Africa: At Least Seven Billion Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide to Be Removed Yearly to Hit Climate Target - Report

The report said for the world to meet the target, climate change mitigation must be done sustainably.

Around seven to nine billion tonnes of CO2 (Carbon dioxide) need to be removed from the atmosphere yearly for the world to meet the 1.5 oC Paris Agreement target, a study has shown.

Paris Agreement is a treaty on climate change adopted by 196 countries during the Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, on 12 December 2015. The treaty entered into force on 4 November 2016.

The study - the 2024 state of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) report - is a combined effort of over 50 experts led by researchers at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

The report was published on the University's website on Wednesday as part of activities marking the 2024 World Environment Day.

It is an annual scientific assessment of how much carbon dioxide removal will be needed to limit climate change and whether the world is on track to meet the target, a critical component of the Paris Agreement, of which Nigeria is a signatory.

The report emphasised the critical role of CDR in reducing emissions, a primary way to achieve net zero, adding that two billion tonnes per year, a far cry from what is required, is currently being removed by CDR via conventional means, including tree planting.

The report urged governments to implement policies that will increase demand for carbon removals by embedding CDR policies into its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the climate action plans under the United Nations FrameWork Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"To meet the Paris Agreement, any kind of climate mitigation must be done sustainably," the report said, adding that it is vital that environmental and social sustainability are embedded into planning and policy to minimise risks and maximise benefits.

Paris Agreement

The objective of the Agreement is to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 oC above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to above 1.5 oC pre-industrial levels, according to the United Nations Climate Change.

This is because the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stipulates that crossing the 1.5 oC threshold risks unleashing more severe climate change impacts, including more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves and rainfall.

To limit global warming to 1.5oC, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43 per cent by 2030, according to the Paris Agreement.

Implementation of the Agreement requires economic and social transformation based on the best available science. The Agreement works on a five-year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries.

Countries have since 2020 been submitting their national action plans through the NDCs. Each successive NDC is meant to show an increasingly higher degree of commitment compared with the previous version.

The Agreement reaffirms that developed countries should take the lead in providing financial assistance to vulnerable countries to combat climate change.

Climate change priorities in Nigeria

Nigeria's wide range of livelihoods - agricultural practices and commodities - are threatened by climate change. Rising sea levels increase exposure to flooding and waterborne disease, while drought and rising temperature hinder agricultural production and fishing, threatening food security and negatively impacting health and nutrition.

The energy sector, deforestation and land-use change are the most significant contributors to Nigeria's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

In Nigeria, gas flaring from oil flow stations is common, particularly in some coastal states in the Niger Delta region.

Oil and gas methane is responsible for 37 per cent of human-derived methane emissions, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).

Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a UNEP-convened initiative last year, reported that Nigeria had made bold steps further to regulate the emissions of the oil and gas sector.

According to the report, for Nigeria to achieve its target, it would reduce methane emissions from flaring by 100 per cent by 2030 and fugitive methane from leaks by 95 per cent by 2050.

"In 2018, greenhouse emissions from oil and gas were the largest contributor to Nigeria's energy sector emissions at 33 per cent. The reduction will comprise a major component of Nigeria NDC target - which are an unconditional reduction of 20 per cent and conditional reduction of additional 47 per cent with international support," the report said.

The country has failed in combating climate change, particularly in tree planting. During the 27 edition of the United Nations Climate Summit (COP27), the Nigerian government said it would engage youths to plant and nurture 250, 000 trees annually as part of efforts to accelerate climate action in the country.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that no concrete effort was made towards actualising the tree-planting pledge after over a year.

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