Gas projects shouldn’t be defunded – Osinbajo in London

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In its commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Federal Government of Nigeria is already making an attempt to use large shares of clean energy sources.

This is why the international community should know that the plan to defund gas projects in the run-up to the global Net-Zero emissions target would not help developing countries like Nigeria.

This was the root of the presentations Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made on Friday at separate meetings in London at the High-Level United Nations event on the Energy Transition plan in Africa with a singular focus on Nigeria.

The meetings included, first, a closed-door session with Mr Alok Sharma, the COP26 President-Designate, a cabinet rank British Minister and the Chair of the UK Government’s COP26 Energy Transition Council (ETC) at Whitehall and then interaction with the academic community at Imperial College followed by meetings of the Global Energy Alliance and presentations on the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan and Nigeria’s Integrated Energy Plan.

Osinbajo perceived at Imperial College that Africa as a continent is home to the world’s youngest fastest growing population and in a bid to create jobs and enable climate-smart industrialization, “the scale and quality of electricity services must increase significantly.”

He also noted that the scaling up in the Nigerian context is founded on clean energy, a reflection of the Federal Government’s pledge to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The VP said this “means building sustainability into our economic planning, and so our Economic Sustainability Plan includes a plan to provide five million homes with cleaner energy through its decentralized solar power programme. This means an estimated 25 million Nigerians would’ve access to solar power.

He said, “The first phase of this plan is already underway, and we think that this sort of programme will very quickly ramp up our progress towards net-zero emissions.”

But Osinbajo explained that the moves to defund gas projects would not help the “whole enterprise,” which “requires gas, especially if we’re putting it on the grid. We want to be able to put renewable energy on the grid, we need power for industry, and of course, we’re looking at the significant cost of that.”

According to the VP, “limiting the development of gas projects, poses dire challenges for African nations while making an insignificant dent in global emissions. Energy demand in Nigeria and across Africa is set to rise, as indeed it must, to deliver the industrialization, jobs and economy-wide progress people deserve.”

Furthermore, Osinbajo explained that “the energy access element of the transition must be linked with the emission reduction aspect of the transition. For too long, we’ve considered these to be parallel tracks. However, pathways to reaching net-zero by 2050 have to include first ending energy poverty by 2030.”

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