A Communication and Development Specialist, Paddy Ezeala, has said that though fossil fuels remain central to Nigeria’s economy, the country must begin to balance it with global push to tackle Climate Change.
Ezeala, who is Editor-in-Chief, Development Agenda magazine said that more need to be done in the areas of environmental conservation and economic diversification powered by clean energy.
He said: “Fossil fuels remain central to Nigeria’s economy; accounting for more than 86% of total exports. Efforts towards diversification and navigation of the economy away from this sector have not begun to yield significant results.
“The contradiction is that the Internally Determined Contributions expected from Nigeria to counter the global climate challenge hinge more on the eradication of poverty, promotion of sustainable development and social inclusion. This is because poverty eradication programmes as implemented in Nigeria run on the proceeds from fossil fuels.
“Are we prepared for negotiations at COP 26? Yes. But on the academic front. There’s still lot of work to be done in the areas of environmental conservation and economic diversification powered by clean energy. Our economy still runs on fossil fuels which release nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere.
“Our process of extraction of fossil fuels remains relatively crude. For instance, Nigeria contributes about 50% of gas flaring in the world. This is mainly Associated Gas released in the process of oil production. Nigeria has also not done well in the area of environmental conservation. Only about 4% of the Nigeria’s original pristine forest cover is remaining. About 1.5 million trees are felled in Nigeria on daily basis while 350,000 hectares of forest are lost annually due to illegal logging.
“We are also not doing well in the area of tree planting and other reforestation initiatives. As our forests are disappearing so are highly valued wildlife and plant species. The consequences are staring us in the face in the form of desertification, soil and gully erosion, flooding and rising temperatures.
“It is against this backdrop, therefore, that our bargaining position is somehow weakened. Nigeria should be in a position to access huge funds available for climate action. Debt relief or outright cancellation has become imperative to support the country’s economy and enable us meet the Internally Determined Contributions and weigh into the global climate action.”
Author: Chuks Oyema-Aziken