For decades, Nigeria has engaged in extractivism, which is the removal of large quantities of raw or natural materials, particularly for export with minimal processing and the practice is mostly prominent in the oil and gas sector, where the country produced a total of 440.774 million barrels of crude oil between January and November 2021.
This has brought huge fund to the pocket of the Nigerian government, as a document on Crude Oil and Condensate Production for 2021, indicated that the federal government raked in N12.4 trillion from crude oil sales in the period under review.
However, this practice has huge implication on climate change, environmental activists have said, even as they disclosed that extracting crude oil, for instance, lies at the base of climate crisis.
The executive director, We the People, Ken Henshaw, at a training organised by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) for students of the School of Ecology on Extractivism, Climate Change and Food Crises, in Lagos, told NATIONAL ECONOMY that the extractivism in the oil and gas sector is fuelling global warming and climate change, due to an increase in greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
Henshaw listed major greenhouse gases that result from human activity as; Carbon Dioxide(CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O) and Industrial gases like Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3).
Generating electricity and heat by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas causes a large chunk of global emissions, Henshaw disclosed, adding that, most electricity is still produced from fossil fuels, only about a quarter comes from wind, solar and other renewable sources.
Fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions, he stated.
On the other hand, deforestation, which is a form of extractivism, is also fuelling climate change issues in Nigeria, Henshaw said, adding that, cutting down forests to get timber, create farms or pastures, or for other reasons, causes emissions. He revealed that, trees, when they are cut, release the carbon they have been storing, for thousands of years into the atmosphere.
A study titled: “The Past, Present And Future Outlook of the Wood Industry in Nigeria,” revealed that the building industry alone consumes about 80 per cent of Nigeria’s total annual timber production.
Since forests absorb carbon dioxide, destroying them also limits nature’s ability to keep emissions out of the atmosphere, Henshaw added.