Nigeria is currently in the process of revising its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which is an integral part of the Paris Agreement it signed to reduce its Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Signed in 2015, Nigeria’s ambiguous 20 per cent unconditional and 45 per cent conditional emission reduction has come to the end of its lifespan.
In revising the NDCs hinged on the five priority sectors of agriculture, power/energy, transport, oil & gas, and industry, the country has just added water and clean cooking as indices to achieve its NDCs. The Federal Government through the Department of Climate Change which is under the Federal Ministry of Environment contracted the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) to conduct analysis of the clean cooking to be integrated in the new NDCs.
In this interview with NKECHI ISAAC, the executive director of ICEED, Ewah Otu Eleri talks about why clean cooking is important and how it can help Nigeria in achieving its lofty target of mitigating its national emissions. He also talks of the need by government to provide free cooking gas cylinders to the urban poor and control the instability in the pricing of cooking gas as a measure to discourage the use of wood and charcoal in urban areas.
Eleri expresses strong conviction that the nation can lower its emissions by over 30 million tons CO2e by 2030 with the provision of cooking gas and improved wood stoves. The excerpts.
Nigeria is currently reviewing its NDCs and clean cooking has been added to these, what’s the correlation between cook stoves and combating climate change?
The issues of climate change and indoor air pollution is closely linked. First, in many cases, greenhouse gases and indoor air pollutants are emitted from the same sources. Second, some of the substances contribute to climate change and the adverse effects of air pollution, such as methane, black carbon and ground level ozone, or so-called short-lived climate pollutants. These linkages offer great opportunities to design mitigation measures that address both climate change and reduce indoor air pollution simultaneously.
What’s the statistics/percentage of firewood emission?
As at 2018, emissions from Nigeria’s kitchens contributed about 55 million tons of CO2e. This comes in addition to emissions of 700 thousand tons of PM2.5 or short-lived climate pollutants.
Are there health implications associated with using firewood?
According to experts, pollution from cooking with wood and charcoal can lead to acute lower respiratory infection in children. It can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and lung cancer. In 2018, 78 thousand premature deaths occurred in Nigeria as a result of indoor air pollution.
What are the barriers to accessing/using clean cook stoves?
Poor people simply cannot afford to buy cleaner cooking energy forms such as cooking gas and electricity, cooking equipment such as improved wood and charcoal stoves or gas cookers and cylinders. As poverty increases, the chances of expanding access to clean cooking in Nigeria becomes weak. Therefore, we cannot leave the imperative of providing clean cooking to market forces alone. Government must therefore step in significantly.
What can be done to address these challenges?
The government should provide cooking gas cylinders free of cost to the urban poor, control the instability in the pricing of cooking gas. Measures should be put in place to discourage the use of wood and charcoal in urban areas. For the rural areas, the government should fund programs that provide locally made wood stoves. These are low technology devices. This will create jobs and would have positive health impacts and reduce deforestation.
What effect can the use of clean cook stoves have on Nigeria’s NDCs?
By making clean cooking a priority in the implementation of the revised NDC, Nigeria can reduce its emissions significantly, create jobs and reduce the negative health impacts. Emissions from cooking represents about 17 per cent total of Nigerian emissions. By providing cooking gas and improved wood stoves we lower our emissions by over 30 million tons CO2e by 2030. We can create 1.5 million new jobs and save lives.