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THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE AGENDA

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Climate Change is fast becoming a critical economic issue across the globe. Countries are getting to defining moments and situations where weather patterns are drastically changing, food production is threatened, with a rise in sea levels, and the impact is felt globally on a disturbing scale. Under a Business-As-Usual emission scenario, temperatures are likely to increase over the coming 50 years than have changed in 6,000 years.

According to Nick Dunlop, Secretary General of the Climate Parliament, “For every rise in temperature per degree Celsius, about a billion globally will be exposed to hotter environments where their sources of livelihood will be threatened”.

Many nations are now seriously beginning to take proactive, mitigation, and/or adaptive actions to resolve these scenarios and their impacts. Goal 13 of the Sustainable Develop Goals calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. It is connected to all the 16 other Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To address this, countries adopted the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C. Currently, the world is about 1.15°C degrees above the pre-industrial average, and this figure is critically close to the 1.5°C degree limit world leaders agreed to in 2015.

Despite increasing awareness of climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. In 2013, the daily level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time in history, topping the highest level ever recorded three to five million years ago during the Pliocene Epoch. 2022 experienced one of the extreme records of climate disasters in Africa, destroying crops and livelihoods and leading to several adverse direct and indirect effects. At a time when humanitarian budgets are tightening, nearly 350 million people globally face acute food insecurity. It is also very sad to note that many of the countries that are suffering the worst impacts of climate change did not almost in any way cause the problem.

Desertification in Northern Nigeria, increasing flood disasters in its South, pollution, and erosion, and their socio-economic implications reflect the impact of climate change in the nation. With a growing population of over 200 million that is estimated to reach 400 million by 2050, the country urgently needs to make important decisions and take strategic measures to protect its citizens from the environmental and socio-economic implications of these challenges. While the effects of climate change remain visible, new technologies, resilient communities, and historic agreements seem to be put in place to address them, and this probably offers signs of hope.

The issues surrounding climate change have raised controversial opinions on the criticality of the scenario, heavy emitting nations, affected nations, and the seriousness of the discussions and agreements around it. Is it just paper talks, exertion of political authority on who wields power to authorize or execute, or a gathering of nations using estacodes to talk talks that are never walked? In Africa, a huge population of her citizens though ravished by the impact of climate change believe that it minimally contributes to it, and the major issue faced by the populace is poverty. Is this true?

Should we wait till the impact of climate change becomes critical before we act, or should proactive measures be taken now to mitigate or adapt to Climate Change?

THE GLOBAL ISSUES

COP27 closed with a breakthrough agreement to provide loss and damage funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by floods, droughts, and other climate disasters. This was widely lauded as a historic decision because, for the first time, countries recognized the need for finance to respond to loss and damage associated with the catastrophic effects of climate change, and agreed to the establishment of a fund and the necessary funding arrangements.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that limiting global warming to around 1.5°C requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43% by 2030. A very short period. Currently, the world is off-course to meet this target. At COP27, countries reaffirmed their commitment to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Also critical to meeting the temperature limit is the first global stocktake, which held its second technical dialogue at COP27. The global stocktake is a gathering of countries and stakeholders to assess their progress toward meeting the Paris Agreement.

The United Nations chief pointed out that fossil fuels, not just their emissions, are the problem in the climate crisis, in his apparent stand against a United Arab Emirates Cop28 presidency; a controversial scene where the COP28 President, an Arab Chief Executive Officer of an oil company, and the COP28 host being the UAE, a heavy oil-producing nation. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged countries to progressively phase out fossil fuels, moving to leave oil, gas, and coal in the ground where they belong, and boost investment in renewable energy. He mentioned that nations are hurtling towards disaster, eyes wide open with far too many willing to bet it all on wishful thinking, unproven technologies, and silver bullet solutions. Guterres’ statements aim at countries calling for the phase-out of fossil fuel emissions rather than the fuels themselves and for the large-scale deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

Ahead of the COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), climate negotiations took place this June in Bonn, Germany as diplomats from around the world searched for common ground before the next big UN summit. Governments, after almost two weeks of talks, were not able to agree on an agenda. The delegates were tasked with laying the groundwork ahead of the global stock-take yet tensions ran high as negotiators failed to agree even on the starting agenda for the talks until the day before the two-week session was due to close.

Developing countries had earlier celebrated the achievement gained at COP27 in Egypt when they secured a loss-and-damage fund for people struck by climate disasters. There were disagreements over the provision of this fund.

Currently, the Paris Summit for the New Global Financing Pact just took place this June, with heads of various nations and key trade and finance organizations gathered to address the issue of the role of trade policy in fighting climate change, poverty, and inequality.

THE REALITY

Nigeria, in her response to climate change issues, has formulated plans through policies, regulations, and initiatives, with the Federal Ministry of Environments, the Department of Climate Change, and now the National Climate Change Council in conjunction with other MDAs regulating and strategically unveiling these plans.

There are uncertainties on how the newly-elected President Tinubu’s administration will react to the National Climate Change Council, the Climate Change Agenda, and climate change issues generally in the country. Will the administration forge on with the already formulated initiatives, make changes, or put a foot on the pedal? It is noteworthy that President Tinubu has mandated companies to begin sustainability reporting in 2024. He mentioned that all companies involved in the fight against climate change will begin disclosure of their financial accounts from January 1, 2024, in line with the International Sustainability Standards Board so that stakeholders and interested parties can assess a more transparent, comparable, and verifiable sustainability-related financial information to help them assess an entity’s enterprise value.

President Bola Tinubu has also recently asked the United States to support the country with more funding to help Nigeria in its energy transition plans as he pledged to meet the country's climate change goals. President Tinubu appealed to the United States and other developed nations to understand that Nigeria has the challenge of poverty that must be addressed, insisting that in the race for energy transition, the world must have the right balance between fossil fuel and green energy. He maintained that Nigeria needs the funding and support to drive and accelerate its energy diversification plans.

The Nigerian Government through the Federal Ministry of Environment actively, and other MDAs including the Department of Climate Change and the Climate Change Council, have laid out several policies and targets like the Energy Transition Plan, Net Zero Emission by 2060, several green projects, and other initiatives to tackle climate change and environmental issues. If strategically implemented and evaluated over the course of time, the result should put the nation right on track on the accomplishment of its climate change goals.

OUR RECOMMENDATION

We recommend that the Nigerian government should actively engage the private sector to tackle climate and environmental issues in the Nigeria. With the right collaboration, expertise and experience, and right resources, the private sector will collaborate with the government to ensure the sustainability of these goals.

As an environmental, social and governance professional services company, IPMC Limited has a team of experts that deliver on solutions centered on the environment and climate. Through our services and work solutions, we seek to generate new sustainability thinking, identify practical solutions, and support client organizations, including government agencies, to act on policies and strategically implement them to achieve sustainable goals.

Author:

Onyekwere, Chika Ugochi

Senior Environmental Consultant,

IPMC Limited.

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