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U.S. partners Nigeria in fight against climate change, gas flaring

Consul General Will Stevens of the U.S. Consulate, Lagos, Nigeria, says the U.S.  will partner Nigeria in combating climate change and reducing natural gas flaring into the environment.

Stevens said this during a media interactive session organised by the Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Stevens said that Climate Change was one of the key pillars of President Joe Biden’s administration.

He said that Biden had the first ever Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change, Sean Kerry, adding that the country invested its commitment to the COP 28, 29 climate agreement.

Stevens emphasised that the partnership would continue to remain invaluable in the fight against climate change and that Biden’s administration placed premium on efforts to mitigate the scourge.

“We are working hard with Nigeria to ensure that Nigeria continues to make the amazing commitments that they have made to combat climate change to reduce flaring and natural gas, to clean up the oil spills that are happening.

“Right here in Port Harcourt, we worked together with NOSDRA on oil spills in Eleme;  we have scientists from the EPA to work together to share expertise.

“It’s about partnering. Climate change is a global problem that impacts every citizen in the world, so we need to work together to fight it,” Stevens said.

Earlier, the Executive Coordinator of Media Awareness and Justice Initiative, Onyekachi Okorie, said that the NGO, with the support from the U.S. Consulate General Office in Lagos, Nigeria, would ensure the implementation of the Citizen Science Project for Newsroom.

Okorie said that the interactive session with the journalists was to discuss and proffer solutions on the key challenges affecting effective quanty media reporting, especially  on data analysis reporting in the Niger Delta.

He said his organisation had developed and deployed a tool that monitors, aggregates and avails members of the public real time environmental data.

Okorie further said that with its newly developed application, a more comprehensive data about the environment would be readily available at the fingertip of everyone.

“Citizens science is important for media reporting because we understand that news cannot be told one-sided.

“The citizens science for newsrooms project is focusing on building the capacity of the media, newsroom journalists, investigative journalists, civil society groups and community based groups.

“Building their capacity, we would be able to tell stories, reports using data in qualitative and quantitative forms.

“We are also building capacity to be able to engage in data use.

“We understand that data can only be used if its well aggregated, well analysed, well visualised and that will also help create more in-depth reporting for newsrooms,” he said.

Okorie said that his organisation had created a tool, a mobile app, that would be accessible via IOS and Android devices, to enable journalists tell stories around environmental incidents and air quality in the Niger Delta.

“We also remember that sometime ago, we had the issues of carbon particles called soot, that was polluting our environment and we didn’t have any contacts to call to quantify it.

“We now have an app and we have deployed air quality sensors in certain locations in Port Harcourt and around Rivers State to collect data.

“This data is aggregated on that app and the app would be able to speak to journalists while giving them the tools to be able to write their stories more effectively and qualitatively,” the coordinator said. (NAN)

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