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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION - GAS FLARING IN NIGERIA

The protection of the environment is critical to the healthy development of any society. 
Of particular concern, is the rate at which the climate is changing owing to the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. The world cannot afford to sit back and watch the dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
The world has been put on notice about the dangers of allowing the environment to degenerate due to the harmful practices of individuals and corporations in the discharge of their personal and corporate mandates.

The Rio Earth Summit of 1992, where the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted was a major international political response to the risk of living in an endangered climatic system. There was also the conference of parties to review the implementation of the Rio Convention. After the Kyoto protocol, Montreal plan and other international conferences, came the Conference of Parties in Paris in 2015, known as Cop 21.
The Paris conference was to ensure the biggest pollutants of the world reduce their greenhouse emissions, mostly from their industrial complexes.
The world’s two biggest economies - the United States and China are the biggest culprits.

Besides greenhouse emissions, desertification, erosion and national resources exploitation constitute some of the biggest environmental hazards in the world.
You might want to read a good book that deals with Ecology and Development, I recommend the work, “Staying Alive” by the Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva.

Nigeria has its own share of environmental problems. Sadly, the country has not shown enough capacity to handle them. The environmental degradation of the Niger Delta starting with the exploitation of oil in the zone from the 1950s is an example.
Massive oil spillages have ensured that the soil and waters of the Niger Delta are mixed with dangerous chemicals that cause serious diseases like cancer, asthma and chronic bronchitis. Compounding the problems of the Niger Delta is the unending gas flaring by multinationals operating in the region.

According to the World Bank, thousands of gas flares at oil product sites around the globe burn approximately 140 billion cubic meters of national gas annually causing more than 300 million tons of carbon dioxide (Co2) to be emitted into the atmosphere.
Gas flaring endangers the climate. Some experts believe Nigeria’s gas flares are the single largest source of greenhouse gases in Africa. After Russia, Nigeria flares more gas than any country in the world in terms of the total volume of gas flared.

Despite claiming to have reduced gas flaring by 26 percent in the last 10 years, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) announced that Nigeria lost $850 million to gas flaring in 2015. According to the Nigerian organization, 3,500 megawatts of electricity was also lost as a result of gas flaring and no fewer than 55 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) was also lost, while 25 million tons of carbon dioxide was emitted within the period under review.

To help check the unsustainable practice of gas flaring, the World Bank initiated the “Zero Routine flaring by 2030”. The objective is to eliminate routine flaring no later than 2030. The World Bank says governments that endorse the initiative will provide legal, regulatory, investment and operating environment that is conducive for upstream investments and to the development of visible markets for the utilization of the gas and the infrastructure necessary to deliver the gas to the market.
The Zero Routine flaring initiative was extensively discussed at the April 2015 spring meeting of the World Bank in Washington.

Nigeria should key into this to solve the problems of the Niger Delta.
Though the volume of gas flaring in Nigeria is falling, yet emission remains hugely worrisome.
If reports are anything to go by, Nigeria is working on a Gas Mater Plan that seeks to deliver gas to commercial sub-sectors for use as fuel, captive power and related end-use, so as to consolidate Nigeria’s position and market share in high value export market.
The master plan will create a regional hub for gas-based industries such as fertilizer, petrochemical and methanol.
The Nigerian state should expedite action and make sure the objectives of the Gas Master Plan is achieved, as it will go a long way in checking the dangers of gas flaring.

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