Energy Transition, Pathway To Zero-carbon Economy – Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has identified energy transition as the pathway for transformation of the global energy sector from a fossil-based one to zero-carbon emission economy.

Speaking at the Seplat Energy Summit 2021 themed – ‘Global Trends in Energy Transition and the Africa Perspective’, he averred that at the heart of this pathway was the need to reduce energy-related carbon emissions to limit climate change to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement which Nigeria agrees with.

Osinbajo forecasted that, over the next decade, every aspect of the national energy system would be affected by changes in climate and energy policy, financing, continuous technological advancement, and shifts in energy supply and demand.

He, however, stressed that the transition would need significant speed to broaden its scope towards achieving SDG 7 and align with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Thus, energy transition can no longer be limited to incremental steps. It must become a transformational effort, a system overhaul, based on rapid upscaling and implementation of all available technologies to innovate for the future and this is the right moment to reassess long-standing assumptions, perceived barriers and default decisions. The emerging energy system must promote resilient economies and societies for a more inclusive and equitable world. Ambitious and targeted actions are needed now and throughout the coming decades to ensure the goals of SDG7 are fulfilled and a decarbonized energy system achieved by 2050,” he said.

Represented by the Minister of State for Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor, Osinbajo revealed that Nigeria has now developed her Energy Transition Plan, through the COP26 Energy transition Council process, which has the three core objectives of achieving universal access to energy by 2030, net-zero emissions by 2050 and industrialization to alleviate poverty and drive economic growth. 

According to him, Nigeria also developed an energy compact which was presented at the high-level dialogue on energy at the just-concluded 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), adding that, by this, Nigeria joined the league of the global energy debate to explore this central driver for economic and social development, as well as environmental and climate issues, and is positioned to influence the scale and nature of investments across the economy, long-term climate goals and economic opportunities associated with energy transition.

In his goodwill message, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva pointed out that the Petroleum Industry Bill 2020 (now Petroleum Industry Act 2021) will undoubtedly assist in harnessing Nigeria’s potential to achieve her plan of increasing oil production to 4mb/d and oil reserves from 37bbls to 40bbls, while also drawing on the country’s estimated 600TCF of natural gas reserves to provide clean and efficient energy. 

He contended that these resources will be crucial in supplying the global market, with a broad portfolio of energy options, as well as supporting the global endeavour to alleviate energy poverty as envisioned in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7.

Sylva rejected the concept of a single pathway to the energy transition, adding that multiple pathways should be encouraged to ensure [that] no country should be left behind.

“This is our approach to the issue of renewable energy and the energy transition.  While acknowledging our commitments to net-zero as a nation, there is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria requires fossil fuel as its baseload energy source.  This is undoubtedly a major concern for climate activists in developed nations, but the clamour to emphasise only renewable energy as the sole pathway to energy transition is a source of concern for African countries that are still working to achieve baseload industrialisation, address energy poverty and ensure reliable power supply.

“This is why, in Nigeria, we reject the concept of a single pathway to the energy transition.  Indeed, we prefer the concept of ‘just’ energy transition which takes into cognisance the specific circumstances of each nation in developing the energy transition pathway that best achieves the environmental, social, political and economic objectives of the transition in that specific nation.  Multiple pathways to the energy transition should and must exist to ensure that no country is left behind in the process of achieving net-zero by 2050,” he added.

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