Nigeria signed the Paris Agreement. What does that mean? 

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You must have heard that Nigeria signed the historic ‘Paris Agreement’ last week. If you did not, you can read more of that here

Is this just one of the several signatures in which the president has put pen to paper and that is all we hear of it? Ideally no. The signing of the Paris Agreement is supposed to be the beginning of several actions by the Nigerian government and its people to meet both the Nigerian and the global goal of dealing with climate change. 

So let me break it down. Signing the Paris Agreement isn’t just saying yes, we have signed as a nation, it is committing to the goals of the ‘Paris Agreement’ which I earlier wrote about here

Because the United Nations understands that each country has its peculiar problems and peculiar solutions to these problems, it has requested that each countries draws out its ‘Intended National Determined Contributions’. 

That’s simply saying, Hey Nigeria, we have a list of climate goals, what are you doing in your country to help achieve these goals. 

Nigeria then looked at its current climate challenges and the Ministry of Environment created a detailed 23 page document on what was considered best to focus on. I will not bore you with the explicit details but three major actions which are to be achieved unconditionally were highlighted:

  1.  To end glass flaring 
  2.  To increase energy efficiency by 20%
  3. To provide 13GW of renewable energy in rural communities which are currently off grid. 

Are you thinking; on whose budget is Nigeria going to achieve this especially being a broke at the moment?  The misconception that climate action is expensive needs to be corrected. Let’s take gas flaring for example. The reason most of the gas in Nigeria is being flared is because up until few years ago, we did not have gas insfrastruture to utilize the gas, neither  did we have storage or distribution channel for the gas. So some ‘wise fellas’ thought, let’s just burn the gas and get to the oil. 

Doesn’t that sound like burning the cash because we don’t have a vault to store it in? 

Another example is the plan to reduce energy efficiency by 20%.  Though switching to energy efficient equipment has a high initial cost, the long term energy saving usually pays for the equipment in about a year, thereby reducing the overall energy use throughout the lifespan of the equipment. 

There are several other actions in Agriculture, production, commerce that the ministry has come up with, these include: 

  1. Scalable gas plants to generate electricity and reduce the use of individual generators.
  2. Building gas plants close to flaring sites.
  3. Use of gas in power generation instead of liquid fuels.
  4. Climate smart agriculture ( e.g growing trees on farmlands to prevent erosion and create a cover on the sun to reduce irradiation from the sun).
  5. Stop the use of charcoal by creating cost competitive alternative.
  6. Investing in seamless urban transportation to reduce the number of cars on the road.
  7. Upgrading roads and using rail to transport goods. 
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