Bioenergy is the solution
Concerns for endangered global living environment, occasioned by climate changes, were major planks at the gathering of more than 100 world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland, for a summit on November 1, reports OpenLife Nigeria.
Tagged COP26, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who served as host of the conference, stressed the urgency of acting, saying humanity has waited for too long.
“If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow,” Johnson said.
John Kerry, the U.S. climate envoy, told reporters ahead of the summit that goals for the conference included raising “global ambition very significantly,” and for countries to commit to what he called a “decade of action” in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Kerry also highlighted the need to deal with the financial aspect of climate change, both the deployment of committed funds and helping developing nations with the damage they suffer.
The climate summit followed a meeting of G-20 leaders in Rome where they agreed to work to reach carbon neutrality.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres enthused, “I leave Rome with my hopes unfulfilled.”
United States President, Joe Biden, noted that the leaders who did attend made “significant progress,” even as two dozen countries have joined US and EU-led effort to slash methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.
In Lagos on Thursday, similar concerns were the reasons for the gathering of Bioenergy experts at a “Dialogue on Waste Management” seminar series titled: “Maximizing Nigeria’s Bioenergy Potentials.”
The experts marshaled and reviewed Nigeria’s pathetic energy situation.
In his remarks, Dr. Bernd von Münchow-Pohl, Head of Mission
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, noted that what accelerates the alarming rate of desertification in Nigeria and the sub-region is the harmful use of firewood.
As a remedy, Pohl, therefore, called for large-scale forms of use of bioenergy.
He added that whatever shortfall that may be encountered by Nigerians, Germany, who are world-renowned experts in bioenergy, will earnestly offer supports to achieve the desired objectives in Nigeria.
His speech is reproduced below:
I welcome you to today’s seminar under the title “Maximizing Nigeria’s Bioenergy Potential”.
It is part of a series hosted jointly by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce and the German Consulate General, and, in the aftermath of COP 26, the topic could be hardly more pertinent and timely.
For now, Nigeria’s potential to generate energy from Biofuels, whether solid, fluid, or gas, remains largely untapped – beyond the traditional and mostly environmentally harmful use of firewood, which is, in combination with run-away demographics, one of the biggest contributors to progressive desertification in West Africa, including northern Nigeria, and hence an additional accelerator to climate change in the region.
Instead, the focus needs to be on environmentally friendly, sustainable, large-scale forms of use of bioenergy. Here I do see significant potential for Nigeria, whether in the context of agricultural production or of waste management.
When we talk about renewable energy versus fossil fuels, we somehow always have wind turbines or large photovoltaic installations in our minds. Yet in Germany, bioenergy remains the largest source of overall renewable energy generation with 58% of the total. Whereas its share in electricity generation from renewables is only 20%, it is 86% for heating and 89% in the transport sector. 14% of cultivated arable land in Germany is used for biofuels, the most important energy crop being rapeseed.
In my country, investing in bioenergy has also become a key element for the development of more remote rural areas.
Of the roughly 300.000 jobs created through renewables, about one-third is in the bioenergy subsector. Needless to say, the promotion of biofuels and other forms of renewable energy needs a stimulating regularity framework, and can be substantially accelerated by financial incentives, whether indirectly by tax credits or directly by government subsidies.
This is the path Germany has chosen, and it has – by and large – paid off.
In a country where the export economy and public finances are so highly dependent on oil, this might not be an easy way to proceed.
But, as the world is increasingly moving away from fossil fuels, Nigeria, too, will need to start investing in other, more climate-friendly energy sources.
In many countries, the agricultural sector is already systematically using agricultural waste like the bagasse from sugar cane, for example, to generate energy inputs to further process the crops or needed elsewhere on the farm.
Any kind of plant, as well as animal waste, can be turned into biogas.
Whereas the positive net contributions to the limitations of climate change of different bioenergy sources and technologies may vary, the economic argument can almost always be made for their use, whether as an individual business model or as an element in the tool kit for structural planning to diversify the rural economy and to create much-needed jobs. Whether in Nigeria or in Germany.