ACCSS Africa Summit on LPG: Address by the Honourable Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey
Let me take this opportunity to warmly welcome you to ACCSS AFRICA INITIATIVE summit which we focus on LPG as an exceptional energy for cooking. We are aware that Nigeria is faced with energy deficit amidst abundant natural resources due to a number of factors.
Africa is well endowed both with fossil fuels: oil, gas and coal, and renewable resources: solar, hydro-power, wind and geothermal in particular, yet Africa’s infrastructure is the most deficient and costly in the developing world (World Bank 2012). However, poverty and inequality affect the access to and affordability of cleaner cooking fuels with availability skewed in favour of better-off households.
In Africa, the United Nations Environment Program noted that coordinated efforts between industry, private financing companies, and all other stakeholders will be required to facilitate the momentum needed to advance energy markets in these countries. It is thus in our power to influence the outcome of the confrontation with this problem, and to prevent the problem from escalating.
Statistics show that in Nigeria, 112 million people still cook with fire wood, kerosene, and traditional bio fuel with more than 90% of this number made up by rural dwellers. 90% more wood than necessary is burnt which has contributed to the build-up of greenhouse gases, deforestation, and land degradation. Even more worrying, according to The World health organization (WHO) 95,300 annual deaths occur in Nigeria as a result of diseases and complications that arise from smoke inhalation and tens of thousands of young people and women are at risk of suffering serious health consequences as a result of their direct contact with traditional bio-fuel and wood smoke, sometime inhaling smoke particles 20 times higher than the maximum tolerable amounts advised by the WHO.
This state of affairs is no longer acceptable. There are a number of strategies that can be adopted to mitigate this with the most effective being the adoption and promotion of a nationwide switch to cleaner burning fuels for cooking and to this end, Access Nigeria – Scheme for Clean Cooking Solutions Nigeria- was created. While recognizing the fact that Nigeria has had its fair share of initiatives and schemes in the past including think tanks
on energy and fuel, Access Nigeria is about fostering partnerships, engaging stakeholders, raising the issue to the highest national priority level and implementing sustainable solutions to check this menace and safeguard our future.
The need for a unified fuel and energy program/initiative focused on affordable solutions for all Nigerians has never been more important and the solution is clean, cost effective, and available in abundance – Liquefied petroleum Gas (LPG) LPG cooking fuel is superior to almost all available fuels with 85% energy efficiency rate LPG is more efficient than kerosine and firewood in cooking. It’s combustion emits 33% less Co2 than coal and 15% less than heating oil. Other LPG domestic applications to be promoted and developed includes: LPG motor fuel and LPG refrigeration. LP gas is one of the most common alternative fuels used in the world today. In fact, in many places, it isn’t an alternative fuel at all. It is the mainstay for heating and cooking in certain areas of India and some rural areas of the United States.
WHY PROMOTE A SWITCH TO LPG
To achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living on less than $1 a day, the International Energy Agency IEA estimates that the number of people without access to electricity needs to be reduced to 1 billion or less. Given population growth, this translates into about 1.2 billion people who need to gain access to electricity by 2015.
According to the IEA’s analysis, meeting the 2015 target of reducing by half the number of people relying on traditional biomass would mean 1.3 billion people in developing countries switch from traditional biomass to LPG for cooking and heating (IEA 2006). we estimate that 56 million people in Nigeria require access to modern fuels (excluding traditional biomass and coal) in 2015 if the number of those without access is to be halved.
WHY USE LPG COOKING GAS?
Among “cleaner” fuels, biogas, kerosene and LPG, the first depends on the availability of cattle, and between the latter two, LPG has been found from complete life-cycle environmental assessments to be a preferable option. Further to this:
The use of LPG can thus improve on the health condition of our people. The use of LPG would curb deforestation currently taking a toll on Nigeria’s vegetation It will also ensure that the huge sums of money spent annually by the various tiers of government on forestation projects are used for developmental purposes.
LPG use will cause a decrease in the CO2 emission, while providing millions of employment opportunities for Nigerians. The Access To Clean Cooking Energy Solutions and Services (ACCESS) Nigeria project is an action based initiative seeking to create sustainable and lasting solutions to Nigeria’s environmental, agricultural and employment issues via strategic partnerships, distributorships, training, and agricultural schemes. The first major project will be the ‘Switch to LPG Project’ which plans to make available at least 5 million gas cylinders in both rural and urban areas across Nigeria by January 2013. The switch to LPG project will be conducted in phases focusing on Nigeria initially, then other African countries.
The ACCESS Nigeria Initiative doesn’t want to “re-create the wheel’ but rather apply schemes and initiatives successfully deployed within other developing nations who have now created sustainable and lasting alternatives to the use of coal and firewood for cooking.
YE, distinguished Personages, Our effort is in line with government policy in promoting green economy thereby reducing our carbon footprint and halting deforestation. This programme we believe will form part of Nigeria’s energy mix and will play a key role to transition towards a competitive energy model.
YE, we believe that this summit will among others, consider all the solutions that ACCESS AFRICA INITIATIVE will offer to promote the use of LPG as a clean, convenient and environmentally friendly, low carbon, efficient and innovative energy offering benefits to customers, businesses and environment.
On behalf of Access Africa Initiative, I welcome you all.