Nigeria Has Experienced a 271% Increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Since 1990

Recently Reported Greenhouse Gas Emissions Level: 104.27 MtCO2e in 2018, an increase of 271.60% from 1990 (Source: IEA)

After the turn of the century, Nigeria’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been consistently rising. Interestingly, between 1996 and 2001 Nigeria experienced a drastic decrease in GHG emissions before their more recent rise. A dip in Nigeria’s GHG emissions in 2009 can be attributed to the global financial crisis which resulted in a decrease in economic production in the country. As shown in the figure below, Nigeria’s GHG emissions have risen tremendously in the recent years; this is undoubtedly a troubling trend for future emissions projections.

According to the International Energy Association, Nigeria emitted 104.27 MtCO2e in 2018. This figure represents an increase of 271.6% from 1990 levels. Of Nigeria’s total GHG emissions in 2016 (481.02 MtCO2e), the majority of its composition is comprised of carbon dioxide at 61.74%, followed by methane at 27.82%, nitrous oxide at 7.77%, and fluorinated gas at 2.66%.

Although Nigeria does not produce nearly as much greenhouse gas pollution as the United States and China, it produces the 3rd highest amount of GHG in Africa—just behind South Africa and Zambia. In 2016, Nigeria was solely responsible for 0.97% of the total GHG emissions in the world.

As Nigeria’s GHG emissions continue to rise, the government has made multiple commitments to help slow these rates in the absence of substantial policy intervention. In 2017 the country made a climate pledge to reduce GHG emissions by 20% by 2030, saying they would expand a rollout of solar energy production. However, GHG emissions from fossil fuels have still increased by 17%. Nigeria wanted to install 13,000 MW of solar power but little progress has been made to bring this goal to life. In their COVID-19 rebuilding plan, the Nigerian government wants to bring solar power to 5 million households, but only time will tell if it will happen.

In the same COVID-19 plan, Nigeria announced they will remove all subsidies from fuel. If this is to be legislated, the government will likely save at least $2 billion per year and will undoubtedly incentivize the use of renewable energy. If followed through, this will be a major step in the right direction for Nigeria.

In another effort to mitigate the effects of climate change, Nigeria has committed themselves to planning 25 million trees in an attempt to restore 4 million hectares of forest. Similarly to their other proposals, the government has yet to show significant signs of progress towards achieving this goal.

Ultimately, Nigeria lacks concrete policies regarding decreasing their GHG emissions or mitigating climate change effects in recent years. While tangible progress has yet to be documented, there is potential for the country to invoke greener practices in the future. Analysts posit, “Nigeria has abundant sources of renewable energy but lacks the adequate government banking to harness these resources for electricity power” (Carbon Brief). Nigerian shortcomings regarding climate governance is an issue of follow-through.

Activity Ratings

Emissions Levels: * / 4 stars

Existing Policies: ** / 4 stars

Combined Activity Rating: *** / 8 stars


Collins Nwaokocha, Lecturer for the Department of Agricultural and Mechanical Engineering at Olabisi Onabanjo University


Learn More:’s%20annual%20greenhouse%20gas,change%20and%20forestry%20(LULUCF).

This Brief was submitted by Climate Scorecard Nigeria Country Manager Peter Hansen.

Leave a Reply


Climate Scorecard depends on support from people like you.

We are a team of researchers providing information on efforts to reduce global emissions. We help make you better informed and able to advocate for improved climate change efforts. Donations of any amount are welcome.