Osinbajo cautions wealthier countries against defunding gas projects
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says efforts were currently underway to limit the development of gas projects in Africa, violating the principles of equity and justice enshrined in global agreements.
The vice president said much of the global investment in clean energy would need to go into Africa and advised that efforts be made to redirect global capital to the continent.
Osinbajo’ s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Tuesday, in Abuja, said the vice president made the submission at a virtual conference under the theme: ‘Climate, Conflict, and Demography in Africa,’ jointly hosted by the International Crisis Group, the Royal African Society, and Africa Confidential.
Osinbajo had at different forums, raised the issue of financing of gas projects in developing countries, like Nigeria, advocating for a just transition and more effective engagements towards the target of Net-Zero Emission by 2050.
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“Because of the role of gas as a bridge fuel, to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix, and rapidly transit away from firewood-based cooking fuel to natural gas-based cooking, yields both environmental and health benefits.
“We continue to be the most adversely impacted by climate change, so much so that public resources that could help modernise the energy mix has to be redirected towards adaptation spending.
“But worse, we are being compelled to make disproportionately huge sacrifices as the wealthier countries continue full speed on defunding gas projects and insisting that gas projects must be defunded as an important component of the drive towards net-zero emissions by 2030.”
On the amount of investments required in clean electricity – generation and grid storage infrastructure, Osinbajo said that to get the world on track for net-zero emissions by 2050, it would cost more than $1.6 trillion dollars per year by 2030, or four times more than what was invested in these sectors in 2020.
“In regions like Africa, installed electricity capacity will need to double by 2030 and increase at least five-fold by 2050.
“Our first obligation will always be to ensure the wellbeing of our people, through access to development services including electricity, healthcare, education, safe jobs, and a safe environment, including access to clean cooking fuels.
“We must prioritise solutions that align with development and climate agendas; this is absolutely important.
“The global climate conversation can only be equitable and inclusive by putting all people in all geographies at the heart of the endeavour to save the planet.”
The vice president also spoke on the need to recognise and plan for growing energy demand, as this would be
critical for driving growth, jobs and economy-wide progress, and delivering healthcare and education services.
“Efforts are already underway in my country, Nigeria, and in several countries across the continent, to transition to large shares of clean energy sources to do so,” he said.
In attendance at the virtual event were Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, who represented the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, Chairperson of the Royal African Society, Ms Arunma Oteh and Patrick Smith, publisher of Africa Confidential.
The event was moderated by Bola Mosuro, a Nigerian journalist. (NAN)