An environmental organization on Tuesday welcomed a move by Senegal’s national electricity company to cancel a coal-fired power plant project in the seaside town of Bargny.
Papa Mademba Biteye, the CEO of Senelec, announced the project’s cancellation on Dec. 1 as requested by President Macky Sall in line with the country’s commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, the 350 movement said in a statement.
"This decision confirms that the voices of concerned communities and science calling for a halt to fossil fuels need to be heard by governments," Landry Ninteretse, regional team leader at 350 Africa, said in a statement.
The president’s move was welcomed by local communities and environmentalists which had staged protests and campaigns to raise awareness on the project for over five years.
Ninteretse added that with this decision, Senegal now has the chance to embark on a "clean path" to development based on sustainability and justice.
"While we as campaigners in Senegal welcome the president’s decision, we are wary of the ‘transition plan’ he suggested that is considering turning the coal plant into a gas facility," Mamadou Barry, executive director of Senegal-based group Action Solidaire International, said in the statement.
The statement highlighted that the Bargny project is the second major coal project to be cancelled on the continent this year after Kenya stepped back from the Lamu Coal Plant project.
"This is proof that people power is truly unstoppable and that resistance to fossil fuels is rising," it added.
Bargny is located on the Atlantic coast 15 kilometers (9 miles) to the east of Dakar, the Senegalese capital. The city is vulnerable to climate change and massive coastal erosion.
350.org was founded in 2008 by a group of university students in the U.S. along with author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. The group espouses the goal of shifting 100% to publicly owned renewables and tackling the climate crisis.
The group, which works in 188 countries across the world, was named after the aim of reaching the safe concentration of 350 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere.
By Burak Bir