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Sunday, June 23, 2024
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A call for action: What Nigeria’s President-elect must do on climate change

In 2022, Nigeria experienced devastating floods in several parts of the country, affecting millions of people and causing significant damage to infrastructure and property. The floods were caused by a combination of factors, including heavy rainfall, poor urban planning, and inadequate drainage systems.

Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President-elect of Nigeria

According to reports, the floods affected at least 28 of the 36 states in Nigeria, with the worst-affected areas being in the northern and central parts of the country. Many communities were completely submerged, leaving residents stranded and in need of emergency assistance.

The floods had a significant impact on agriculture, with many crops destroyed and livestock lost. This had a knock-on effect on food security and livelihoods, particularly in rural communities. The floods also caused significant damage to infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and buildings, which will require significant resources to repair.

This incident made clear how highly vulnerable Nigeria is to the impacts of climate change due to its geographic location and socio-economic factors. The country is located in West Africa, which is one of the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and heatwaves. Additionally, Nigeria’s economy is heavily dependent on natural resources, particularly oil and gas, increasing the country’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

Over the years, Nigeria has taken some steps towards addressing the climate crisis. The country has developed a number of policies and strategies aimed at promoting low-carbon development and building resilience to the impacts of climate change. Some of these efforts include:

National Climate Change Policy: Nigeria developed a National Climate Change Policy in 2012, which provides a framework for addressing climate change across different sectors of the economy. The policy outlines Nigeria’s vision for a low-carbon, climate-resilient future and sets out strategies for achieving this vision. This policy has been a significant game changer, and in November 2021, Nigeria’s Climate Change Act was assented to by the president, Muhammad Buhari, post COP26 in Glasgow, and it is aimed at providing a legal framework for addressing climate change issues in the country.

The Act seeks to promote the adoption of measures that will reduce Nigeria’s greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. The key provisions of the Climate Change Act include the establishment of the National Council on Climate Change, the National Climate Change Fund, and the National Climate Change Commission. The Act also requires that every sector of the Nigerian economy develop plans for addressing climate change, and it provides for the implementation of a national climate change policy.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Nigeria submitted its first NDCs in 2015 as part of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The NDCs outline Nigeria’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building climate resilience, and promoting sustainable development. Nigeria’s NDCs include a target to reduce emissions by 20% by 2030, which could be increased to 40% with international support.

Nigeria submitted its revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) targets to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2020. The revised targets represent an update of Nigeria’s original NDC targets, which were submitted in 2015 as part of the Paris Agreement. Nigeria’s NDCs include a target to reduce emissions by 20% by 2030, which could be increased to 47% with international support, as compared to the 2015 targets, which show an ambitious commitment.

The key elements of Nigeria’s revised NDC targets include the following:

Greenhouse gas emissions reduction: Nigeria has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2030. This target is conditional on receiving international support, including financial resources and technology transfer.

Renewable energy targets: Nigeria has set a target of generating 30% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. This includes targets for solar, wind, and hydropower.

Adaptation targets: Nigeria has set targets for adaptation to the impacts of climate change, including the development of early warning systems, the promotion of climate-smart agriculture, and the protection of vulnerable communities.

Mitigation targets in the forestry sector: Nigeria has set targets for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and promoting sustainable forest management.

Nigeria’s revised NDC targets represent a significant step towards addressing climate change in the country. However, there is still a need for increased investment in renewable energy as well as the development of supportive policies and regulatory frameworks to enable the transition to a low-carbon and sustainable future. The success of Nigeria’s NDC targets will also depend on the availability of international support, including financial resources and technology transfer, to help the country achieve its goals.

Renewable Energy Development: Nigeria has made some efforts to promote the development of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. The country’s Renewable Energy Master Plan, developed in 2012, aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix to 23% by 2025 and 50% by 2050. Nigeria has also launched various programmes and initiatives aimed at promoting investments in renewable energy, including the Nigerian Electrification Project and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Programme. In 2022, Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP) was launched, which serves as a roadmap for the country’s shift towards a low-carbon and sustainable energy future even though its focus is geared towards exploring fossil gas. The plan is aimed at reducing Nigeria’s dependence on fossil fuels and promoting the development and adoption of renewable energy sources.

The key objectives of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan include the following:

Increasing the share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix: The plan seeks to increase the contribution of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydropower, to the country’s energy mix. This will help reduce Nigeria’s dependence on fossil fuels and promote the use of clean energy.

Improving energy efficiency: The plan seeks to promote the adoption of energy-efficient practices and technologies in the country. This includes measures such as the deployment of smart grids, energy-efficient buildings, and the promotion of energy-efficient appliances.

Increasing access to energy: The plan seeks to improve access to energy in Nigeria, particularly in rural areas where access to electricity is limited. This will be achieved through the deployment of off-grid renewable energy solutions, such as solar home systems and mini-grids, and we have seen some significant strides by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).

Promoting private sector investment: The plan seeks to attract private sector investment in the country’s renewable energy sector. This will be achieved through the development of policies and regulatory frameworks that promote investment in renewable energy, as well as the provision of incentives and support for renewable energy projects. Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan is still in its early stages of implementation, and progress has been slow. However, the government has taken some steps towards promoting renewable energy, such as the development of solar power projects and the establishment of a Renewable Energy Fund. There is still a need for more investment in renewable energy, as well as the development of supportive policies and regulatory frameworks to enable the transition to a low-carbon and sustainable energy future.

