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Climate change: Seplat embarks on planting 5m trees in five years

The Seplat Energy Limited has unveiled its “Tree 4 Life Initiative’” a commitment to embark on planting five million trees in five years to mitigate climate change and carbon emission.

L-R: Chairman Seplat Energy, Chief Ambrose Ojiako; Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva; Chairman, Board of Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, Sen. Margrey Okadigbo, at Seplat’s Tree4Life launch, at Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, on Tuesday

It said the innovative “Tree Planting and Carbon Sequestration” programme would provide food security, reduce biodiversity loss and support the net-zero emission agenda.

Mr Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Seplat Energy Plc. disclosed this at the official launch of “Seplat Energy Tree 4 Life Initiative” on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Abuja.

The tree planting launch was performed by Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, and Sen. Margery Okadigbo, NNPC Board Chairman.

Others are Dr Ambrose Orjiako, Chairman Seplat; Mr Abdurazak Isa, Chairman, Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG); officials from the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture and Rural Development and other dignitaries.

Brown said the tree planting initiative, which has 75 per cent as economic trees, would essentially start with five states to include Edo, Delta, Imo and two Northern states in the country.

“We will deliberately engage women, youth and communities for sustainable food production and a sustainable environment through tree planting in their communities and mindset change.

“We have adopted a two-prong approach to advocate for Tree Planting and Protection to instill the consciousness of the importance of tree planting and the responsibility of citizens to ensure its success.

“Another approach is to Plant Trees – run Afforestation/Restoration Programmes with a commitment to plant one million trees annually, comprising majorly economic trees.

“This initiative will complement the efforts of the Federal Government and other stakeholders. As a result, we will together positively impact lives while driving socio-economic change,’’ he said.

He recalled that at the 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), President Muhammadu Buhari and more than 100 world leaders committed to ending and reversing deforestation by 2030.

Also, during COP26, Nigeria committed to achieving net-zero by 2060. Barely a week after the conference, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Climate Change Act, 2021 (the Act), which the National Assembly passed in 2021.

He said in the wake of climate action and the drive for energy transition, the industry had the responsibility of evolving to continue providing energy to keep the world running in a sustainable manner.

Therefore, he said, in order to live up to the challenge, substantial resources were geared towards achieving sustainability by Seplat Energy by working to decarbonise the upstream operations and develop renewable energy capability.

In an address, Dr Ambrose Orjiako, Chairman Seplat, recalled that in 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produced its First Assessment Report with three major conclusions.

Orjiako said the conclusions were that global temperatures had risen by 0.3-0.6C over the last century; that humanity’s emissions were adding to the atmosphere’s natural complement of greenhouse gases, and that addition would be expected to result in warming.

He underscored the need to note that the warnings of the IPCC from over 30 years ago, not only have come to pass but were now direr in 2022.

The Seplat Chairman said the February 2022 report showed that climate change impacts were already widespread and more severe to adapt to than expected, thereby stressing the urgency for action on climate change.

According to a report published in January 2020 by Mckinsey, the oil and gas industry, directly or indirectly, accounts for 42 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Report further posit that if the world is to meet its climate-change goals, the industry has a major role to play, as the industry’s operations account for nine per cent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, it produces the fuels that create another 33 per cent of global emissions.

In the light of the above, he said, the Seplat Energy initiated a number of decarbonisation projects, to ensure a significant reduction in our carbon footprint, as an energy company.

“We are, therefore, deeply committed to sustainable business practices and strongly determined to play our part in mitigating climate change, by incrementally committing more resources towards developing strategic responses to the climate change challenge.”

The programme aims to restore and reforest solving biodiversity loss, and naturally increase our carbon sequestration, in line with SDG 13 on Climate Action, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gasses and fight climate change.

Furthermore, it will boost food security and alleviate poverty through building, strengthening, and empowering communities to plant economic trees, which will provide food and fight hunger, without destroying the environment (SDG 2 – Zero Hunger).

By Emmanuella Anokam

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