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Energy sector largest contributor to emissions in Nigeria

Chibuzo Nwaneri

One of the expectations from the future report regarding the level of greenhouse gas emissions given the rising concerns on global warming is to see significant reduction even as there are observed shortcomings in the Nigerian government’s climate governance.

Given the concerns on climate change, civil society organisations (CSOs) and environmentalists are worried that the newly-passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) made no provisions for specific end to flaring from oil and gas operations. 

Section 4:7(IV) only made general provision for the elimination of natural gas flaring and venting from upstream crude oil and gas without setting an end date.    

This is worrisome as the Interim Report on Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), submitted by the Federal Ministry of the Environment listed the Energy sector as the major contributor to Nigeria’s GHG, closely followed by Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU).

Specifically, fugitive emissions from the oil and gas production activities industry are the largest contributors, but the Federal Government’s efforts to reduce flaring through its gas monetisation policies have not yielded the desired results.

Furthermore, the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report, revealed that gas flaring Nigeria rose by 0.52% from 7.31 billion cubic meters in 2016 to 7.83 billion cubic meters in 2019, but only dropped to 7.2 billion cubic meters in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, according to the Ministry of the Environment Interim report published in May 2021, the Energy sector contributed about 60% of the nation’s emissions in 2018, accounting for a total of 209 million tonnes of carbon dioxide CO2 equivalent emissions.

Analysts believe that with the right structure in place, it will become more expensive to flare gas, but the lack of supportive infrastructure for gas gathering or reinjection, and the absence of adequate processing and storage facilities are major challenges against cutting flare volume in Nigeria.

Fugitive emissions from the oil and gas production activities industry are the largest contributors, but the Federal Government’s efforts to reduce flaring through its gas monetisation policies have not yielded the desired results

Aside from flaring, the report also listed energy generation and transportation as the next largest contributors to emission, without giving further detail. It was expected that the introduction of Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) in major cities to displace fractions vehicles, motorcycles, light passenger and heavy-duty passenger buses would have helped reduce emissions.

After updating the baseline projection of GHG emissions in Nigeria, the report expects total estimated GHG emissions would be 453 million tonnes CO2-eq emission by 2030, a 31% increase between 2018 and 2030, or an equivalent of 2.6% annual rise.

The revised projections envisages Energy and Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) as the largest sources of GHG emissions by 2030, together accounting for 51% and 33% of the projected 453 million tonnes CO2-eq emission respectively.

The revised baseline projection also indicates a significant 50% drop from the 2014 projections, which previously estimated the country’s total GHG emissions by 2030 to be around 898 million tonnes CO2-eq emissions.

The recalculated projection uses updated parameters such as GDP growth and economic impact of the pandemic.

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