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Groups brainstorm on Methane Emission mitigation in Nigeria

Groups brainstorm on Methane Emission mitigation in Nigeria

Experts and stakeholders have been brainstorming on ways to bring Nigeria out of the top 10 methane emission polluters and save Nigeria from heatwave syndrome.
This was at the roundtable discussion on methane abatement in Nigeria held at Visa Karena Hotel, Port Harcourt, on 9th April, 2024.

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The focus was on anthropogenic (human) methane emission sources which are produced and emitted from the decomposition of livestock manure and the organic components in agro-industrial wastewater, and others such as mining.
The experts led by Dr Brown Louis Ogbefun, Executive Director of the African Initiative for Transparency, Accountability, and Responsible Leadership (AfriTAL), who worked in collaboration with the Environmental Centre for Oil Spills and Gas Flaring (ECOSGF) said the wastes are typically stored or treated in waste management systems that promote anaerobic conditions (e.g., liquid or slurry in lagoons, ponds, tanks, or pits) and produce biogas, a mixture of about 70 per cent methane, 30 percent carbon dioxide (CO2), and less than one per cent hydrogen sulfide.
The report of the roundtable said methane has over 80 times the warming potency of carbon dioxide (CO2) with significant negative impact on climate change, the environment, air quality, and human health.

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It was noted that as Africa’s leading oil and gas producer, Nigeria is in the top 10 of global methane emission countries and faces challenges with methane emissions. This underscores the need for mitigation and reduction measures in support of its climate goals and social and economic objectives.
It was noted that Nigeria’s leadership role as a Global Methane Pledge Champion emphasizes its commitment to address methane emissions, especially in the oil and gas sector.
Additionally, according to the conference report, the Conference of Parties 28 (COP28, of countries whose heads signed action pledge) showcased global commitment to methane emission mitigation and reduction in the form of $1Bn in funding, new transformative partnerships, and major oil and gas companies’ pledge of near-zero methane emissions by 2030.
“Bridging technical, economic, regulatory, and social gaps, as well as the alignment of methane mitigation and reduction efforts with broader transformative development objectives is essential for effective and sustainable action.
Some of the panel discussants and experts Prof. Anthony Onoja of the University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Chinwoke Clara Ifeanyi-Obi (of the Post Graduate School also of the Uniport), Dr. Godswill Ukoipoko from the Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Mr. Monday Williams from the Akwa Ibom Min of Agriculture, and Dr. Nosa Aigbedon, south-south zonal director of NESREA (National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).
The experts maintained that reducing methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 would offer immediate and long-lasting multiple benefits not only for the climate, but also agriculture, human and ecosystem health. Every year, these benefits would be equal to a global saving of approximately US$470 billion.
According to Dr. Christopher Iwang, the Deputy Clerk of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly “We don’t have problems with the existence of laws, but we have problems with their implementation. We have a lot of environmental laws but none was implemented.” He also said that nobody monitors policies to be implemented because of corruption; the enforcers of these policies are not transparent to do so.
Prof. Onoja said Nigeria ranks among the 10 global methane emission pollutants in the world and that there must be adequate and correct policies, even though there is poor implementation.
Dr. Aigbedon (of NESREA) is of the view that the environment does not belong to the regulators entirely but to everybody. He went further to say that government position is to create awareness for the people and that equipment that are environment-friendly whose emission is quite minimal should be used and that industries must be encouraged to migrate to new equipment instead of dwelling on old ones permanently.
In his presentation, Engr. Monday Williams opined that implementation of good policies of government is a problem and that gas emission shouldn’t be played with. Stressing that government should sensitize people on how to dispose waste, he also said that proper disposal of waste materials by the people is a major setback. He added that Akwa Ibom was declared the cleanest state in Nigeria four times because of the good policies of the government. He urged other state governments to do same.
Key points from the key note speaker, Adam Heal, Executive Director of SDN, included the challenges of Methane Abatement and the opportunities.
He noted that there is no exact verifiable scale that exists on the exact size of emissions, but that SDN is building Nigeria’s prototype of Methane Tracker. He recommended moves to set target on delivery, improve in monitoring and data, gas commercialisation to reduce flares, etc.
In an interview, Dr Ogbeifun Dr. Ogbeifun Louis Brown, Executive Director, said heatwave is now with us. He said methane emission has been implicated in global heatwave. “I am sure that every Nigerian today sleeps and wakes up with heat. That should be of concern to everybody. We need therefore to take control in terms of advocacy and in terms of trying as much as possible to manage our waste well as a way of reducing the short term methane emissions within the atmosphere.”
He talked about practical steps to take from individual to corporate levels, consequences of methane in human body, etc.
In his own interview, Dr Aigbedion of NESREA said “Methane abatement is one that is of high concern to everyone. Methane is not a harmful gas at low levels, but at an elevated level, it becomes a thing of concern to everyone because of its ability to suppress oxygen and reduce what we take in as our daily life breath, which is oxygen. That is the crux of this discussion.
“By reducing anthropogenic (human) activities that lead to methane production, we need to ensure that waste management process does not produce methane. We also need ensure that we reduce indiscriminate dumping of waste in our dump sites. This is because sometimes methane production is very natural, through the decomposition of organic materials.
“Additionally, our agricultural processes which release methane is a very high contributor to greenhouse gasses.
“Government is trying in its bid to reduce methane release, not just methane, but every gas that has deleterious effect on human health. The government is working assiduously to ensure it is reduced.”
In her contribution, Dr Clara Ifeanyi Obi-Chinwoke, Senior Lecturer, Department of Agric Extension and Development Studies, Uniport, pointed out the weaknesses and gaps in policymaking and lawmaking concerning rural farmers and women. She remarked that such critical group is never consulted in policymaking or lawmaking processes but are merely informed.
She the research findings and weather forecasts are never taken to the rural farmers while new ways of farming and environmental teachings do not get to the critical segment. “That method doesn’t ensure their interests and concerns are well captured, hence gender irresponsive policies and frameworks are on display.
“Research without impact is useless. We must find a way to ensure all research outcomes get to the users. Until the gap is closed, the solution we need in the agric sector may never be seen.”

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Written by Nike

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