Over the years, there have been continuous talks about Climate change globally and the need for clean energy sources, like the 21st conference of parties (COP) in 2015 binding 196 countries to act on the reduction of climate change which we know as the Paris climate agreement. Our dear country Nigeria, is not left out as the Federal Ministry of Environment have also launched a Renewable Energy Programme (REP) where various projects are ongoing. Now Organizations and government are taking steps, the question I will like to ask is what are we the youths doing about it? We all need to be actively involved in this revolution. Global warming, climate change will not only affect the government and the individuals holding this summit.
The Renewable Energy Programme was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Environment in fulfilment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s obligation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In April 2012, Nigeria became a State Partner in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) with initial focus on methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
What is clean energy? It is simply renewable energy that can be naturally replenished, it can be gotten from wind, sunlight, geothermal heat, rain, tides and waves. We need energy for our basic living and survival, for cooking, transport, electricity, adequate health care etc. Nigeria is enriched with these renewable energy resources such as hydroelectric, solar, wind and biomass. Since the government is already taking steps needed to harness these resources, youths have to tap into the immense opportunities of clean energy. By using renewable energy sources like solar energy, we reduce our dependence on fossil fuel gas and oil reserves, thereby alienating our contribution to the negative effects of burning these fuel.
In a report by Anthony Agbongiarhuoyi in the Vanguard Newspaper of 13thAugust 2015, the country receives abundant sunshine all year round ranging from 6.70kwh/m2/day in Borno State to roughly 4.06kwh/m2/d to 5.86kwh/m2/d in locations such as Calabar in Cross Rivers State. The Federal Capital Territory has a daily horizontal solar radiation ranging from a high of 6.07/kwh/m2/d to a low of 4.42/kwh/m2/d during the month of August. This level of solar radiation across the country can support huge deployment of solar power infrastructures designed to primarily feed in to the regional power distribution entities.
Particularly, in research (Edenhofer et al. 2011) shows that by 2050, geothermal energy could meet more than 3 percent of global electricity demand and about 5 percent of the global heat demand, hydropower will contribute about 30 percent of worldwide electricity supply, wind power will grow to more than 20 percent and solar energy becomes one of the major sources of energy supply with about 15 percent. Agricultural residues like cassava leaves, cow dung, urban refuse and solid waste can be used for the production of biogas which is a clean source of cooking fuel. Clean energy resources are always replenished and can’t be depleted like fossil fuels, they have minimal impacts on the environment and if they are maximized optimally, can be a stable source of income curbing the menace of unemployment of youth in the country and promoting sustainable development. These are the few obvious advantages and opportunities of clean energy.
We presently generate our energy from the burning of fossil fuels, coal, oil, natural gas which causes pollution that affects our health and wellbeing. This process produce certain gases in the atmosphere that blocks heat from escaping and black carbon that alternates the carbon cycle which plays a key role inregulating Earth’s global temperature and climate thereby causing the greenhouse effect and global warming. Most research scientists on climate agree that the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the “greenhouse effect” since the beginning of industrialization and the burning of coal and oil which has also increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide CO2) which is the most important long-lived “forcing” of climate change. An article on carbon and the climate released by the University of Wisconsin, Madison reported that “In the 1990’s, human fossil fuel use emitted 6.4 Pentagrams of carbon (PgC) per year, and from 2000-2008, 7.7 PgC/yr. Over 2000-2008, emissions increased by 3.4% per year, substantially faster than the growth rate of 1.0% per year in the 1990’s”. This dramatic increase is due primarily to a doubling of emissions from developing countries.
Recently, we suffered the consequences of the changing climate and the effects of global warming with the flooding of the Island in Lagos state and Suleja in Niger state. The certain effect of greenhouse is the warming of oceans and the partial melting of glaciers and other ice, thus, increasing sea level. Ocean water will also expand if it warms, contributing further to sea level rise. This is the case of the flooding of Lekki, Victoria Island and its environs and of course they are close to the Ocean.
In an interview with Mr. Lanre Okanlawon an expert in Solar Energy and the Executive Director of Greenicles Energy and Trade Limited, he talked about his interests in clean energy and a call for youths to be involved. He discovered renewable energy technologies were being developed globally and had a keen interest to delve into solar energy. The prospect of succeeding is undoubtedly high due to the problem-solving nature of the business while enabling customers to eliminate their weekly spends on diesel and petrol for their power generators. Youths can be involved in different aspects; as installation technicians/ engineers, products distributors (retailers/ wholesalers), marketers, trainers/ educators, and of course, entrepreneurs. According to him, “there are limitless opportunities for smart and hardworking youth in Nigeria’s solar market”
Youths, let us join in this movement; let us create a healthy and comfortable environment for ourselves to live in, help in the generation of constant electric supply, tap into the wealth and development of our country. This is a call for CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION.
Omoyemeh, a natural resource manager, an environmental enthusiast writes from Abuja.