• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Nigerian Government reiterates commitment to curb impact of climate change

Climate change

The federal government has reiterated commitment to implement programs targeted at addressing the impacts of climate change in Nigeria.

Abubakar Bagudu, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, expressed this commitment in Abuja, in a conference themed: ‘Unlocking Climate Finance: Actionable Pathways for Nigeria’s Low Net Emissions Growth’ organized Africa Policy Research Institute (APRI) and Enzi Ijayo Africa initiative.

According to Bagudu, the Nigerian government has begun the implementation of several initiatives, including the passage of the Climate Change Act 2021 into law, establishment of the National Council on Climate Change as well as the allocation of a N130 billion fund in 2024 budget for the implementation of the energy transition plan.

He said, “In spite of the seemingly challenges on issues relating to environment, the administration is committed and ensuring implementation of the Presidential CNG initiative and other energy transition programs,” he said.

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The minister who represented by his special assistant, Bolaji Onalaja, stated that there was no understatement of the importance of Climate action for all governments.

“This is particularly important for Nigeria given that the country has significantly suffered from the effects of climate change, from desertification in the Lake Chad Basin, which has led to migration of herders southwards and has contributed to banditry and clashes with farmers; to the degradation of mangrove forests; and to the frequent floods that have had a devastating impact on livelihoods across the country.

“Thus, there is a need to raise financing to fund the energy transition, but at the same time as we face a challenging fiscal environment and other short term priorities (including ramping up oil and gas production, and taming inflation, it can sometimes be difficult to prioritize the mainstreaming of climate action but this administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been consistent and has even included in the 2024 budget the inclusion of an energy transition fund and the implementation of the Presidential CNG initiative,” he said.

The Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning is the cornerstone of planning across the economy as the custodians of the Nigeria Agenda 2050 which is our long-term plan, the National Development Plan which is a 5-year mid-term plan, and of course, the national budget which is an annual expenditure forecast.

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In his remarks, Olumide Abimbola, the Executive Director, of APRI, noted that climate change was already inflicting immense damage on lives and livelihoods, often to the people who have the least capacity to adapt to its effects such as in Africa.

He explained that between 2012 and 2018, extreme weather events in the form of floods and droughts cost Nigeria over $31 billion, adding that over the past years, the position of African countries has largely been shaped by the Global North.

He said, “There is an increasing need for Africans to shape and chart the continent’s climate transition pathways in line with local climate and socio-economic realities, as well as development priorities. Here, African countries such as Nigeria have a leading role to play.

“Nigeria is the most populous African country, the country with the youngest African population, the largest petroleum production, and one of the largest economies on the continent. What Nigeria does, can do, or plans to do, especially around financing, is of immense consequence for the continent.

“The global realities of climate change mean that the landscape for finance and global geopolitics is changing significantly. As climate and ESG considerations become increasingly important in accessing finance from the Global North, plans that do not have climate action in view are finding it more difficult to attract financing.”

This he said, is leading to a significant decline in new investment in fossil fuels, for example, with investments into energy financing of any kind increasingly being based on climate considerations.

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He explained that Nigeria was navigating between weaning itself off fossil fuel dependence and accelerating renewable energy investments is of extreme importance, noting considerable strides by the government in establishing a carbon market and framework for the government as well as ongoing reforms to attract climate finance to the country.

“In the last year, Nigeria received about two billion dollars in climate financing, a small fraction of the need, even in the energy sector alone. But increasing flows will not come from simply articulating our vision for climate action or making bold statements of intent. They will only come when we begin to internally reflect and shape what climate transition, especially a just transition, means to us – and when we begin to implement reform initiatives directed at clearly demonstrating that our plans are fact-based and rooted in the realities of our political economy.

“For us to do this, we need to reflect internally and evaluate actionable pathways for Nigeria’s low net emissions growth pathways that do not compromise on our development priorities and that also incorporate resilience in the realities of foreseeable climate impacts,” he said.