The Globe has been in a phase of Energy Transition, away from the exploitation and use of fossils which have deeply been incriminated in global pollution, green house gas effects and consequently climate change to alternatives including far-reaching structural adjustments that supports cleaner and safer environment. The United Nations holds Environmental Sustainability as one of the Pillars in its Sustainable Development Goal, the SDGs. Its Conference of Parties under the Paris Agreement of 2015 enacted framework to work towards and ultimately bring global emissions down to levels that pose most minimal or zero risks to the Climate by transiting from fossils to clean energy. The Paris Accord was signed unto by 197 countries, including Nigeria.
At the recent UN Conference on Climate & Environment, Nigeria again reiterated its commitment to the Paris Agreement; the Country’s President Muhammadu Buhari, pledged that Nigeria will achieve zero emission by 2060. It also earlier submitted its INDC, (Intentional Nationally Determined Cut). This is a short – term commitment in emission cuts and rolling back on fossils. Other countries have done same too, with the ones traditionally seen as worse culprits in global pollution compelled to lead on these commitments, actions and initiatives.
At home in Nigeria, what is the general perspective? What is changing? What are the implications of these? What prospects or challenges does these hold for the country, the country’s economy, the environment, the populace, the country’s fragile peace and security, the polity, energy behavior & security and importantly too, for Women?
The Gender Transformative (GATI) On Energy Transitioning:
In liaison with the Gender and Energy Program, the Gender Transformative, GATI, has been monitoring and analyzing policies and behaviors in and around the Oil & Gas Energy sector and closely monitoring the gender angle of developments in the sector within the scope of Oil and Beyond Oil.
Initial research and analysis on this indicate a near total non-preparedness of both the country and its citizenry, including particularly women to a Post-Oil Era. And this is so with the palpable continued heavy reliance of the economy on oil and gas and revenues from same, as well as the near absence of the necessary investments, technologies and/or structures needed for energy transition.
While the government seems to have the consciousness of this necessity, with for instance the launch of its Gas Flare Commercialization Program within the framework of which it declared the period 2021 to 2030, the “Decade of Gas” to according to it, shift the nation’s focus from oil-centered exploitation to gas-driven industrial development. However, preliminary findings from our researches and engagements, point to the fact that the impact of this has been critically low; The World bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR) in its 2022 Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report, ranked Nigeria as 7th in the World in gas flaring, while the Nigerian Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, held that emitted a 6.7million tones of carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions in the first half of 2021 alone through gas flaring. It held further that, for the full year 2021, the country flared 255.5billion standard cubic feet of gas. In similar stroke, crude oil spillages and theft have also been on the increase with data from the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, showing that the country lost an astounding $1bn to oil theft in the first quarter of 2022. These incidences have had far-reaching effects on the economy of the country with finance authorities of the country declaring severe shortfall and challenges with revenues. This showed the still heavy dependence of Nigeria’s economy on oil.
In a similar vein, inspite of the launch of the government’s Gas Commercialization Program, (clean) Energy Access has remained a mirage to the bulk of the citizenry. LPG prices for instance, mostly used for households and domestic purposes have seen a steady price skyrocketing in recent times even as the electricity industry which equally utilizes same Item for their services are grappling with availability and costs of gas. The impact on these on Women has been far-reaching as they bear a large brunt of the weight of supporting households and experience significant challenges in quest for access to energy, even far more for clean energy.
These scenarios point to the yet high level of dependencies on fossil oil in Nigeria. This does not portend any good news either for its Paris Accord Climate Goals and Obligations or the Sustainable Development Goals, including importantly also in the regards of Gender sensitivities in energy transition. Investments on, and spread and penetration of clean technologies and alternatives as solar energy, etc have been low owing to a number of factors and these therefore continue to hold bleak the prospect of the country meeting its international climate obligation deadlines.
The need therefore to reduce dependencies, adopt mechanisms, technologies, policies, systems and behaviours in Nigeria, that will save energy and ultimately the climate/environment is both strong and urgent. The Gender Transformative is supporting actions, initiatives, mechanisms and programmes, Networks and Alliances etc aimed at this, and particularly as in the regards of women and other vulnerable groups within the ecosystem.