[Article] No! Non-renewable; Yes! Renewable

By Michael Ugom

Following a decline in climate negotiations globally, Carbon emissions has continued to rise astronomically owing to burning and use of coal as an energy source. The International Energy Association has consistently warned on the construction of coal power plants. Some International banks such as; World Bank and the European Investment Bank have publicly stated that they will reduce their investments in coal.

Despite the impacts of climate change which is increasingly felt worldwide. Coal plants, gas pipelines and other nonrenewable energy projects continues to receive vast amount of funding from the world’s biggest development banks. Financing nonrenewable energy projects is an issue that needs to be addressed by development and humanitarian sectors both within developing and donor supporting countries.

Unfortunately, Investments in coal and fossil fuels contribute to the “carbon bubble effect”. Researches shows that fossil fuel companies owns raw materials reserves which contain about five times more CO2 than the permitted levels emitted in the atmosphere if global temperature rise is to be limited. Already happening in Germany, and underway in Sweden, the Netherlands and United Kingdom is a divestment movement on investments by public institutions in non-fossil fuel companies.
Fossil fuel energy comes with health and climate related costs. Human health issues related to global warming are not limited to; heat stroke, malaria, famine, typhoid, cholera and malnutrition. Inadequate attention to the concept of climate change could subsequently affect several regions on earth for instance; ice continues to melt at Earth’s poles, heat waves becomes more severe at the Equatorial region.

According to Jacobson, the total cost of renewable energy which includes; cost of health and climate issues as well as the direct cost of energy for wind, water and solar power is about one-fourth that of fossil fuels.
Inotherwords, the cost of renewable energy projects is cost effective but much more costly is the aftermath of the negative events or results that emanates from fossil fuel projects.
Interestingly, quite a lot of developed countries and some developing countries are already moving towards a renewable energy portfolio. Tajikistan (76 percent), Paraguay (58.9 percent), Norway (35.8 percent), Sweden (20.7 percent), Switzerland (19.0 percent) and Iceland (17.3 percent). African countries are yet to embrace renewable on a high scale although, Kenya is a leading country in Africa’s topmost renewable energy lead nation. The country has developed strategies in enticing entrepreneurs and budding young would-be entrepreneurs in developing business plans aimed at resusciting the environment.
Source: https://www.livescience.com/60461-renewable-energy-road-map.html

Recently, Emmanuel Macron the President of France in a meeting with the President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim and the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, met with international leaders and stakeholders as well as committed citizens around Paris in a meeting tagged “address the Ecological emergency of our planet” as “two years to the day after the historic Paris Agreement, it is time for concrete action.”

The largest breakthrough was borne from the World Bank Group which announced that it would stop financing oil, gas exploration and extraction projects from 2019. French giant insurer “AXA” will divest 2.4 billion Euro from coal and 700 million Euro from tar sands because of climate and human rights impacts. Obviously, this financial institution amongst many others are serious with climate measures and have moved in the right direction already.

This is hopeful and of course very inspiring words but what exactly do they really mean if on one hand, Government keep providing enormous amounts of financial support to the fossil fuel sector?
Despite the climate agreements made two years ago in Paris, and amidst the fixed goals that were set internationally, financial and economic factors still outweighs social, environmental and climatic factors.
Phasing out public support for the fossil fuel sector might be one of the strongest incentives to push renewable energy and to reach the Paris climate goal of keeping temperature rises under 1.5 degrees Celsius. 
The first necessary step to be taken in eliminating subsidies is to do a full accounting of those that existed before. Astonishingly, US ranks relatively well on the transparency of reporting fossil fuel subsidies, owing to the recently completed subsidy “peer review” process under the auspices of the G20.

The next step is to actually implement reforms needed to eliminate subsidies. Most of this will require action through congress as many of the subsidies are embedded in the tax code. Rather than spending huge sums of money accruing to billions in subsidizing fossil fuel companies, it is pertinent for lawmakers to take proactive steps to usher in policies that will phase out government support for fossil fuel production.

Sustained funding from financial bodies to projects particularly in the upstream oil and gas sectors have contributed immensely in slowing the progress of the Paris agreement and other innovative ideas aimed at creating a cleaner, greener and safer place to live in.
Developing countries are the worse hit by the menace of climate change which has ruined livelihoods and compelled migration and conflicts.

