The Federal Government of Nigeria launched its Energy Transition Plan on August 24, 2022. The plan is tailored to guide the country towards the twin objective of achieving universal access to energy by 2030 and a carbon-neutral energy system by 2060. This plan was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. As part of the plan to achieve net-zero by 2060, the Federal Government announces its readiness to junk kerosene consumption by 2030. This is seen by critics as a milestone gained. By 2030, it is expected that there would have been total gas penetration in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari made the pronouncement in Abuja on September 13, 2022, at the opening ceremony of the 15th Annual Banking and Finance Conference, which was organized by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN). He emphasized long-term greenhouse emissions have resulted in hotter temperatures, more severe rainstorms, increased drought and food security issues. He said that to tackle this issue, the government has set plans to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions. A more specific instance of that is that by 2030, the government aims to eliminate kerosene lighting.
Net-zero is all about reducing CO2 in the environment.
Nigeria plans to have a carbon-neutral energy system by 2060. This is in a bid to achieve net-zero. Net zero is a target of completely cancelling out the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity. This is to be achieved by reducing emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In simpler terms, the carbon footprint of individuals in Nigeria needs to be drastically reduced. Carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of an individual, organization, or community.
The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil are some of the causes of greenhouse emissions in the world. This has affected our climate drastically and is affecting everyone on the planet. In Nigeria, one of the direct causes of these emissions is the burning of firewood. Regardless of mainstream thoughts and assumptions, people still cook using firewood especially in the rural areas. Even in urban areas, many still prefer to cook with firewood when it is for a lot of people, such as in a party.
Can Nigeria achieve net-zero with the rate of poverty?
One of the concerns of the Federal Government should be the rate of poverty in Nigeria. This is because severe poverty can make kerosene unaffordable to some demography so that they resort to using firewood to cook. According to Macrotrends, Nigeria’s poverty rate for 2018 is 92 percent. The data showed that it was a 1.2 percent increase from 2015. So only few can afford kerosene. Will phasing out kerosene stop the people from burning firewood?
United Nations reports that more than 50 percent of Nigerian communities still use firewood for cooking despite the health risks. This includes urban areas where firewood and charcoal cooking are used to save cost of cooking, especially when the food is in a large quantity. This shows that the Nigerian government still has a lot of work to do if it will achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2060. And the question still remains: can Nigeria achieve net-zero with this rate of poverty?
Is Nigeria’s focus misdirected to unnecessary issues?
Recently, at a forum, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, was asked about his opinion about climate change and what his government if elected plans to do especially as regards commitments that the current administration has made. He answered, “I do not know much about climate change, but we will pay attention to it. I don’t think we should be worrying about climate change when people are diving for cover from bombs.” Is Nigeria focused on the wrong thing at this particular moment? Presently, the country is witnessing the highest inflation rate, most severe insecurity, heightened kidnappings, and massive looting of the treasury. Will all these issues allow Nigeria to achieve net-zero by 2060?
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