Climate Resilience: Nigeria has implemented a number of programs and initiatives aimed at building climate resilience, particularly in the agriculture sector. For example, the country has launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, which aims to increase agricultural productivity, enhance food security, and build resilience to climate change impacts.

Despite these efforts, however, Nigeria’s progress towards addressing the climate crisis has been slow and uneven. The country is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, particularly oil and gas, which are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, Nigeria faces significant challenges in implementing its climate policies and strategies due to a lack of resources, capacity, and institutional frameworks. The country also faces other pressing developmental challenges such as poverty, insecurity, and unemployment, which can compete for resources and attention.

As Nigeria’s President-elect, there are high expectations that you will prioritise efforts towards the country’s Energy Transition Plan, climate change action, NDC implementation, and setting a path towards Nigeria’s net zero target by 2060. Here are some specific actions that are expected of you in these areas:

Energy Transition Plan: Nigeria needs to transition from its dependence on fossil fuels towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy mix. As President-elect, you are expected to lead efforts towards this transition by prioritising investments in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power. This includes the development of policies and incentives to attract private sector investments and boost the deployment of renewable energy projects across the country.

Climate Change Action: Climate change is a global challenge that requires urgent action at all levels. As Nigeria’s president, you are expected to demonstrate leadership by prioritizing efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. This includes the implementation of the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which outline Nigeria’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building climate resilience, and promoting sustainable development.

NDCs Implementation: Nigeria’s NDCs are critical to the country’s efforts to address climate change. As President, you are expected to ensure that the NDCs are fully implemented, including the development of policies and programs that promote low-carbon development and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. This includes supporting efforts to reduce emissions from key sectors such as energy, transport, agriculture, and forestry.

Setting a Clear Path Towards Nigeria’s Net Zero Target by 2060: Nigeria has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2060. To achieve this target, the country must take bold and decisive actions to transition towards a low-carbon economy. As President, you are expected to set a clear and ambitious roadmap towards achieving this target, including the development of policies and programs that support the deployment of clean technologies, the promotion of sustainable land use practices, and the adoption of climate-smart agriculture.

Certainly! Here are some more specific actions that can be taken in each of the areas mentioned:

Energy Transition Plan:

  • Prioritise investments in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power, with the aim of increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix. Revisiting, strategizing and funding the implementation plan for the Katsina Wind Farm Project and exploring the possibility of developing similar across the six geopolitical zones could also be a good start among other initiatives in the country.
  • Develop policies and incentives to attract private sector investments and boost the deployment of renewable energy projects across the country.
  • Support the development of a smart grid system that can better manage the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid.
  • Promote energy efficiency measures in key sectors such as buildings, industry, and transportation, to reduce energy consumption and increase energy savings.
  • Encourage research and development of new technologies that can accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon energy system in the country.

Climate Change Action:

  • Improve the effectiveness and address gray areas in the national Climate Change Act that outlines Nigeria’s vision, goals, and strategies for addressing climate change.
  • Establish a body to coordinate climate action across government agencies and sectors.
  • Prioritise climate-smart agriculture practices that can increase resilience to climate impacts while also reducing emissions.
  • Promote sustainable land use practices such as reforestation and afforestation to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and enhance carbon sinks.
  • Effectively engage grassroots and marginalised communities in participatory policymaking related to the impact of climate change on their communities through citizens assemblies. This will enable them to decide on key areas that need intervention, thus developing participatory solutions, and developing strategy for implementation.
  • Invest in early warning systems and disaster preparedness measures and effective public awareness mechanisms to increase resilience to extreme weather events.

NDCs Implementation:

  • Develop and implement a monitoring, reporting, and verification system to track progress towards NDC implementation.
  • Develop and implement policies and programs that support low-carbon development in key sectors such as energy, transportation, agriculture, and forestry.
  • Mobilise domestic and international financing to support NDC implementation.
  • Strengthen institutional and governance frameworks to support effective NDC implementation.

Setting a Clear Path Towards Nigeria’s Net Zero Target by 2060:

  • Develop a long-term decarbonisation strategy that sets out a clear roadmap towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2060.
  • Establish an inter-ministerial task force to coordinate the development and implementation of the decarbonisation strategy.
  • Promote the deployment of clean technologies such as electric vehicles, energy storage, and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technologies.
  • Encourage the adoption of circular economy principles that promote resource efficiency and reduce waste.
  • Promote public awareness and engagement on the importance of achieving net-zero emissions by 2060 and the role that individuals and communities can play in supporting this goal.

In conclusion, as Nigeria’s President-elect, you have a critical role to play in leading the country towards a sustainable and low-carbon future. By prioritising investments in renewable energy, implementing Nigeria’s NDCs, and setting a clear path towards net-zero emissions, you can help position Nigeria as a leader in the global fight against climate change while also promoting sustainable development and economic growth. It is important to prioritise these efforts and work towards achieving Nigeria’s climate targets to ensure a better future for all Nigerians.

By Ibrahim M. S. (dheenylkhair@gmail.com) and Yazid S. Mikail (yazidsmikail@gmail.com), Zaria, Kaduna State

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