/ 24 August 2008

Nigeria, SA worst greenhouse gas emitters in Africa

Nigeria and South Africa are the main emitters of greenhouse gases in Africa, accounting for almost 90% of the emissions in the continent, environmental experts said on Saturday.

”Nigeria produces almost 45% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Africa from its gas flaring by oil firms in the Niger Delta while South Africa produces as much from industrial pollution,” said Stefan Cramer.

Cramer, the director of the Nigeria office of Heinrich Boell Stiftung, a German environmental NGO, was speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Ghana’s capital Accra.

”Nigeria emits 20-billion cubic metres of gas flares annually, accounting for 13% of the global 150-billion cubic metres of gas flares every year and making it second in the world after Russia”, he said.

”The emissions from Nigeria and South Africa, huge as they seem, can by no means, compare to the emissions from the industrialised countries. The countries should do something about them at least for the sake of their immediate communities,” he said.

On his part, Christian Teriete, a spokesperson for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said the emissions from the two African countries were negligible compared to the 150 years of emissions from Europe.

For 150 years, Europe has been emitting gases to the atmosphere which has resulted in the depredation of the environment, he said.

”This explains why South Africa insists that developed countries should take the lead in emissions reduction before developing nations cut down their own emissions,” he said.

”It doesn’t make sense for Nigeria and South Africa for instance to reduce their emissions while the industrialised nations who are largely responsible for climate change do not make any efforts at reducing theirs,” he said.

Ewah Otu Eleri, head of the Nigeria-based International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development, said Africa’s emissions were negligible and their reduction should not be used as a tool to deprive the continent of development.

”The atmosphere is a common space for all and our emissions are infinitesimal compared to those in developed countries,” he said.

”Emissions reductions should not be used as a ploy to create obstacles on our way to development. The developed countries should help us with low-carbon technology,” he added. – AFP