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Friday, April 19, 2024

After intensive scrutiny, stakeholders approve Nigeria’s revised climate plan draft document

A three-day intensive parley on the validation of a Draft document on Nigeria’s Green House Gas Emission projection for the next five years, and its revised Nationally Determined Contributions on climate change, has climaxed with a unanimous approval of the draft.

Stakeholders’ Validation Meeting
A group discussion session at the Stakeholders’ Validation Meeting

But the milestone was not achieved without some rigour, as dissenting voices took time to scrunitise the veracity and credibility of the baselines (data) upon which the projections were premised.

By implication, the document, which still awaits executive approval by the country’s Federal Executive Council, connotes that Nigeria would hence be in possession of a Policy Document that would guide its climate change intervention till 2025.

Unlike its previous policy direction on the commitment, the new Document embodies a rather ambitious target for the country’s input on the global efforts to address the challenge of climate change and its catastrophic effects, as it now projects a progressive shift from its previous baseline.

In specific terms, unlike its 2015 commitment, which ranges between the radius of 20% to 25% reduction in its GHG Emissions across the sectors, as captured in the Paris Agreement, Nigeria has now put strategies in place to drive a more aggressive cut down to between 40% and 50% as the case may be.

The Energy Sector, which accounts for 25% electricity needs of the country, appears the leading emitter of GHG, followed by Transport, Agriculture and Industrialisation, among others.

While the parley opened up yet another dialogue on the nation’s largely available but uncoordinated data and the need to interlink them for efficient usage, facilitators, both foreign and local, expatiated that the document baseline was drawn from industry’s certified data and research works like the National Energy Balance, among others.

The workshop was held in Lagos, at the behest of the Federal Ministry of Environment, with support from the United Nations Development Programme, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety; Agencia Espanola De Cooperacion Internacional  Parael Desarrollo, Federal Ministry  for Economic Cooperation and Development, and NDC Partnership.

On attendance were the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission, National Bureau of Statistics, National Space Research and Development Agency, Transmission Company of Nigeria, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), National Planning and Budget Office, and several others.

While defending the draft, the modelers, including Hans Verolme, Leader Consultant Team, Ricardo Energy and Environment/Stockholm Environment Institute; Chris Malley and Jessica Slater, Micaela Zabalo and BalncaFernandez Milan; Carlos Miro, Head of Unit, Nigeria Energy Support Programme, GIZ; Paul Bertheau, Consultant, Nigeria Energy Support Programme; Mariam Yetano Roche, Consultant for the Nigeria Energy Support Programme, GIZ, in partnership with their local facilitators; Mr Huzi Mshelia, National Coordinator for NDC Support Programme; and Mrs Halima Bawa-Bwari, Acting Director, DCC, took turns to illuminate the document.

The technical sessions were segmented into six presentations with each of the day featuring two intellectually robust PowerPoint deliveries, followed by highly informed engagement.

Mitigation Potentials; Mitigation Ambitionsin the 2021 NDC Update; Initial Mitigation Assessment; Investment analysis for off-grid electricity sub-sector and update of mitigation targets for electricity sector; and updating Mitigation target for the power sector in Nigeria, were the focal points of presentations at the technical sessions.

Lending further credence to the baseline for the projections, Beneard Agube, Manager Operations and Clean Development Mechanism, NNPC, said: “The National Energy Balance was heavily relied upon in the draft work because of its painstaking accuracy and subsequent certification by the Energy Commission as the most credible instrument to measure the country’s energy development.

“The reason for the National Energy Balance Initiative in the first place was for us to know the GHG emission regime for Nigeria. And when we started the project, we asked whether there was an existing framework as such before we proceeded, and the concerned agency said yes, but never provided any till today. So, the energy balance framework remains the most credible and basic tool available that can be worked with, as far as Nigeria Energy Sector is concerned,” Agube, who was part of the working committed said.

