From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, on Tuesday declared that achieving net zero emissions by 2050, being advocated as part of the global energy transition agenda, remains totally unrealistic because developing countries like Nigeria would have to conquer poverty, poor energy and hunger before delving into the daunting task of achieving zero emission.
On the contrary, they said global crude oil demand will remain high, up to 100 million barrels per day, declaring that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to energy transition, since different countries have different urgent priorities.
Barkindo and Kyari stated this in their remarks at the ongoing 20th edition of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja.
They said there is strategic plan to ditch fossil fuel for cleaner energy provided by gas, especially now that banks have become weary in lending to fossil fuel businesses.
According to Barkindo, three significant challenges namely scale and timing, supply chains and the developing world currently stand in the way of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
“In terms of scale and timing, the 28-year period
from now until 2050 is not adequate to achieve net-
zero emissions, considering the scale of investments
required, the availability of land, the required massive
expansion of the electricity grid and a host of nearly 400 milestones that would need to be reached to achieve the net-zero goal. The last transition took nearly 200 years to cycle through, and now we want to achieve an even more ambitious transition in less than 30 years! This is simply not realistic.
“Additionally, a swift transition to clean energy sources would be highly reliant on the steady, robust supply of critical minerals such as copper, cobalt, lithium, nickel and aluminium, many of which are
produced in a geographically centralized area. We must also consider that the amount of mineral material needed to produce energy is higher than
with fossil fuels. For example, a typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs than that required to power a conventional vehicle with fossil
fuels, and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a gas-fired plant of the same capacity. Furthermore, lengthy lead times on mining projects, which can surpass 16 years, could inhibit the sector from responding to increases
“Finally, the net-zero scenario assumes that both developed and developing countries will achieve the proposed targets by 2050, with developed countries reaching their targets earlier. However, let me remind you that a staggering 790 million people worldwide did not have access to electricity in 2020, most of them located in Sub-Saharan Africa and developing
Asia. Moreover, there were roughly 2.6 billion people
who did not have access to clean cooking fuels, 35%
of whom were in Sub-Saharan Africa, 25% in India
and 15% in China. And, let us not forget that these are the very regions that are expected to see the most rapid population growth by 2050.
“This brings me to the critical topic of energy transition financing, which will be a highly debated issue at the upcoming COP26 in November.
“The achievement of the net-zero 2050 goals would assume that developing countries will receive the required financing and technological know-how they require to build and readjust their energy systems
in line with the net-zero ambitions by 2050.
“However, climate financing for adaptation and mitigation is an extremely complex process, and questions continue to be raised as to how the $100 billion per year committed in the Paris Agreement will be secured, much less the even more ambitious $5 trillion annual funding needed globally as set out by the net-zero 2050 plan. Another issue of concern is that climate financing is increasingly being administered as loans, which means that developing countries are required to borrow at interest rates that can sometimes be prohibitively high, effectively leading them to defer or cancel their clean energy projects.
Kyari on his part said: “Having heard a lot about energy transition, it is not about moving from fossil fuel to renewable energy. It is creating the right balance. Then, there is this core mistake that in 2050, fossil fuel will go away. That is not true. Indeed, for us as a developing country and energy resource dependent country, we know for sure that beyond 2050, oil will be relevant. But today, we have a deficit in infrastructure, power and many other things, even though some good work is going on, but the fact still remains that there is a deficit”.
He said the government was working towards cleaner energy sources using gas.
He added that financial institutions have changed their priorities as some of them have stopped lending to energy borrowing.
“Some that have not will soon come to reality, probably in the next five years, next two years, we won’t find easy financing for fossil fuel oriented businesses”, he said.
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Source: Nigerian Newspapers Online