Wednesday, 7th June 2023

Climate change: Academy advocates policy shift in transport, buildings, others

By Victor Gbonegun
22 May 2023   |   3:08 am
To reduce emissions by half by 2030 and mitigate climate change impact across the country, the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAENG) has called for major changes in transport, electricity consumption, industry, land use and buildings.

To reduce emissions by half by 2030 and mitigate climate change impact across the country, the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAENG) has called for major changes in transport, electricity consumption, industry, land use and buildings.

The group warned that a recent IPCC report stating that greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to increase and emissions need to be reduced by almost half to limit global warming to 1.5°C, gives a new urgency to the climate change issue.

Speaking on ‘climate change initiative in Nigeria’ at the Fellows’ forum organised by the NAENG in Lagos, an energy consultant and fellow of the academy, Dr. Olufunmilayo Coker, said Nigeria has made major commitments to net zero emissions by 2060, reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 (oil and gas sector reduction of 60 per cent) and flares out by 2030.

Others, he said reverse deforestation by 2030, providing solar power to five million homes and 25 million people by 2030, improved cook stoves and increase in the use of Liquidified Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking, phasing out kerosene lighting and developing renewable energy mini-grids and improved mass transport.

“Improved cookstoves is one of the climate actions contained in Nigeria’s National Determined Contribution (NDC). The NDC states that traditional cooking methods with firewood and inefficient stoves are claiming lives and ravaging forests and, without action, 97,000 lives could be lost by 2030 due to air pollution.

“Improved cookstoves are energy efficient and have lower toxic emissions than traditional stoves. It is a low-cost way of improving public health in rural communities, tackling deforestation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Coker said.

He observed that rapid reduction in emissions would adversely affect Nigeria’s oil and gas export potential.

Coker said Nigeria needs to mitigate its greenhouse gas emissions, reverse deforestation, adapt and build resilience to changing climatic conditions and also adapt to the energy transition.

He said: “International and local funding need to be mobilised for climate action and there should be public awareness campaigns. Nigeria, through National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) must fulfill its international commitments and interact effectively with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Extensive data gathering, planning, target setting, and implementation monitoring are required.”

He said the academy should provide support and expertise for climate action, create national awareness and foster the development and application of systems thinking and systems engineering to address the various complex systems.

“The climate is a complex system with extensive interactions and addressing it has many impacts on society, the economy and livelihoods. Thorough planning, data gathering, plan implementation, performance monitoring, and reporting are imperative.

“Nigeria has binding reporting commitments to UNFCCC. Nigeria is required to revise and update its Nationally Determined Contribution. The academy should support this effort and keep track of progress with a view to ensuring that Nigeria fulfills its obligations to UNFCCC, reduces its greenhouse gas emissions, transitions to green energy and builds resilience to reduce Nigeria’s vulnerability to climate change.”

He tasked the association to provide professional support and expertise to NCCC and other policy makers and relevant entities on climate change.

NAEng should create national awareness of climate change issues, participate effectively with international scientific and engineering institutions on climate change and the energy transition and foster the application of systems engineering and systems thinking to combat climate change issues.

President of NAEng, Professor Peter Onwualu, said with the reality of climate change, there was a need for advocacy on what should be done to limit its impacts and advance the economy.

Also speaking, a professor of Agricultural and Food Engineering at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Akindele Alonge, said emerging technologies have become some major part of agricultural revolution amid the climate change issue.

Alonge called for the development of codes and standards for the sector, for safety, quality, efficiency, protection of the environment and compliance with international standards.