Why Nigeria must abandon fossil fuel projects

by Uchegbulam Eleazer Ngozi

Observations from recent campaigns, study and research on global climate change has proved that the emission of natural or conventional fossil fuel has caused much harmful effects on our environment and health. In terms of the environment, coal, gas and fuel emit much globally dreaded carbon obviously creating much health problem to the inhabitants.

Accordingly, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET)in March 2016, predicted unbearable heat waves which it said will cause more hot days and warm nights. Globally too, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) have also opined that unless significant measures are taken on the use of fossil fuel and greenhouse gas emission, the global temperature will continue to rise to an unbearable degree into the next century. What a calamity in the offing!

One may therefore wish to ask, what is fossil fuel? Fossil fuel is a natural fuel or gas formed in the geological past from the remains of dead living organisms. Experts say that this has been the primary source of conventional energy generation in the global community. So in Nigeria, it has obviously caused much harm than good for the nation. For example, the oil spillage, gas flare etc. Apart from the generation of revenue for the nation, it has served almost 85% of the Nigerian energy demand and due to this great demand for energy to the daily individual, corporate and national energy demands and consumption, a reliable, affordable and clean energy is required so as to deliver the appropriate solution to the global climate change.

It is against this backdrop that the Managing Director of the NLNG, Tony Attah has implored on the federal government to unleash its gas potentials by supporting the commencement of Train 7 Gas Project. Speaking at the 2nd West African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (WAIPEC) in Lagos, he maintained that it was necessary for Nigeria to prepare for a reduction in carbon emission and fossil fuel consumption. He insisted that the best bet for Nigeria is to make gas available in abundance which experts assure is better than coal and fuel. Apart from the NLNG, other companies like Total Nigeria Plc has joined in the exploration and production of natural gas which they claim is currently effectively measuring, managing and mitigating the carbon emission hazards.

Sources from the International Energy Agency IEA indicates an increase on the World's energy demand. However, coal, gas and fuel are the chief energy generation sources in the country but accounts for a large percentage of the planet's gaseous emissions. Although some scholars have advised that natural gas is better than fossil fuel and coal, since it reduces the percentage of greenhouse emission, meets the growing demand of the world's population and tends to present significant advantages to the fight against global warming yet it still emits a significant amount of gas than coal and fuel. Hence, it is advisable to withdraw from fossil fuel to renewable energy consumption for our better environmental safety and health.

Renewable energy involves energy obtained from natural resources which are replenishable and renewable. This includes sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Reports say that it has proved in every capacity as the overall best option to replace the conventional fossil fuel energy in electricity generation. Also, it has been accepted globally as a cost effective development solution and a means of solving the challenges of emission in climate change.

Following the current global trend, our country, Nigeria need to measure up to the international standard and expectation notwithstanding the gains they derive from the surplus export from petroleum, a serious fossil carbon emission component. A recent report from the World Economic Forum entitled "Electric Vehicles for Smarter Cities: The Future of Energy and Mobility" indicates that certain automobile companies like the Volvo plans to produce electrified vehicles by 2019 while BMW plans to produce same vehicles by 2020. Also, Renault plans to produce Electric Vehicles EV in 2022 while Volkswagen is said to also invest up to $84 billion in battery and EV technology so as to electrify its models by 2030. Therefore, it is obviously advisable that the Nigerian economy has to adapt to these international standards and join in the global economic transition schedule.

In addition, the World Economic Forum revealed that countries like Norway, Netherlands, France, Germany, UK, China, and India have all made plans and commitments to transit to the production of Electric Vehicles EVs rather than the fossil fuel cars which invariably renders combustion engines needless. Also, the Europe Commission released the Clean Mobility Package in November, 2017 to set up new rules and standards to check further hazardous carbon emission. The threat of the emission to the Nigerian economy need to be handled urgently and cautiously by adapting to the new regulations and transition plan.

In contrast to the fossil fuel energy generation, solar energy is duely advantageous and adaptable in nature. It powers homes, corporations, and communities. According to the same IEA, a large proportion of energy consumption in the year 2030 will be renewable energy majoring on hydroelectricity which relies on solar and wind for power or energy generation. The United States government launched a Fossil Free Fast launch on January 31, 2018. Then the question comes, what has the Nigerian government done to bring this global transition in focus? Do we have to wait till others have benefitted. No, since the global economic trend confirms much dependence on renewable energy for the sake of global health and climate change, Nigeria cannot have any option than to join the League of Nations for healthy living and for a better global world. God forbid that my country should be an exception.

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