Climate Threats: 45% Reduction of Anthropogenic Emissions Will Save 255,000 Lives, Say Stakeholders

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Stakeholders in the environment protection space have expressed concern that aside fossil fuel, human-induced or anthropogenic methane emissions have emerged as the new threat to Nigerians.

The groups, which rose from a seminar in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, warned that such emissions account for 60 percent of the methane emissions in the country, and that this causes over 255,000 deaths and 775,000 asthma cases in hospitals.

The groups led by the Environmental Centre for Oil Spills and Gas Flaring (ECOSGF), and African Initiative for Transparency, Accountability and Responsible Leadership (AfriTAL) have mapped out plans to fight back.

They are said to have worked to get funding to carry out activities to reduce methane from anthropogenic sources, including research and advocacy with civil society organisations (CSOs).

Briefing a long list of non-state actors that worked on the plan of abatement of methane emissions, the group said: “In February 2024, TrustAfrica provided a take-off seed fund for the project. It is hoped that as the project progresses, other funding partners will show interest in collaborating with ECOSGF and AfriTAL to achieve this project goals.

“The objective is to cut down at least 255,000 deaths and 775,000 asthma-related hospital cases in one year. This is what a mere 45 percent reduction of methane emission would achieve.”

Methane (CH4) is said to be the second most significant contributor to emissions after Carbon Dioxide (CO2), which has caused about a 30 percent rise in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution.

Methane is indicated as an odorless, colorless, flammable gas that enters the atmosphere via natural sources and human-related (anthropogenic) activities. It is formed from the decay of natural materials in landfills, marshes, septic systems, sewers, pit toilets, compressed dustbins, coal, and gas, among others.

The stakeholders are worried that while contending with and focusing on methane emissions from oil and gas production, little attention is paid to emissions from anthropogenic sources linked to man’s natural activities like farming, waste management, and others.

The researchers said methane emissions from food waste, food systems’ emissions, trash, landfills, livestock breeding, and bush burning, contribute about 60 per cent of global emissions, but they don’t seem to have the type of attention carbon dioxide has concerning climate change.

In his opening remarks, at the meeting held in Port Harcourt yesterday, the Executive Director at AfriTAL, Louis Ogbeifun, stated that the project would focus on decreasing methane emissions from anthropogenic sources such as human wastes, landfills, the rearing of ruminant animals, rice cultivation, and other agricultural processes.

He noted that from the information gathered thus far, there is a lack of knowledge about anthropogenic methane and its hazards to human health.

Ogbeifun stressed that “Nigeria’s methane emissions situation is more precarious because methane emissions from oil and gas activities like gas flares, pipeline vandalism, artisanal refining, others, are already high, hence, CSOs must advocate for its curtailment as soon as possible.”

On his party, a Catholic Priest, Fr. Edward Obi of ECOSGF, stressed that CSOs could do a lot to lessen the impact of global warming.

Other CSOs participants at the meeting were Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), Peace Point Development Foundation (PPDF), Centre for Environment and Human Rights (CHERD), We the People (WTP), others.

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