Amb. Stephane Gompertz, France’s Ambassador for Climate Change (Africa), made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
According to him, the country should reduce the flaring of its gas, and should also increase its investment in renewable energy.
Gompertz regretted that many oil companies in the country still flared their gas and thereby pollute the environment with its attendant consequences.
“There are some areas in which emissions could be limited drastically like gas flaring, which is the most striking example.
“It is a pity to see so many oil plants where gas continues to run and this is obviously a waste of energy and a waste of money.
“It (gas flaring) pollutes the atmosphere. Clearly some efforts are required. Other perspective is that it is good for the gas to be recuperated and then sold in the market.
“Perhaps, there should be fine for defaulting companies, which do not comply with the rules and regulations.
“But there are other examples of countries which have managed to eliminate flaring gas, which the country could emulate,” he said.
Gompertz pointed out that Nigeria was developing and would soon be the emerging power, adding that its emission would continue to grow but should put regulatory measures in place.
According to him, Nigeria will be one of the big industry powers in 10 to 20 years. Nigeria, South Africa and few other African countries are in the same camp.
“The population will continue to grow. So emission will continue to grow and this is inevitable. But the ratio of emission per capital should diminish and all unnecessary emissions should also diminish.
“That is why it is important for countries like Nigeria to make efforts to embark right now on a greener project,” he said.
The envoy also cautioned against deforestation, particularly in the northern states to tame desertification.
According to him, the gas wasted by the oil companies through flaring could be used to discourage deforestation and control desertification in the northern states.
“Deforestation should be stopped, especially in the North. People should be encouraged to use natural gas. This is easy to say but it is not easy to do.
“You have to change the habit of the people, you have to make sure that they have enough purchasing power to buy the gas, you have to be able to bring the gas up to the remote villages,” he said.
The ambassador, however, said that the use of gas instead of firewood could be encouraged by giving free bottles of gas to the poor people in the rural area.
“I spoke with a lady, who is a leading official of the Ministry of environment and also works for an NGO.
“That NGO has distributed up to three million bottles of gas to rural women in poor areas. There are many areas in which some progress could be made,” Gompertz said.