Can the low-carbon development agenda increase energy access for the poor in Nigeria?
The Nigerian economy depends on fossil fuel extraction and export, yet 60 per cent of its people live without access to electricity or modern cooking fuels. Can a shift to a lower-carbon economy help to increase energy access and reduce poverty? Nigeria’s low carbon policy framework is evolving in response to international obligations and incentives, and the need to develop more options for power generation. As signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, Nigeria has made international commitments to promoting low-carbon development. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) sponsored the Nigerian Renewable Energy Master Plan, while the World Bank and Global Environment Facility (GEF) are promoting the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Initiative. Yet the low-carbon agenda alone will not transform Nigeria’s energy sector for climate adaptation and mitigation, or to support pro-poor energy access. More traditional economic incentives are required to attract foreign investment, enforce efficiency measures, establish sustainable tariff practices, demonstrate the feasibility of renewable energy technologies, and ensure responsible use of energy resources. This project was financed by the European Union.