Climate Change negotiator for the government of Denmark, Dr. Thomas Becker, has said that Nigeria’s decision to subsidise the cost of fuel is one that negates attempts by the world to reduce the speed at which the climate is changing. Becker, who addressed science journalist during a training session on climate change reporting in Stellnebosch, Western Cape, South Africa, also said that such a decision would rather hurt the climate with far reaching effects.
According to him, such a decision encourages increase energy use at a time the world is craving for means of conserving energy to maintain healthy climate. "Subsidising the cost of oil means encourages extravagant use of energy at a time when we should be looking at how to reduce energy consumption as a way of saving the climate," he said. He, however, noted that the subsidies should be part of the country’s social programmes, which according to him would make life easier for the people.
Recently, the government of Nigeria announced that the pricing of all other categories of petroleum products, except petrol, was fully deregulated, which necessitated use of billions of Naira in yearly petrol subsidy.
By this, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) that monitors and regulates petroleum products prices said market fundamentals apply henceforth. A fall-out of this announcement, however, runs contrary to what would have been Becker’s expectation as the price of petrol fell from N70 per litre to N65.48 per litre when allowable margins to the marketers for transportation and other costs are added. Becker said that adaptation to climate change has posed the biggest challenge to developing countries, especially those in sub-Sahara Africa. Meanwhile, the issue of Gas Flaring by major multinational oil companies doing explorations in Nigeria’s Oil-Producing Niger Delta has continued to generate attention worldwide. Flaring of gases in the Niger Delta is producing more greenhouse-gas emissions than any other single source in Africa south of the Sahara. While many villagers may not be familiar with the concept of climate change, they complain that the air around them is hotter and foul smelling because of the gas flaring. Gas flares emit about 390 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, and experts say eliminating global flaring alone would curb more CO2 emissions than all the projects currently registered under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. In response to international and local pressure, Nigeria pledged in 1984 to eliminate gas flares and set 2008 as the target date. While gas flaring is unlikely to end next year, the government says it is serious about the effort.