About 174 million Nigerians could benefit from improved modern cooking using clean energy sources such as Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), electricity, improved cook stoves and other clean biomass energy forms.
This, as revealed in the key messages from four recently released studies by the International Centre for Energy, Environment & Development (ICEED), could only happen if the country is able to pursue an ambitious clean cooking plan as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement About 66% of all Nigerian households could have access to clean cooking by 2030.
Today, only one in ten families in Nigeria cooks with LPG or electricity, as majority of the population still cook with firewood or charcoal, two cooking methods that have been linked to serious health problems like acute lower respiratory infection, especially in children, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and lung cancer.
According to the four studies, smoke from kitchens in Nigeria has been identified as a major cause of premature deaths among 78,000 people, just as it has been found to be responsible for the emission of about 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Experts have said these linkages are gateways of opportunities to design mitigation measures that address both climate change and reduce the health hazards from cooking.
Executive Director of the ICEED, Ewah Eleri, said, “The studies reveal that Nigeria has a unique opportunity to solve some of the insidious energy problems facing the poor, improve family health and raise Nigeria’s ambition in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.”
In her research paper, Temilade Sesan analysed the political economy of clean cooking in Nigeria.
She stated that, “the state needs to mediate between investors expectations of energy markets and the economic realities of poor households.”
The research papers concluded that Nigeria needs clear, coherent and consistent policy and institutional leadership.
“Nigeria requires an institutional home and unified leadership for clean cooking, Precious Onuvae, one of the authors stated.
She pointed out that the responsibility for clean cooking is shared by a myriad of agencies of the federal government. Moreover, states and local governments do not have local level plans and agencies to address these issues.
Adeola Ijeoma Eleri, a co-author concluded that attitudinal change in favour of cleaner energy forms is a public good that requires investment by government and donors.
While the authors identified barriers such as the deepening poverty, lack of influential actors’ interests in delivering pro-poor rural clean energy reforms, weak business ecosystem and weak institutional frameworks in their papers, they also highlighted the opportunities that climate finance can bring in expanding access. This calls for strong international partnerships.
The four papers authored by four leading female researchers are a result of a unique partnership between ICEED and the Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBF).
According to Jochen Luckscheiter, the Nigerian Country Director of the Foundation, ‘Clean-cooking in Nigeria must become a political, economic, and environmental priority, supported by informed policies and backed by targeted investments.