burning tire in Nigerian protest

Only  4 days into the new year and we’ve already got troubling enviro-political news. This post is from Time’s “Ecocentric” blog:

Africa’s most populous country is also a major oil exporter, producing some 2.4 million barrels of crude a day—and sending much of it to the U.S. You’d assume that all that oil would mean cheap gas for Nigeria’s 160 million residents, most of whom are desperately poor. But you’d be wrong—in part because of inefficiency and corruption, Nigeria lacks the infrastructure to actually refine much of its crude, so most of the oil is shipped abroad in its raw form, forcing the country to then import expensively refined oil and gasoline.

To keep petrol relatively affordable, the Nigerian government has provided expensive fuel subsidies for nearly four decades. But the $10-billion a year oil subsidies drain public money away from more important sectors and distorts the economy. So at the end of the year Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan made the politically bold decision to cut back on the subsidies, a move that could save the government $8 billion a year—four times the annual health budget.

Read the full story: A Cut in Fuel Subsidies Leads to a Rise in Gas Prices, and Anger and Protests in Nigeria | Ecocentric | TIME.com.