By Gloria Akudoro, Abuja
Determined to be part of global energy transition, the Federal Government has revealed that decarbonization is the pathway to achieving energy transition that will guarantee the people affordable and reliable energy supply.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated this while declaring open the 3-Day 31st National Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Environmental Society held over the weekend at NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.
Speaking on the theme, “Balancing Climate Action, Energy Security and UN Sustainable Development Goals,” he said a transition that is just is one that acknowledges Nigeria’s enormous energy needs and promote clean energy as well as universal energy access and energy security.
“To ensure we leave no one behind, there is a need to adopt energy transition pathways that prioritise eliminating energy poverty by 2030. We need a large-scale energy supply capable of powering industrialisation, driving growth and ending climate issues associated with highly polluting diesel, firewood, charcoal and kerosene use.
“If we have learnt anything from Europe’s current energy crisis, it is that energy security is paramount in a nation’s energy transition journey. We cannot afford to separate climate and energy access issues. Our solutions must intersect to tackle energy poverty and climate change,” he emphasised.
The Vice President who was represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Ambassador (Dr) Adeyemi Dipeolu, Osinbajo said the government is commited to an economy that is globally competitive, capable of powering new jobs, eradicating poverty and improving our income levels.
“ To this end we are striving to meet the 2060 net- zero target and Paris Agreement on global energy ,”he stated.
“We have developed the Energy Transition Plan in line with the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 13. Our Plan incorporates climate action measures into energy planning strategies and policies. In our long-term 2060 target, we project that over 70 per cent, about 197 gigawatts of our total grid generation capacity will be provided by solar energy.
“We will also plan to add 34 gigawatts of hydrogen, and 90 gigawatts of energy storage capacity. We also plan to upgrade our existing transmission and distribution infrastructure, reduce reliance on dirty diesel generators and end gas flaring by capturing gas for productive uses. However, in the short to medium term, we need to take a balanced approach that incorporates a range of energy sources to ensure an abundant, affordable and reliable energy supply, which is essential to the development of a modern economy,” he added.
He further stressed the importance of natural gas that will not only meet the short-term energy needs but also accelerate economic development as well as supporting people’s health and livelihoods. He added it is a key resource for industry, fertilizer manufacturing, and cooking sectors which are more difficult to transition than power generation.
“It is also essential in providing the energy security needed to transition to cleaner energy sources in the long term.”
The Vice President, also stated that development of infrastructure is the pathway to eliminating emissions from the use of firewood, charcoal and kerosene to provide every household with cleaner cooking options, including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and biogas. This he said will also be beneficial as we transition to hydrogen.
Also speaking, the Minister of Environment, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi, represented by the Deputy Director, Department of Climate Change, Victoria Pwol, expressed hope of the aftermath impact of the conference, said series of climate action programs have been initiated by the FG as well as policies implemented to mitigate problems of climate change. Adding that a lot awareness has been created and still ongoing towards reducing the threats.
Delivering his opening remark, the Chairman, Caretaker Committee/Interim President, Nigerian Environment Society – NES, Mr Victor Imevbore said over 400 members both within and outside Nigeria are committed to advocacy and action towards environmental protection, sustainable development and the promotion of environmental professionalism within the country and by extension to global arena.
He said in light of energy insecurity and its implications for hunger eradication, poverty elimination and real human development in developing nations, the conference aims to examine the realities, alignments and contradictions in the global action to limit global warming relative to a pre-industrial baseline and to spotlight climate justice, the role of fossil fuels in resource rich countries, migration and conflict.
Imevbore also revealed that the caretaker committee has in the past one year focused on consolidating on the activities of past executives and expanding the society’s visibility and relevance through a 7-point agenda which includes enhancement of the NES brand, improved internal governmance, local and international collaborative efforts, operational efficiencies as well as promotion of professionalism.
Whilst reminder to all that the responsibility for national and international action towards sustainability is a collective effort, he stressed on the devastating impact of the flooding that has rampaged different parts of the country in the past two months brought to bare extreme weather events that exposed poverty related vulnerabilities and a reminder of the country’s mutually reinforcing environmental problems such as pollution, wide-spread deforestation, desertification, poorly planned cities, coastal erosion, loss of social cohesion, unsustainable use of other natural resources among others.
“These problems are exacerbated by impunity in our society and inaction of key stakeholders. The situation calls for urgent collective efforts to curb population growth if we are to avert irreversible exceedance of our ecosystem’s carrying capacity.
“Other areas that require urgent and sustained action are improved and exemplary governmance performance, veritable measures by corperate organizations to entrench sustainability in their operations, environmental education of law enforcement agents including judges/government security forces, incorporating sustainability into our educational curriculum from primary level, better multi-sector collaboration and establishing a certified pool of experienced and reliable environmental practitioners,” he added.
Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona who spoke on the terrible consequences resulting from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, expressed that the collaboration between nations is the only way to tackle the threat not only of climate change but also how it can be reconciled with energy security and energy abundance at affordable prices for everyone.
However, the event witnessed presence of distinguished personalities in the persons of Prof. Ekanem Braide, Chairperson of the Occasion, representative of CEO, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA); Francis Ogaree, ED, Hydrocarbon Processing Plants, Installation and Transportation Infrastructure and traditional rulers who also spoke on the theme and pledged commitment towards supporting the society on sustainability development and environmental protection.
Highlights of the conference include NES Fellowship Conferment Award on professionals who have made notable contributions towards sustainability in their spheres of influence, training on carbon finance opportunities for industry and practitioners as well as excursion to FCT Water Board, Lower Usuma Dam and Children park/zoo Asokoro.