“Climate change is arguably the most severe challenge facing
our planet during the 21st century” (Feulner, 2017). Climate change is
increasingly having greater impact on the Earth’s ecological systems and negative
consequences on agriculture, water, energy, health and general human
development (Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda, 2015). Cities are the
most likely to experience the highest impacts of climate change, as they
contain the majority of the world’s population (Hallegatte et al.,
2011). Cities in developing countries are presumed to be the most
affected, more particularly in Africa (Ministry of Water and Environment
Uganda, 2015). In most urban areas in Africa and other developing regions, the
poor are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and more specifically
in informal settlements (Bohle, 1994).
The majority of cities in Africa are poorly equipped to cope with the adverse
impacts of climate change (Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda, 2015). Therefore
there is need for cities and local authorities to employ sustainable and long
term governing and development strategies to address the effects of climate
change. This paper focuses on the city of Kampala and analyses its urban
climate governance structures. It will centre on the energy sector and further
discuss the problems and impacts and finally evaluate the current and future
(suggested) initiatives of the city in dealing with climate change.

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is the capital city of the East African country of Uganda, located on northern
shores of Lake Victoria. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world,
with a growth rate of near 4% percent per year (KCCA, 2012). The population of
the city has increased from 774,241 in 1991(UBOS,1991), 1,189,142 in 2002(UBOS,
2002) to 1,516,210 in 2014 (UBOS, 2014). Rural-urban migration, natural
increase and economic growth are the main attributes of the rapid rate of
urbanization in the city (KCCA, 2016). However, it is estimated that 40% of the
city’s population live in informal settlements, which lack the basic
infrastructure services such as provision of water, energy, sewage treatment,
and solid waste collection (KCCA, 2012).


main economic activities in Kampala are dominated by small businesses and trade
related enterprises, with a few medium and large firms (KCCA, 2016). The city
acts as the main distribution hub for goods within the country and with
neighbouring countries (ibid). Uganda’s economy is highly vulnerable to climate
change effects especially in the key sectors of agriculture, energy, water, health
and infrastructure (Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda, 2015). Thus, it
is fundamental for policies and development strategies to emphasize on climate
change resilience through adaptation and mitigation without compromising the social
and economic development of the city (ibid). Therefore, there is an urgent need
to re-structure the urban governance system and social fabric to adequately
respond to current and the future impacts of climate change.



like the rest of Uganda is endowed with abundant natural resources (KCCA, 2016).
However, the rapidly expanding urban population poses a threat to their
protection and conservation (ibid). In kampala, the fast rate of
industrialization over the past decades is placing pressure on land and local
natural ecosystems leading to environmental degradation, poor air quality, pollution
and poor waste management (ibid).


addition, recent global climate change models predict an average temperature increase
in Uganda by up to 1.5ºC in the next 20 years (White,
2015). The models also project Changes in rainfall patterns and total
annual rainfall amounts, such as an increase in rainfall of 10 – 20% in most
parts of the country (Lwasa
et al. 2009). With these challenges and changing climatic conditions, it has
been suggested that Kampala city needs to restructure its spatial planning and
urban governance systems in order to respond to current and future climate
change threats (Lwasa 2010a, p168). And subsequently, achieve “long-term
sustainable economic growth in the face of climate change” (Ministry of Water
and Environment Uganda, 2015, p4).



Energy is one of the
key sectors greatly affected by climate change effects. In Kampala, the
greatest demand for energy is for residential use, followed by commercial and
industrial demand (Lwasa et al. 2009). The main sources of energy for domestic activities are
electricity, wood fuel, charcoal, and petroleum products (ibid). Energy use in
Kampala and other parts of Uganda is dominated by wood and charcoal; with 75%
of households, 10% of commercial, and 5% of industry reliant on fuel-wood, and
charcoal representing 10% of energy needs in the city (KCCA, 2012). The high
dependency on wood fuel and charcoal has negative effects on the environment and
public health, especially its influence on air quality through deforestation
and combustion (greenhouse gas emission) (Lwasa et al. 2009). Similarly, the use of conventional fuels (oil)
for transportation produces the same concerns about greenhouse emissions.
Furthermore, according to Lwasa et al. (2009) energy demand forecasts
an average annual increase of about 7 percent of petroleum demand in relation
to importation of vehicles. Overall,
there has been an increase in energy demand to generate power following the
decreasing water levels of Lake Victoria, which provides for the hydropower
stations as the main source of energy generation (WREM, 2005a). At the same time, extreme weather events such as heavy
rainfall have had adverse effects on energy infrastructure, such as, power
plants and transmission lines in the city
(Lwasa et al.
2009).  These disruptions
and regular maintenance of the energy infrastructure result in higher energy


“Energy needs affect all sectors
and as demand increases this will be the major player in both systems
efficiency and use of renewable resources” (KCCA, 2016, p18). Thus economic
growth and development will need to generate more sustainable and renewable
alternatives of energy to meet the current and future demands. Equally
transport needs will increase, and therefore more sustainable infrastructure,
transport modes and policies need to be considered (KCCA, 2016). Thus, adaptation and mitigation measures are crucial in
determining continued economic growth through transition to more sustainable
and greener energy(ibid). Finally, key energy consumption sectors such as industries,
residents and transport should be strongly considered in policy making and adaptation
strategies to climate change by Kampala City Council, in order to achieve
sustainable energy goals in light of climate change.




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