However, these exploitations externalize cost to others. Therefore, it is a paradox of sustaining man but with consequential impact on man. The issue of the externality are critically examined together with the interrelatedness of biomass depletion with climate change. Our critical engagement with this issue is via qualitative analysis of relevant literature which points us toward challenges of biomass economy before arriving at a synthesis for constructing a pathway to Africa's green future.

Biomass economy is the dominant sector with 81.2% of the population reliant on traditional biomass
for domestic purposes. Solid biofuel accounts for 81.2% of the total bioenergy consumed annually
while 70 - 90% of primary energy supply in some poor countries are provided through biomass and
waste. Hence biomass holds great potential for improving the economic wellbeing of many countries.
Despite these benefits, biomass extraction also forebodes grave danger for the biogeophysical
properties of the planet reordering biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem. With business as
usual scenario, unsustainable biomass extraction and consumption will continue into the future thereby
reinforcing climate-related extreme events. This will require dramatic green transformation aimed at
reducing depletion of natural capital and eco-efficient utilization of green infrastructure. In the paper, it
is noted green transformation is fast catching up in sub-Saharan Africa. However, these exploitations
externalize cost to others. Therefore, it is a paradox of sustaining man but with consequential impact on
man. The issue of the externality are critically examined together with the interrelatedness of biomass
depletion with climate change. Our critical engagement with this issue is via qualitative analysis of
relevant literature which points us toward challenges of biomass economy before arriving at a synthesis
for constructing a pathway to Africa's green future.


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