Linkages at International, National and Local Levels
The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Frank Maes, An Cliquet, Willemien du Plessis and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray
Chapter 1: Bureaucratic rhetoric of climate change in Nigeria: International aspiration versus local realities
Nigeria is an active participant in international meetings including those that seek solutions to the scourge of climate change. Particularly, the country signed and ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, 1992), the Kyoto Protocol (Kyoto Japan, 1997),2 among others. Nigeria also sent a delegation to the UNFCCC 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15) on Climate Change, held in December 2009 at Copenhagen. While these may put the country among the group of nations that care about the environment and seek to combat climate change and its potentially disastrous impacts, the local realities suggest otherwise. Gas flared from Nigeria’s oil industry, located mainly in the Niger Delta region, contributes to global greenhouse gases with consequences including climate change. Gas flaring is a widely used practice for the disposal of natural gas in petroleum producing areas where there is no infrastructure to make use of the gas. Because the flaring combustion is incomplete, the gas emitted contains widely recognised toxins, which also create air pollution which affects local inhabitants and the environment; in the case of the Niger Delta, the extremely rich biodiversity. Approximately, between 2 and 2.5 billion standard cubic feet (scf) are flared daily making Nigeria the world’s biggest gas flarer, both proportionally and absolutely. To put this in understandable perspective, the gas flared in the Nigeria’s Delta region is equal to about 25 per cent of the UK’s gas consumption.
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