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Climate change: Steering Committee meets to give direction on Long-Term Strategy

A meeting of the Steering Committee on the Elaboration of the Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy (LT-LEDS) or Long-Term Strategy (LTS) that held in Abuja on Thursday, October 20, 2022, was aimed at ensuring that the government through its various ministries give a direction to the strategy that is being developed by the Natural Eco Capital and the Nigeria Deep Decarbonisation Project (DDP).

LT-LEDS Steering Committee
Participants at the meeting of the Steering Committee on the Elaboration of the Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy (LT-LEDS), in Abuja

Director of the Department of Climate Change in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. (Mrs.) Iniobong Abiola-Awe, gave an opening by highlighting that the meeting of the Steering Committee is necessary to review, assess, approve, and give strategic direction on the baseline results of the Long-Term Strategy developed through the Low Emission Analysis Platform (LEAP) model. She said the aim is to ensure a national ownership and a political coordination across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

A keynote address of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment which was delivered by Dr. Abiola-Awe noted that climate change is a reality that has come to stay, thus it is important to strategise, and put in place necessary instruments and institutions to fight the impact of climate change.

As a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, she said, Nigeria must take advantage of global best practices to address the long-term global climate change that can ensure a just transition. Thus, the long-term strategies provide a pathway to society’s transformation and a vital link between the NDCs and the long term decarbonization strategy for Nigeria.

According to the permanent secretary, the green pathway will ensure that the next generation are left with a safe environment that we have acquired for generations. Therefore, the gathering of the steering committee is important to seek efficiency and to avoid multiplication of activities, given that the net-zero is important across all sectors. Thus, all stakeholders represented in the meeting were enjoined to make meaningful contributions that will guide the long-term strategy development.

In his message, the National Facilitator of the Nationally Determined Contribution Partnership, Mr. Huzi Mshelia, said that the long-term strategy was timely, and commended the efforts of the Department of Climate Change, Natural Eco Capital and the Nigeria Deep Decarbonisation Pathways team for ensuring a national ownership of the project, transparency and the openness in presentation of the results and underlying data sources.

He also noted that it is important to be conversant with the implications of the policies that the project seeks to address. According to him, an effective green growth policy should result in the creation of new jobs as millions of people are already involved in the value chain of fuel wood to charcoal energy.

The Desk Officer of 2050 pathways, Ms Dana Schran, who joined the meeting virtually, said that 53 countries have submitted their long-term strategies to UNFCCC. According to her, 137 countries have committed to net-zero but are yet to elaborate their strategies. Some of these countries are expected to submit their strategies COP27 in Egypt.

She highlighted the key role played by 2050 Pathways in supporting countries to develop their strategies and plan for climate resilience.

On his part, the Director of Natural Eco Capital, Dr Eugene Itua, highlighted the need for political governance support from the steering committee members as part of the reasons for the meeting.

According to him, the LTS seeks to align the nation’s “instruments” of Decarbonisation such as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Net-Zero Target, Energy Transition Plan, Climate Change Act 2021, Long-term Vision (LTV 2050), and Economic Recovery Plan.

He underlined the need for alignment, saying that it not only ensures consistency, but also avoids the lock-in of carbon-intensive behaviour, technologies, and policies.

National Leader of the Nigeria’s Deep Decarbonisation Project, Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, led the presentation of the modelling result. He started by highlighting the economic challenge posed by climate change to Nigeria, noting that the country aggregated losses to climate change could reach $450 billion by 2050.

According to him, climate change is a major contributor to the unprecedent flooding that is currently ravaging the country, which is claiming hundreds of lives, contributing to food insecurity and endangering oil, gas, energy, transport, and other critical infrastructures in the country.

Prof Okereke said that the Steering Committee has a major role to play in ensuring that the LTS is seen as a serious process to discuss what Nigeria can do to act on climate change while also achieving long term sustainable development. He said that the LTS represents a path breaking exercise in at least three ways.

First, LTS is comprehensive in scope, covering all the key sectors of the economy. While the ETP represents a major step in the right direction, it is focused on the energy sector and does not include the AFOLU sector, which accounts for up to 48% of Nigeria’s emissions. Secondly, the LTS is the first integrated assessment modelling exercise that is being driven by local scientists from Nigerian universities. Finally, the LTS involves a stakeholder engagement component that is designed to get the views of as many Nigerians as possible into the visioning and modelling of Nigeran low carbon future.

Following the introduction by Prof Okereke, Dr. Kesiena Owebor presented the LTS Business as Usual (BAU) results. The results showed that the residential sector dictated the energy consumption up until 2040, while by 2050 and 2060, the transport sector takes a larger share of the total energy consumption in the country. In respect of emissions, the major contributors to emissions in the Nigeria economy are the Transport sector; and the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU). Thereafter, the Industrial sector, Waste, and the Power sector, in that order.

Given the work done by the DDP team, Prof Okereke said that the BAU presents many interesting results. First, it shows that the emission from Nigeria is even higher than is projected in the NDC and the ETP. Second, they highlight the critical role that emission from transport sector will play in Nigeria. And third, that currently emission from the residential sector attributed to wood-based cooking accounts for the greatest use of energy in Nigeria.

The members of the steering committee provided feedback which largely highlighted the need for the team to use more of local data that reflected domestic realities. The DDP team appreciated the committee’s feedback and explained that they would elaborate on the scenarios then progress the work by coupling the energy sector model with an economic model. The energy sector model used by the team is Low Emission Analysis Platform (LEAP) while the economy model is known as KLEM.

By Uchenna Nnamani, Kesiena Owebor and Chinedum Nwachukwu (DDP team Nigeria)

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