The European Commission wants a stronger focus on hydrogen power in its energy system and has launched a strategy to that effect, the EU’s executive body announced.
The commission said it would support the installation of at least six gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolysers in the EU until 2024.
With this, it wants to produce one million tonnes of renewable hydrogen – a six-fold increase of current levels.
“We need a complete overhaul of the energy system,” European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans said.
The EU pledged to be “climate-neutral” by 2050, a target that foresees net zero gas emissions.
The commission also launched its European Clean Hydrogen Alliance on Wednesday, which aims to mobilize investment into hydrogen power.
But Esther Bollendorff, EU gas coordinator at Climate Action Network Europe, said the commission was putting too heavy a focus on industrial players.
“The newly proposed ‘Clean Hydrogen Alliance’ does not promise to be an independent and evidence-based body, as it would be dominated by fossil gas producers and network operators,” she said.
“Without independent experts, nor NGOs or representatives of the renewables and efficiency sectors, this alliance will only reach biased conclusions.’’
As part of the same push for a climate-neutral economy, the commission also launched its EU Strategy on energy system integration – a process by which traditionally separate energy carriers, such as gas, electricity and liquid fuels are linked across sectors.
The strategy highlights the importance of decarbonisation and the reduction in electricity consumption.
Yet, while welcoming the strategies in general, Bollendorff remained sceptical.
“The measures proposed are not sufficient to considerably reduce Europe’s energy consumption,” she said.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)
School feeding programme gulps over N500m during Lockdown – Minister
The Federal Government expended about N523.3 million on school feeding programme during the lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.
Farouk made the revelation against the rumours and speculations going around one of our key interventions of the government – the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
She said that the programmed was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th, Presidential directive.
“It is critical at this juncture to provide details that will help puncture the tissue of lies being peddled in the public space.
“The provision of ‘Take Home Rations’, under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme, was not a sole initiative of the MHADMSD.
“The ministry, in obeying the Presidential directive, went into consultations with state governments through the state Governor’s Forum, following which it was resolved that ‘take-home rations’, remained the most viable option for feeding children during the lockdown.
“So, it was a joint resolution of the ministry and the state governments to give out take-home rations.
“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, as pilot cases,’’ the minister said.
According to her, each takes home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at with proper consultation.
“So, each household is assumed to have three children.
“Based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding programme, long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day.
“The meal costs N70 per child.
“When you take 20 school days per month, it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month.
“Three children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month and that was how we arrived at the cost of the ‘take-home ration’.
“The agreement was that the federal government will provide the funding while the states will implement.
“To ensure transparency in the process, we partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.’’
“TrackaNG monitored and gave daily updates validating the programme.
“In the FCT, 29,609 households were impacted, 37,589 households in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 households impacted between May 14, and July 6.
“If 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount will be N523,273,800.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Stakeholders highlight advantages of exclusive breastfeeding
Health experts and other stakeholders on Monday, urged Nigerian mothers to practise a minimum of six months exclusive breastfeeding of infants to enable them to grow into strong and healthy adults.
Alive and Thrive is a global nutrition initiative to save lives, prevent illness and ensure healthy growth and development through improved maternal nutrition, breastfeeding and complementary feeding practice.
He said that there was the need for countries to promote exclusive and optimal breastfeeding as a way of protecting the planet.
“It is a great pleasure for the Gates Foundation, working with the government of Nigeria, to support, protect and promote breastfeeding in Nigeria as part of the commemoration of the WBW.
“Two things are remarkable and noteworthy about this year’s celebration. The first is the theme that is connected to sustainable development.
Ajieroh said that the present rate of exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria stood at 29 per cent, and expressed optimism that achieving the target of 50 per cent by 2025 was feasible.
He said that the theme of the 2020 commemoration “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet,’’ was relevant in highlighting those global challenges.
“The theme, “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet’’ is remarkable because it is coming at a time when the world faces two major challenges, climate change and the VOVID-19 pandemic.
“It shows the important role breastfeeding can play in solving these global challenges .
“It is cheering to note that Nigeria has made steady progress in exclusive breastfeeding, having moved from 17 per cent to 29 per cent in the last few years.
“The 50 per cent target for 2025 is achievable,’’ he said.
The Director of Family Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Salma Anas-Kolo, said that women that exclusively breastfed their children were contributing to a healthy environment.
She said that exclusive breastfeeding of infants for the first six months played a major role in raising a crop of intelligent youths that would provide purposeful leadership in future.
Anas-Kolo called on all women and men to continue to support and promote exclusive breastfeeding through advocacy and sensitisation.
Dr Uche Ralph-Opara of Alive and Thrive said that the organisation had, in the last few years, supported some states in Nigeria through survey to establish the status of exclusive breastfeeding.
She said that findings showed that many mothers believed that due to hot weather, their infants needed to supplement breast milk with some quantity of water.
“The breast milk contains 80 per cent water, so the infants can get all the water they require at any point in time from breast milk,’’ she said.
The webinar drew participants from the academia, NGOs, government and other stakeholders.
WBW is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding.
It is celebrated between August 1 and August 7 every year in commemoration of the 1990 Innocent Declaration.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)
France to push for rights sanctions in EU recovery plan – Minister
France will push for financial sanctions under the EU’s 750 billion euro ($880 billion) coronavirus recovery fund against states that undermine fundamental human rights, its junior European Affairs Minister told the Financial Times newspaper.
“We can’t tell (French, Polish, Hungarian and European) citizens that (we) can have financial solidarity in Europe and not care how the basic rules of democracy, free media and equal rights are respected,’’ Clement Beaune said in an interview published late on Sunday.
The European Union is struggling to respond to what many in Western Europe see as creeping authoritarianism on its eastern flank.
The European Commission, EU lawmakers and activists have said freedoms are notably under threat in Poland and Hungary.
Beaune told the newspaper that the EU must be tougher on breaches by those countries.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
COVID-19 Response: FG receives 2nd Batch Medical Supplies of UN Basket Fund
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has joined other stakeholders to receive 2nd Batch Medical Supplies purchased with UN Basket Fund for COVID-19 Response on behalf of the Federal Government.
Mr Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, said this in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja.
Oyetomi said Ehanire joined the National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu at the Cargo Section of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja to receive medical supplies from EU contributions worth N26 Billion.
Ehanire said this 2nd Batch of medical supplies would allay the fears of the health workers, especially the frontline health workers, who thought that Nigeria might be running short of supplies and were threatening strike.
The minister said there was arrangement in place through institutions and international friends like the EU and the UN to have replenishment.
He assured the EU and the UN of judicious distribution of the medical supplies to needed areas.
The Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Alexander Borges – Gomes, coordinated the handing over of the Medical Supplies.
Borges-Gomes disclosed that the items were procured through the One United Nations COVID-19 Basket Fund from a significant contribution from the European Union of €50 Million (N26 Billion).
The medical supplies include 500,000 face shields; 200,000 goggles; 100 oro-pharyngeal airways; 10,000 bio-hazard bags; and 14,000 safety boxes.
Borges-Gomes disclosed further that these were the 2nd Batch of the Medical Supplies by Team Europe – the EU and its MSs after the arrival of the 1st batch in mid-June, adding “Team Europe operates globally and here is the effort on behalf of Nigeria.”
He expressed hope that the equipment would boost the Nigerian Government’s response efforts as a whole but in particular, they would protect the heroic frontline health workers.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)