For him, Dr. Mattew Adeoye, the Acting Director, National Space Research and Development Agency, said the parley has produced a significant document that should not be further delayed in terms of implementation.

He said: “What I am more pleased about is the fact that this parley afforded critical stakeholders to make input in the draft before being approved.

“For instance, on the issue of GHG Emission in the Agriculture Sector, I was able to point out the significant impact of bush burning in the country as one of the leading factors contributing to the emission. But that was omitted in their projections, and the National Space Research and Development Agency is ready to partner with them to understand the extent of Bush Burning so that it can be properly captured in the next review,” he added.

A representative of NERC, who doesn’t want his name in print because he was not permitted to speak to the press on the issue, said the document represents a genuine and more serious commitments on the part of the government to confront the menace of climate change in the country.

“To be sincere, these efforts are quite commendable, because it depicts a genuine and serious commitment on the part of the government of Nigeria to do something in climate change. And with or without foreign support, we all must rise to this occasion because, eventually, if we neglect the need to act now, we will all suffer it together in the future.

“Flooding, fire disaster, draught and food scarcity are all going to affect us first before the global community, hence the need for us to get serious and get the job done this time,” he explained.

One of the takeaways however is the clarity built around the revised edition of the NDC this time around, says the Statistician for the National Bureau of Statistics, Mr. Olagunju Kehinde Julius.

According to him, in his efforts to remove the wool on the topic, the “investment analysis for off-Grid electricity sector, and update of mitigation targets for electricity.”

Paul Bertheau, Consultant to Nigeria Energy Support programme, GIZ, participants now have clearer understanding on the genuine intention of the policy to drive a more ambitious growth in the nation’s electricity sector.

Statutorily, the recommendation implies that, unlike the status quo, which revolves around dependence on the national grid for electricity distribution and transmission across the country, there would be an aggressive investment in an off-grid solar power generation, with specific focus on serving cluster areas across the six geo-political zones of the federation.

“But the limitation of this, however, is that cluster areas are more prevalent in some regions than others,” the NBS Representative, argued, stressing that, “for instance, in the Southwest, from Ilorin to Ogbomosho, from Ogbomosho to Oyo, from Oyo to Ibadan, there are usually cluster areas in close proximity of five to 10 kilometers radius, unlike in the North where you may have to travel more than 20 to 50 kilometres before you can see detached villages.

“By this, more traveling time would constitute substantial energy loss because the longer it takes to reach supply point, the more exhausted the energy becomes,” Julius added.

On his part, a representative of the National Planning and Budget Office of the Federation, who pleaded anonymity on the ground that he was not authorised to speak to the Press on the matter, acknowledged that part of the groundbreaking achieved recorded at the meeting was a renewed commitment to funding the implementation of the revised Nationally Determined Contributions of the country to climate change.

Though he admitted that the 2021 budget does not feature any allocation to this regard, he however disclosed that the Federal Government has secured the commitment of five concerning sectors – Environment, Energy, Transportation, Agriculture, and Labour, to independently generate the needed funding for the project.

In the 2015 edition of the country’s NDC, there was a national commitment of 20% budgetary provision by the country to implement its contributions to the global efforts on climate change.

By the reality of the new Draft or validated Document, which will subsequently become the country’s revised NDC, the funding needs may have risen to 40% to 50%.

“The funding gap is a challenge to the Nigerian government as we speak. We all should realize that the country just exited recession. And that resilience can be attributed to a lot of investment in social programmes and several other economic initiatives from the government.

“However, on the revised NDC, when it is eventually passed by FEC and recorded by the United Nations, the funding need will still not go away. However, what we may have achieved as a bigger takeaway from this parley is that fact that the key five sectors involved have been given the mandate to generate the needed funds internally. Perhaps they get assistance externally too. And this gives us clarity on how the goal will eventually be achieved,” he said.

By Bankole Shakirudeen Adeshina

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