According to the World bank, there is glimmer of hope in the quest to launch a good fight against fossil fuel. Africa Development Bank and other institutions have been shown the way and hopefully, with effective strategies successes shall be recorded in no time.
Fossil fuel Energy consumption in Nigeria was reported at 19.04 percent in 2014, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators.
Nigeria as a country has Fossil fuel energy sources which comprises of Coal, Petroleum and gas as well as non-fossil fuel energy sources such as; wind, sunlight, and hydro yet the fossil fuel sources have been offered more attention and investments.
Amidst the huge sources of renewable energy Nigeria is blessed with, renewable energy is still at an infant stage in the country. Wind energy is deployed in a very limited amount despite the plentiful wind across the Sahel and Sudan savannah of Northern Nigeria. Developments in solar energy is gradually taking good turn in Nigeria but considering the intensity in Sunlight, adoption of solar energy is quite slow in Nigeria. Commercial water sources is very common in Southern Nigeria and it cuts across both rural and urban communities but there seem to be very minimal focus on hydro power in the Southern region of Nigeria.

Worrisome impacts are noticeable in subsidizing fossil fuel with a focus on the implications for businesses. Early in 2012 Nigeria’s Government led by Former President Goodluck Jonathan removed fuel subsidy and consequently, resulted into widespread hardship caused by a hike in food price and transportation. Businesses in many developing countries with particular emphasis in my country Nigeria, are impaired by a high cost of power supply which are oftentimes in very short supply. There are places in Nigeria without any iota of power supply yet, those areas are endowed with various forms of renewable energy sources yet to be fully exploited.

Niger delta region of Nigeria holds the major economic mainstay of Nigeria “Crude oil” despite the huge exploitation of crude petroleum that occurs in this region, there is very minimal Government’s presence in this region in terms of provision of social amenities. Shell Petroleum announced a 40,000 barrels of crude oil spill in Nigeria in December, 2011. The spill was among the worst off the coast of Nigeria in 10 years.
Niger Delta area is oil rich but there has been little attention in focusing on other viable renewable energy sources that accrues from the area. For instance, there large quantities of commercial water in Niger Delta region, Plentiful supply of sunlight though not as much as that of Northern Nigeria. These sources if well harnessed could help alleviate the sufferings from this area.

Sadly, the inhabitants of these community live in abject poverty with oil pipelines running underground farmlands and homes thus, posing serious threats on lives.
Gas flaring is a huge challenge that seem unstoppable due to negligence from the stakeholders involved. There are very few efforts in curbing this challenge which is really destroying the ecosystem. Niger Delta region are prone to too many environmental challenges which could be dealt with if a focus is placed on renewable energy sources.


Appropriate reforms should be effected and efficiently passed with adequate timing as a rapid fossil fuel subsidy reform can have negative impact on women. This is attributable to high prices on household items which usually increases due to a corresponding increase in non-renewable products or energy source. Women bear the brunt of supply disruptions which includes; shortages and surplus.

Targeting of subsidies to poor people and youths through investment in health care, Education, are very vital in improving lives. A shift from non-renewable to renewable energy sources should also be effected to ensure a wider coverage in the distribution of amenities.
Subsidy reform should be specifically addressed to the concerns about ensuring judicious use of resources that accrues from it in tackling poverty and ensuring a cleaner greener earth via investment in renewable energy.

Removal or stoppage of subsidy might be difficult at first but a well strategic plan should be drafted by the Government and stakeholders involved before implementing subsidy removal.
There are great steps to be taken in ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of resources accruing from subsidy removal with respect to renewable energy sources installation. It is pertinent if the Government uses proceeds from removal of subsidy on fossil fuel projects in establishing renewable energy facilities as a giant stride in curbing the effects of climate change and embracing a cleaner, greener Earth via renewable energy project.

Renewable Energy is the surest way in mitigating climate change globally. It is a very convenient mode of reducing wastage of resources, creating jobs both directly and indirectly and of course very clean energy good for human health.

However, the climatic benefits of transiting from fossil-fueled transport means to electric cars, trucks, trains and buses is more effective coupled with a clean electricity energy source produced through carbon free resources such as; solar, wind and hydroelectric.

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