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Climate defenders call for halt in issuance of coal mining licences in Nigeria

Climate defenders in Nigeria on Thursday, August 26, 2021 called for a stop to the issuance of coal mining licenses, in light of the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that underscored the need for urgent climate action.

coal mining
The Federal Government of Nigeria has reportedly commenced moves to revive mining activities in Enugu coal mines, which have been inactive for about 40 years

The UN report warned that earth is warming more rapidly than expected, a situation attributed to greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. The report further revealed that climate impacts being experienced across the globe are expected to worsen, pointing to a need for urgent, sustained action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change.

Nigeria is already experiencing climate impacts, in the form of flooding, desert encroachment and rapidly increasing drought in different parts of the country.

Climate defenders highlighted the threat posed by coal mining to the environment and the local communities in Nigeria and called on the Federal Government to accelerate plans to transition away from coal use.

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As part of a campaign dubbed Coal Free Nigeria, the defenders are appealing for support in their call for a coal-free Nigeria through this petition.

Rukiya Khamis of 350Africa.org said: “Fossil fuels are not the answer to the energy needs of not only Nigeria but our African continent as a whole. The government of Nigeria needs to invest in clean energy for the sake of its people and the environment. A just transition to sustainable renewable energy options is required now more than ever, to offer alternative livelihoods that would address the needs of workers who are dependent on coal mining activities.”

David Michael of Coal Free Nigeria said: “The IPCC report indicates that the increase in the rate of surface temperature in Africa, which is driven by human-induced climate change, has been more rapid than the global average. We are losing time against the climate crisis. The effects of climate change are already being felt in Nigeria.

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“The report is clear that climate impacts, such as flooding, are likely to get worse if urgent action is not taken the world over to lower carbon emissions. The Federal Government of Nigeria should abide by its commitment to the Paris agreement which requires phased reduction of greenhouse gases and halt the issuance of coal mining licenses.”

Joseph Ibrahim of Coal Free Nigeria said: “As a continent, we are already reaping the harvest of anthropogenic induced climate change, therefore we cannot be irresponsible in continuously sowing the seed of climate change which in this case is fossil fuel. The IPCC report is sounding the alarm and I only hope that the government at all levels can hear the sound clearly and wake up to its responsibility of protecting the environment and the livelihoods of its citizenry. This responsibility has to begin by ceasing to issue coal mining licenses in Nigeria.”

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A study commissioned by 350.org on the status of coal mining in Nigeria in 2019 revealed that coal mining in Kogi, Benue and Gombe states has led to extensive environmental degradation including the contamination of air, water and soil which continue to negatively affect the health of local communities.

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