Fuel prices prove what, if anything?

Osamah Golpy

By Osamah Golpy:

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq has reduced the price of oil by half, from 1000 IQD to 500 IQD (approx. 0.60 USD) per litre. This cut came just four weeks before the parliamentarian elections, set for September 21st.

It has come under attack from the opposition parties, not on environmental grounds, but on the grounds that this is just a temporary step to buy the voters’ approval for the ruling parties.  Especially since the public was angry about long queues for hours at petrol stations. In other words, the price cut would be positive in the opposition’s eyes if it was a permanent decision, and forget about the issues of pollution and poor public transportation.

This comes at a time when the national grid, unlike in the rest of Iraq, provides almost 24/7 power to the Kurdistan Region, a great achievement for the nation. However, that is not the whole story: the main source of power generation, more than 90% of it, comes from fossil-fuelled power plants, which is  very expensive and unsustainable. However, the Region has plenty of sunny days – enough to invest in green energy: solar power.

The fact that both ruling and opposition parties share common ground when it comes to oil, and that the public is unaware of the devastating impact of its consumption, shows the big challenge faced by the environment in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Osamah M. Hama Husen: Local Coordinator, Fida International; E-mail: Osamagolpy@yahoo.com;  Facebook: www.fb.com/osamagolpy; Mobile: +9647507882603

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