What Nigeria Has To Do With The World Climate Change?

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Some say, President Muhammadu Buhari is busier traveling than governing Nigeria. Mawuna Koutonin, asks if Nigeria’s participation in the Paris Climate Change Conference was necessary.

A better question would be, what Africa has to do with world climate change?

The simplest answer is: nothing.

Nigeria and Africa are actually more victims of a world climate change caused by other regions in the world, notably through the industrialization and mass consumption trends of the last three centuries in Europe, and, recently, in South-East Asia.

Wherever I’ve turned to find data about worldwide carbon dioxide emission and other climate change factors, I see that Africa’s contribution to the world climate change is so little most analysts just don’t bother to mention the continent all together.

From the total of 31.8 billion tons of CO2 emitted in 2010, Africa as a continent contributed to only 2% (less than a billion ton), China 25% (eight billion tons), the US 16% (five billion tons), the UK 1,5% (half a billion tons), and Nigeria in particular 0,23% (79 million tons).

In average, one person in the United States has a carbon dioxide footprint of 17 tons a year, while a carbon dioxide footprint of a Nigerian is only 500 kilograms or half a ton. This means an American citizen pollutes the world 34 times more intensively than a Nigerian.

As a matter of global comparison, the majority of sub-Saharan Africans (except South Africans) are responsible for only a few hundred kilos of carbon dioxide footprint a year, while the average in North America is 14 tons, in Europe seven tons, in Central and South Americas two tons, in the Middle East eight tons , and in Asia four tons per capita.

When it comes to carbon dioxide emission (“carbon footprint”) per person on the global scale, one person in the US emits about 20 tons every year, one person in the European Union emits 11 tons, one person in China emit three tons, and one person in the sub-Saharan Africa emits a maximum of 300 kilograms. Which means the African carbon impact is 66 times less than American, and 36 times less than European.

Put simply, the impact of a single American on the environment and his role in furthering the global warming effect is equivalent to that of almost 7,000 Africans. A single European threatens the environment with the “force” of 4,000 Africans.

That observation has prompted me to write this satire: “Most of African countries’ carbon footprint of this year 2015 is produced by the planes carrying our presidents, ministers, and delegations to the climate change conference in Paris. Thirty percent has been generated by the World Bank and the IMF consultants, and the UN apparatus agents travelling in and out of the continent”.

Not far from the truth, as the continent has almost no industry (less than 4% of GDP in average), and the biggest and most active industries on the continent are airplanes and international freight. International transportation represents more than 10% of worldwide carbon dioxide emission every year. And a recent report sated that air travel causes more warming than cars, while shipping counteracts them both.

Nigeria’s 0,23% world’s carbon dioxide emission is however misleading, because the country outsources a huge part of its emission to third countries like China, India, and the US, its top three main import partners. Over 80% of Nigeria’s refined oil is done abroad, which means the country has outsourced the carbon emission for refining its oil to third parties.

Also, Nigeria produces very little manufactured goods. The country imports industrial supplies (27% of total in 2014), capital goods (23%), food and beverage (17%), fuel and lubricants (14%), transport equipment and parts (12%) and consumer goods (7%).

Compounded, 43% of total Nigerian imports come from Asia; 34% from Europe; 15% from America and 7% from Africa, which means Nigeria had proportionally outsourced the consequent carbon dioxide emission to produces those goods to other countries.

The simplest way to read carbon footprint of a country is check how much goods the country produces and exports to where, then balance that data with how much goods it imports and from where.

Twenty-five years ago, Africa’s share in global trade was 6%, nowadays it’s only 2%, and proportionally, Africa’s carbon dioxide emission represents only 2% of the world emission.

Nigeria’s current share in worldwide carbon dioxide emission is only 0.23%, its global trade share would proportionally represent 0.23%, which means Buhari and his delegation’s trip to the Paris conference on climate change had further polluted the world for nothing.

By the way, does anyone know what Buhari got from attending that climate change conference in Paris?

Author, Mawuna R. Koutonin

Mawuna Remarque Koutonin is an editor of SiliconAfrica.com and a social activist for Africa Renaissance. Koutonin’s ultimate dream is to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017. Follow @siliconafrica on Twitter.

In : World News

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