BusinessDay

Climate change: Osinbajo seeks climate justice for Africa

..says Nigeria need huge investments in infrastructure

Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice-president has advocated for climate justice for Africa, next conference on Climate Change scheduled for Egypt later in the year.

He noted that a just transition would mean more energy and must include ending global energy poverty.

Osinbajo stated this at a virtual event on climate finance themed “Climate Finance and a Just, Equitable Energy Transition for Africa”, organized by The Atlantic Council.

Speaking on Nigeria’s energy requirements over the next 28 year, the vice president stated that “ Nigeria will require huge investments in new infrastructure. We’re going to build more roads, ports, industrial parks, and especially power systems.”

“For every Nigerian to consume the Modern Energy Minimum of 1,000 kilowatt hours per year by 2050 would require a 15-fold increase in our national power generation.”

According to Osinbajo, “we are already seeing the investment rules limit the technology choices of African countries in ways that do not apply to wealthy nations. Applying a set of standards to Africa that you can’t apply in your own country is the opposite of climate justice.”

The vice president noted that “ if the global energy transition is going to become reality, if we are truly, in this climate crisis together, then the priorities of African nations cannot be sidelined. Climate justice must include far greater support for countries with the greatest needs and who contribute the least to global emissions.

“It must include investments, not only to mitigate carbon emissions but also to ensure that developing countries can adapt to the impacts of climate change caused by the rich polluting nations. Climate justice must include ending energy poverty. Anything else would be the opposite of justice.”

Speaking to the issue of a just and equitable transition for Africa and others, Osinbajo said “what is a just transition for countries with no coal and deep energy poverty? A Just Energy Transition means something very different for every other African country, including my own country, Nigeria. For us, a just transition means a lot more energy, not less.”

He noted that “climate justice must include ending global energy poverty. Every person on the planet deserves to have modern energy. Every person deserves a job. All modern economies require abundant affordable and reliable energy.

“And with the impacts of climate change bearing down on us, every nation must have enough energy to build resilient infrastructure, deliver essential public services, and provide the cooling and air conditioning to withstand a warming planet. I’ll say this again: climate justice must include ending energy poverty.”

On expectations at the forthcoming Conference of Parties, tagged COP27, in Egypt later in the year, Osinbajo said “every nation must play its part in solving the dual crises of global poverty and climate change.”

Read also: Climate Innovation Centre moves to boost plastic waste recycling

His words: “Africa must be committed to solving both of these emergencies because both poverty and a warming planet affect us more than any other region. We are absolutely clear that Africa must be proactive, we must be assertive of our needs, and we must do a better job of making our views heard. That is what to expect in Egypt.”

On Nigeria, the Vice President noted that the country remains committed to the net zero emission by 2060 but would require the support and partnership of other stakeholders.

To ensure every household has access to cleaner cooking will require access to LPG, biogas and electric cooking for the tens of millions of families still cooking with wood and charcoal.”

He also explained that “an immediate priority is to create 20 million jobs and rebuild our industries. We must add more than 200 gigawatts of new power capacity, principally utility scale solar by 2060.

“We will need to upgrade our power infrastructure, especially for transmission and distribution, using a strategic mix of grid and mini grid systems. To be successful we will need partners.

“The majority of investment in our energy transition will come from our own national resources. But we estimate we need an additional $410 billion above business-as-usual investment to meet our goals.”

Another point raised at the meeting by Osinbajo was the use of alternative technologies. He stressed that “every country must find its own path to a low carbon future. The EU decision to label both gas and nuclear as green energy is a clear recognition that Europe knows that countries need a wide range of options.

“The United States too has a long-term plan that includes an array of different technologies that meet the needs of diverse communities across the country. Africa too will find its own path. Africa too will use an array of technologies that meet the needs of diverse countries across the continent.”

He expressed optimism that Africa will get it right at COP27, noting that “Egypt will be a crucial moment for African leaders to explain their common position and for Western leaders to show they are hearing us and living up to their commitments and responsibilities.

“Egypt can be a turning point for fighting climate change and for ending global poverty. The win-win is there for the world to grasp. We can succeed. But only if the needs of developing countries are heard.”

The Climate Finance virtual event is one of the preludes to the COP27 event scheduled to hold in Egypt later in the year to further galvanize efforts towards a just transition.

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