August 18, 2022

Reporters’ Diary

Factual Reportage

Indications of world moving away from fossil fuels not mistakable – WTO Chief

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO) says indications of the world moving away from fossil fuel is not mistakable, but aims to achieve zero gas emission.

Okonjo-Iweala also expressed satisfaction on Nigeria’s latest refinery by Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s although fossil fuel was being phased out.

Okonjo-Iweala, who stated this on Tuesday in Abuja while meeting with captains of industry, said that phasing out fossil fuel would combat gas emission totally.

“Meanwhile, the world is going greener slowly but surely, fossil fuels are on the way out we shall soon have the largest refinery being built in the world by Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

“It is an incredible feat, I am only sorry that we did not encourage and support this years ago, this should have been the case.

“But it is being made now, even though we are talking of fossil fuel phase out but we shall still have a transition period of the use of oil and gas.

“Indications of the world moving away from fossil fuel is not mistakable. Example, China is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

“But it has submitted to less zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060 and it is pushing electric cars very high and incentivising its young people to buy only electric cars.

“The European Union is aiming for less zero by 2050; cars and car makers are all going electric, general motors wants to phase out the entire combustion engine for new cars and trucks within 15 years.

The WTO D-G further noted that by 2025, Norway would want all its new cars to be electric.

She disclosed that in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021, government from around the world had accepted to announce new ambitious commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emission.

She noted that climate change was real and a treat to lives and livelihood around the world, and Nigeria was no exception.

According to her Africans are especially vulnerable to problems they did not create, and contribute small percentage of global emission but suffer most on climate change.

“Northern Nigeria faces increased risk of drought and desertification, with major impacts on agriculture and cattle rearing.

“In the south, risks are flooding, soil erosion and rising sea level especially in the Niger Delta,” she noted.

In the long run, she said to switch to a low carbon economy was inevitable adding that it was also in Nigeria’s interest and could be managed in the energy sector and wider economy.

She, however, advised that Nigeria needed to use its resources wisely and minimise recourse to commercial death.

Dangote, in response said Nigeria needed a lot of assistance from the WTO to make AfCFTA work well adding that most countries were not following the rules.

He said that apart from its refinery in view, it was also into petro-chemical which was oil based adding that new technology was in progress to produce petro chemicals from oil.

“By this quarter, Nigeria will be the largest exporter of Urea (fertiliser) in Africa,” he said.

Okonjo-Iweala, who assumed duty on March 1, as the newly-selected WTO’s Director-General is in Nigeria to express appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and stimulate economic activities.