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Nigeria integrates clean cooking in revised climate blueprint

As part of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s efforts to integrate clean cooking into the revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to meet its obligations to the Paris Agreement on climate change, the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Heinrich Boell Foundation, World Resources Institute and Stockholm Environment Institute is providing what appears to be a robust clean cooking database, modeling for various access expansion scenarios as well as mitigation implications.

Clean Cook Stove
Perm Sec, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Amb. Dr. Anthony Ekpa, giving a remark

To this end, a workshop with the theme: “Clean Cooking in Nigeria’s Revised NDC – ambition, mitigation implications and the way forward” was held on Thursday, February 25, 2021 in Abuja to disseminate the research findings to a wide range of stakeholders.

Speaking during the workshop, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Dr. Anthonia A. Ekpa, expressed excitement on the determination of the Federal Government to meet its climate change obligations by ensuring that Nigerian households convert from harmful cooking fuels such as fuelwood, charcoal, and kerosene to cooking gas and efficient wood stoves.

Dr. Ekpa said: “The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs is fully committed to supporting the actuallisation of clean cooking targets in the NDC. The ministry is seeking to expand access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services in Nigerian communities.”

Already the Federal Government has announced a cooking gas expansion programme to reach 30 million households by 2025. As part of efforts to reach the rural areas, the government is also concluding plans to scale up the use of locally made improved wood stove technologies.

As part of efforts to enhance Nigeria’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, (ICEED, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, has launched a number of studies to explore the opportunities for delivering clean cooking solutions as part of Nigeria’s ambition to scale up its commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement.

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Ewah Eleri, Executive Director of ICEED, said: “Expanding access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in Nigeria comes with multiple benefits. Universal access to clean cooking can save up to a million lives in Nigeria by 2030. Already, according to the WHO, Nigeria loses 94,300 lives annually because of smoke from the kitchen. Reaching national targets on clean cooking will also help remove the over 30 million tons annual carbon dioxide emissions from Nigerian kitchens and help restore the country’s forests.”

Meeting Nigeria’s clean cooking targets will be a daunting task. Using data from the National Bureau of Statistics, Maria Yetano Roche, one of the contributors to the clean cooking research, projected that “on a business-as-usual scenario only 19% of Nigeria’s households will be able to use cooking gas by 2030. In the most optimistic scenario, only 45% and 12% of households will use cooking gas and improved wood stoves, respectively by 2030.”

A major obstacle to expanding access to clean cooking in Nigeria is the deepening poverty, according to ICEED. Already 41% of all Nigerians are considered poor. According to another contributor to the clean cooking research, Adeola Ijeoma Eleri of the Energy Commission of Nigeria submitted that there is a strong linkage between the level of poverty and choice of cooking fuels and technologies, especially among the poorest segment of the society.

“The poorer a household is, the more likely they will choose fuelwood for cooking. While richer households often choose cleaner fuels and technologies, they often combine fuel types according to their various cooking needs,” Ekeri said.

“Other factors influencing the choice of fuels include their affordability, availability and accessibility. However, for the federal government to reach its target among the poorest, especially in rural areas there is need for bold policy support mechanisms,” she concluded.

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While poverty is apparently a major obstacle to expanding access to clean cooking, several countries with lower gross domestic product than Nigeria seem to have made more progress than Nigeria, according to Precious Onuvae, a contributor to the study.

Giving examples of other countries, she said: “For instance, while only 10.5% of all households in Nigeria are currently using cooking gas, in Ghana and Ivory Coast, 24% and 55% of households, respectively are using this fuel for cooking. In Ethiopia and South Africa, 32% and 80% of households, respectively are using electricity for cooking, while only 1% of Nigerian homes use mainly electricity for cooking.”.

According to Onuvae, one of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria is the lack of a strong federal agency to lead efforts towards a cooking energy transition for the country.

“Responsibility for cooking energy development is shared among a myriad of institutions. This makes clean cooking look like an institutional orphan,” she concluded.

Stakeholders also lamented the lack of financing and suitable technologies as major obstacles for reaching the clean cooking targets of the country.

A contributor to the study and a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Temilade Sesan, submitted that the problem is much deeper than that.

She said: “Nigeria lags behind in access to clean cooking because the interest of influential private sector businesses and government does not necessarily align with the need to provide clean cooking to the poorest households. Today, the alignment between private business interest with the interest of the government to deepen the use of cooking gas is enjoying political support and creating a momentum for the cooking energy market. This unfortunately does connect with the interest of the poorest households.”

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However, the Paris Climate Change Agreement apparently has created new opportunities for poor people in Nigeria to be part of the climate solution. Article 9 of the Agreement provides for developing countries to leverage on climate finance to cover the cost of greenhouse gas mitigation efforts. By making clean cooking a central part of Nigeria’s renewed commitment to the Paris Agreement, averted emissions from millions of Nigeria’s kitchens can attract compensation by developed countries.

This so-called carbon credits can help offset the cost of cleaner cooking fuels or improved wood stoves. By either removing or reducing the high cost of accessing these technologies and fuels, the Paris Agreement will help breath fresh air in millions of Nigeria’s kitchens and help the country meet its national obligations to the Paris Climate Agreement.

Another researcher, Okey Ugwu, provided examples on the activities that will help Nigeria attain its clean cooking goals. Some of these projects, he said, include the building of training centres for the construction of efficient wood stoves in all six geopolitical zones.

On the supply of cooking gas, he proposed the setting up of at “least one cylinder manufacturing plant in each geopolitical zone, establish at least 7,400 skid plants by 2025 and build new LPG terminals in northern Nigeria.”

Eleri thanked the Federal Ministry of Environment for building a partnership in revising Nigeria’s commitment to the Paris Climate Change Agreement. He also thanked the NDC Partnership, Heinrich Boell Foundation and the World Resources Institute for funding the research.

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