Ending gas flaring would yield $7.5bn to economy – Report

*Shell gas flare at Kolo Creek.

*Shell gas flare at Kolo Creek.

*Govt targets 13,000Mw electricity from solar energy

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

25 December 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government has revealed that ending gas flaring would yield over $7.5 billion benefits to the national economy.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, disclosed this in a document detailing some of the highlights and agreements reached at the recently concluded Conference of Parties on Climate Change, otherwise known as COP 21, which was held in Paris, France.

In the document, which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja, the minister also stated that the Federal Government plans to develop about 13,000 megawatts of off-grid electricity from solar energy.

The Minister said government had resolved to reduce gas flaring, adding that Nigeria could generate as much as $7.5bn worth of benefits if it could put an end to the flaring of gas.

According to her, “By ending gas flaring and using the gas for commercial purposes, including power generation, we could generate as much as $7.5bn worth of benefits.”

She stated that government was also working to diversify the country’s energy mix, stressing that particular emphasis was on renewable energy and efficient gas power.

Mohammed stated that it had been established that Nigeria was willing and eager to take a regional lead by announcing a bold and courageous Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) that seek to ensure that the Nigerian economy continued to grow while reducing its carbon emissions.

She said, “Nigeria’s ambitious INDCs aim at reducing emissions by 20 per cent by the year 2030 with support from the international community. This will support the restructuring of the economy in a way that will facilitate inclusive growth with vast opportunities to diversify the energy mix, with emphasis on renewable energy and efficient gas power.

“In particular, we plan to develop around 13GW of off-grid solar power, delivering energy access to the poorest communities in a cheaper and healthier manner with less emission. We also plan to create a more efficient, lower carbon oil and gas sector.”

She noted that the government would substantially increase the use of climate smart agriculture through irrigation systems, climate resilient crops and broader sustainable land management practices.

“Given the climate risks that Nigeria faces, this is the only way in which the government’s ambitious Agriculture Transformation Agenda can be delivered,” she added.

Mohammed said these opportunities would not only reduce emissions and improve climate resilience, but that the approach would unlock economic opportunities.

According to her, the World Bank has projected that a combination of low carbon activities could provide a boost to the Nigerian economy and add as much as two per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The minister urged the international community to support and assist Nigeria with financing, technology and capacity building, just as she enjoined the private sector and civil society to partner the government to unlock the opportunities provided by the historic climate change agreement.

“Working together, I firmly believe that we can commit ourselves to actions that will serve as a springboard to Nigeria’s new climate economy,” Mohammed said.

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