Data Difficult to Collect on Carbon Emissions in Liberia

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Participants at the data collection workshop on emissions.

Stakeholders’ workshop Unveils

By Joaquin M. Sendolo

A one-day greenhouse gas and Measurement, Reporting Verification (MRV) workshop for stakeholders of line ministries and agencies has unveiled that collecting data from institutions and businesses involved in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that is responsible for global warming and climate change is very difficult to do in the country.

As a result of the difficulties data analysts responsible are having, the workshop held on Global Environmental Facility (GEF) through the Conservation International Friday, November 20, 2020, at a local resort in Monrovia with support from the unveiled findings that not much information is on hand about Liberia’s role in carbon emission.

Carbon Emission as a subject of discussion in the world is the release of CO2 in tons in various ways into the earth’s atmosphere which facilitates global warming and change in the climatic conditions in places.  Environmental scientists say climate change effect as a result of carbon emissions comes in the form of unusual rainfall not in line with the usual season, high degree of sunshine with long duration in the year, heavy wind storms, flood, and sea erosion.

According to scientists, carbon emission can no longer be attributed to the quantity that comes from the sea or ocean but caused by human activities ranging from the emission of greenhouse gas carried by industrious countries and developing countries alike.

Arthur R.M. Becker, National Focal Point for Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told reporters in an exclusive interview that the training is intended to get stakeholders to understand how to calculate emission level at various institutions and agencies responsible for carbon emission and to collect data as to how Liberia stands in the world at carbon emissions level.

Farkollie P. Sumo, an analyst involved with data collection from industries under the Industrial Products and Process Use (IPPU), also intoned that collecting the data is “Very, very difficult.”

“When we go to collect data, they tell us to go and come back for no genuine reason but on the basis of fear that if they leak out information about their operations, they will be exposed and booked by the government,” Sumo said, adding, “The industries and other institutions signed agreements with government to allow data collection on emissions, and they are all aware but are not cooperating.”

Sumo who presented on industrial materials produced in Liberia indicated firmly that Liberia does not emit much greenhouse gas, but the data is needed to get the country on par with others in reporting because Liberia is a signatory to the Global Action on Climate Change.

“The government needs to do more to organize such a workshop like this to educate the companies and industries that the data collection is not intended to strangulate their operations or bring them to book, but to guide them to mitigate emissions level,” Sumo noted.

During presentations by the various sectors including Energy, Agriculture, Industrial Products and Process Use, Waste, and Transportation, presenters agreed that collecting data was a serious predicament to their work, and by the presentations it was noticed that they could not present enough data on the emission levels of those institutions and companies because of those institutions alleged refusal to provide the information needed.

In terms of emission, the Agriculture sector looked at activities surrounding Animal Husbandry that involves raising domesticated animals like cattle, swine, goats and others, and emission of CO2 is from their manure.  Transportation is concerned with the burning of fuel, gasoline and jet fuel, while energy is concerned with the use of power generator to produce electricity.

Focal Point person for Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency, Becker, said as the project facilitating this workshop is to end in six weeks they are seeing greenhouse gas to be a bad element responsible for global warming with an adverse effect on the environment.

“Under the project, we are trying to identify sources of these bad gases from the various sectors, and the main sources are the Waste Sector, Energy Sector, Agriculture Sector, Energy and the IPPU Sectors,” Becker said.

According to Becker, the expectation of the workshop is to get experts understand by sharing information about those emission sectors in the country and beyond that, how gains that have been made in protecting the environment that the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has provided funds for through the Conservation International (CI) to the Government of Liberia through the EPA can be sustained.

Furthermore, the gathering was intended to get the stakeholders to understand and take steps towards the emissions level when data are gathered.

The workshop brought together close to 75 participants from line ministries and agencies including the Forestry Development Authority, Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Transport, and other agencies.

Becker, like Sumo, noted that Liberia is not a big emitter of greenhouse gas and has the largest portion of the Upper Guinea Forest (about 40%) which is a carbon sink.  Based on the significance of the forest, he said it is essential that the forest is protected not to vanish that instead of being a blessing to the country it will be a curse.

He also counted on the Mangrove Swamp as a very potential carbon sink, noting, “As a nation and people, we must be able to utilize the mangrove because it is an echo reserve and a place of breeding for fishes that we eat, and for its importance, we must be able to take pertinent steps to preserve our wetland.”

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