The impacts of climate change are becoming ever more significant to address as developing countries struggle to balance economic and environmental pressures. They must not only tackle this predicament but also seize the opportunity to enhance sustainable economic development.

West African countries are among the majority that face even more complex decisions as their agricultural productivity, food and water security, as well as energy development is heavily dependent on existing natural systems in the face of a changing climate.

There are two major responses to climate change, mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation refers to efforts aiming to reduce GHG emissions while adaptation refers to efforts to prepare and adjust to or lower the impacts of climate Change.

Whilst West African countries have shown tremendous support and zeal for the global climate agenda, not only have the 15 ECOWAS countries signed and ratified the Paris agreement, they are long standing parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, their level of ambition for mitigation as indicated in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is said to be insufficient to limit global temperatures below acceptable limits and limit devastating impacts on themselves. Hence, even with low emission profiles compared to other parts of the world, West Africa must seize the opportunity to leapfrog a carbon intensive development.

West African Countries are now making tremendous efforts to switch to cleaner and more sustainable energy and it is important the mitigation outcomes of these actions be recognized as part of their commitments to tackle climate change and that is why in addition to promoting the use of clean, sustainable and available renewable energy resources, ECREEE is also promoting credible reporting of mitigation outcomes of renewable energy deployment and energy efficiency measures. A 2-day national training workshop on “Grid Emission Factor (GEF) and Standard Baseline (SB) for the Energy Sector in Liberia was held from the 9th to 10th July 2018 in Monrovia.

Through technical support from the UNFCCC Regional collaboration center (RCC) in Lome, the national training workshop was designed to assist local stakeholders in Liberia in the calculation of the Grid Emission Factor (GEF) of the national electricity grid and to prepare the ground for a development and submission of a standardized baseline (SB) for Liberia’s energy sector.

GEF is the measure of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions intensity per unit of electricity generation in a given grid system. Having the grid emission factor (tCO2/MWh) is a prior requirement to determining the emission reductions achieved by a proposed low emissions project connected to the national grid system.

The Standardized baselines concept was introduced in 2010/2011 under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to simplify the determination of baseline scenario for estimating mitigation outcomes in terms of GHG emission reductions.

Both the GEF and SB require intensive processes for data collection, processing, compilation and reporting to aid the following key elements:

  • Calculation of GHG emission and their reference levels at a national level;
  • Tracking of emission reductions in mitigation actions for inclusion in a registry system and assurance of results through a national verification system;
  • Tracking of support required and received, in relation to the relevant mitigation outcome, for inclusion in the registry system and assurance of results through a national verification system, if any;
  • Inclusion of all related mitigation results in international reporting, such as the National Communications, international registries, and information hubs as well as associated review processes.

Liberia joined the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in November 2002. It should be noted that due to the disconnection between the Liberian national grid and the West Africa Power Grid (WAPP), the standardized baseline developed for power sector in the WAPP region has not included Liberia. Without this tool being made publicly available, it will be difficult for upcoming Liberian mitigation projects in the power sector to quantity their mitigation outcome. Therefore, to develop the grid emission factor as a power sector standardized baseline is considered as important foundational work to assist Liberia in preparing itself for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The two day training workshop was attended by 30 participants;  representing several government ministries and agencies, development partners, private sectors, NGOs and universities including: Liberia Electricity Corporation; Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation, Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy; amongst others.

The key outcomes of the training include, mapping of national entities in charge of data management in the energy sector of Liberia; Selection of focal points to assist in reaching out to relevant line ministries of government; Review of protocols for data collection, processing, compilation and calculation methodologies and tools; Familiarity with UNFCCC procedures and requirements for processing and calculation of grid emission factor, and understanding of the steps for preparing the grid emission factor as a standardized baseline submission to the UNFCCC.

Delivering the Welcome Remarks, the Executive Director of the environmental protection agency (EPA) of Liberia, Dr. Nathaniel T. Blama Sr. told participants that the training they would provide the requisite skills and technique on how to calculate GEF for Liberia’s energy sector. He disclosed that a significant achievement of the EPA is the ratifying of the Paris agreement since his administration took office.

In her opening, ECREEE Program Officer, Adeola Adebiyi stated that the main objective of the workshop is to familiarize key stakeholders in Liberia on the process of calculating the grid emission factor and a standardized baseline for the energy sector. She disclosed that the two concepts help countries to determine the emission reductions achieved by new low emissions projects connected to the grid. Both concepts are also crucial for the overall implementation of NDCs that have been submitted by Liberia to the UNFCCC.

According to her, while most ECOWAS countries have gone through the process of developing the GEF and SB, Liberia is still yet to fully complete this process since 2014. “So the workshop aims to fast track the process so that you are not left behind,” she told participants.

During the last technical session of the workshop, a follow-up plan was developed  towards developing the GEF for the energy sector in Liberia.

Mr. Ben Karmorh in closing the workshop, lauded participants and called on them to provide the necessary support for the provision of data from their respective institutions so that Liberia can be elevated from the bottom to a middle income country. He lauded ECREEE and UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Centre for the building the capacities of representatives of relevant ministries and organizations that have potential role to play in the development of the grid emission factor and standardized baseline in Liberia.

Madam Patience Awhavbera, an engineer from Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) lauded facilitators and ECREEE for the opportunity and promised that they will make use of the training. Another participant, Mr. Jefferson T. Chea said the training was a great learning curve and hopes that the process will continue.