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Net-zero emissions: Defunding gas projects unhelpful to developing countries – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the plan to defund gas projects in the run up to the global net-zero emissions target will be unhelpful to developing countries such as Nigeria.

Osinbajo and Sharma
Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo (left), with COP26 President-Designate, Mr Alok Sharma

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Saturday, October 9, 2021 in Abuja, said the vice president made presentations at different meetings in London.

The vice president attended a High-Level UN event on the Energy Transition plan in Africa with special focus on Nigeria ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit.

Osinbajo cautioned that “limiting the development of gas projects, posed dire challenges”.

The vice president said that in its commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Federal Government was making efforts to use large shares of clean energy sources.

Osinbajo’s first meeting was a closed-door session with COP26 President-Designate, Mr Alok Sharma, a cabinet rank British Minister and the Chair of the UK Government’s COP26 Energy Transition Council (ETC) at Whitehall.

The discussions with Sharma centered on issues regarding the 2050 global net-\ero emissions target and the need for the international community to align on the key elements of a just and equitable transition for all.

The vice president also had an interaction with the academic community at Imperial College followed by meetings of the Global Energy Alliance and presentations on Nigeria Energy Transition Plan and Nigeria’s Integrated Energy Plan.

Osinbajo said at Imperial College that Africa as a continent was home to the world’s youngest fastest growing population.

“In order to create jobs and enable climate-smart industrialisation, the scale and quality of electricity services must increase significantly.’’

According to him, scaling up in the Nigerian context is based on clean energy, a reflection of the Federal Government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“This means building sustainability into our economic planning, and so our Economic Sustainability Plan, includes a plan to provide five million homes with cleaner energy through its decentralised solar power programme.

“This means an estimated 25 million Nigerians would have access to solar power.

“The first phase of this plan is already underway, and we think that this sort of programme will very quickly ramp up our progress towards net-zero emissions.”

Osinbajo, said, however, that the moves to defund gas projects would not help the `whole enterprise, which required gas, especially on putting it on the grid.

“Limiting the development of gas projects poses dire challenges for African nations, while making an insignificant dent in global emissions.

“Energy demand in Nigeria and across Africa is set to rise, as indeed it must, to deliver the industrialisation, jobs and economy-wide progress people deserve.”

Osinbajo said Nigeria had already made a commitment to have 30 per cent of its electricity supply from renewables by 2030.

He said that natural gas was being used for industry, fertiliser manufacturing, and cooking, which were more difficult to transition than power generation.

The vice president said that Nigeria was committed to all of its national determined contributions under the Paris Agreement and had updated its commitments in our new Energy Transition Plan.

“So, for baseline Business as Usual (BAU) projections, estimated BAU 2030 emissions are now at 453 Metric tons of Carbon dioxide Equivalent (MTCO2e), increasing 31 per cent from a 2018 baseline of 347 MTCO2e.

“We are committed to the process and strongly believe the process has to be strong, fair, just and supported not just for Nigeria, but for most African countries and for many developing countries who have the same concerns that we have.’’

According to him, the ultimate goal of the global energy transition should be to achieve reliable net-zero-energy systems to power prosperous, inclusive economies.

“Efforts are already underway in my country and in countries across the continent, to include large shares of clean energy sources to fuel that growth.

“Renewables are the fastest growing segment of energy today and will certainly be a key economic driver well into the future.’’

The vice president disclosed that Nigeria was about the first African country that had developed an energy transition plan that sought to demonstrate its commitment to the global net -zero emissions.

He said that such a plan must be equitable, inclusive and just with a planet and people approach to the transition.

“As a practical matter that means transition plans that take into account the different realities of various economies and accommodate various pathways to net-zero by 2050,” he said.

The Minister of State for Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor; Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Amb. Adeyemi Dipeolu; and Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the UK, Amb. Sarafa Ishola, accompanied the vice president to the meetings.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sustainable Energy for All (SE forAll), Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi, among others, were also at the meetings.

By Chijioke Okoronkwo

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