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Prof. chukwumerije-okereke

Ekwueme Varsity Centre Explores Economic Analysis Of Green Investment Opportunities In Nigeria

Economic and climate experts, policy makers and other stakeholders will meet in a webinar later this week to discuss a report that analysed inclusive green recovery and transition opportunities in Nigeria with a focus on the energy and agricultural sector.

The essence of the economic analysis is to analyse green economic opportunities in the energy and agriculture sectors and provide sound evidence to help make national and selected sub-national governments’ investments more efficient to support green recovery and transition opportunities. The costs and benefits analysed are environmental, health, and employment opportunities from each GR option.

The analysed options in the agricultural sector are as follows:

  • Sustainable rice management (SRM): intermittent aeration of rice paddy fields (~50% of total land area under paddy rice cultivation)
  • Sustainable cattle production (SCP): increase national cattle herd growth rate from current 1.5% growth rate to 3.3% per annum using sustainable/intensive management methods; and
  • Sustainable forest and land management (SFLM): improved natural forest management (~128,528 ha of natural forests).

The analysed options in the energy sectoranalysis are as follows:

  • Off-grid solar home system: providing 5 million off-grid households and SMEs with solar power.
  • Green energy for education: providing off-grid solar power supply to seven federal universities and seven university teaching hospitals across Nigeria.
  • Green energy for health: providing off-grid solar power supply to seven federal university teaching hospitals across Nigeria.
  • Substituting 30 million homes cooking with dirty fuels traditional biomass to LPG; and
  • Moving 7.3 million households currently cooking with traditional biomass to improved cookstoves.

The webinar, entitled “Economic analysis of green investment opportunities in Nigeria”, which is organised by the Centre for Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike (AEFUNAI), Ebonyi State, in partnership with World Resources Institute (WRI) Washington DC, will hold on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 4pm West African Time (WAT).

The webinar is an integral part of a project aimed at conducting an economic analysis to identify inclusive green recovery and transition opportunities in Nigeria with a focus on the energy and agricultural sector in support of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s efforts to fulfil its NDC target and drive economic recovery and green growth, commissioned by the World Resources Institute (WRI) as part of the multi-country New Climate Economy (NCE) Project with support from Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by The Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo.

The aim of the webinar is to disseminate the findings of the economic analysis and to increase public awareness of, and stakeholders’ engagement in with the economic analysis, as well as to persuade the Nigerian Government at all levels to adopt the report in their present and future plan.

Speaking on the forthcoming webinar, the Director of Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, said that the webinar would offer a great platform for the sharing of findings from the economic analysis to the larger public, engaging the critical stakeholders and having critical discussion on the findings by experts across the captured sectors.

He pointed out that the webinar would be interesting and educating as some provocative findings from the conducted analysis will be shared and recommendations from the virtual event documented and submitted to relevant government agencies for actions and implementations.

According to Professor Okereke, “The main presentations will draw from “Economic analysis of green investment opportunities in Nigeria”, a commissioned analysis by the World Resources Institute (WRI) as part of the multi-country New Climate Economy (NCE) Project with support from Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by the Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike.

The webinar will feature Dr. Robert Onyeneke of the Department of Agriculture, AE-FUNAI; Mr. Chukwuemeka Emenekwe of the Department of Economics and Development Studies, AE-FUNAI; and Dr. Sanjo Faniran, Director, United Nations System Unit, International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Budget and National Planning as panelists, and discussant while Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, Director, CCCD AEFUNAI, is the host and facilitator.

By Chinedu Nwasum

Africa has vast gas reserves – here’s how to stop them adding to climate change

The question of whether Africa should be allowed to exploit its gas reserves, estimated at more than 17.56 trillion cubic meters (620 trillion cubic feet) in 2021, has been much discussed at the latest UN climate change summit, COP27, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Former US vice president Al Gore used his speech at the opening session to urge an end to all fossil fuel investment globally, including in Africa. But Macky Sall, the president of Senegal and chairperson of the African Union, argued at the same event that Africa needs space in Earth’s dwindling carbon budget to use its resources for development.

The gas debate centres on two arguments, either for gas or against it. This is too narrow and fails to consider what development might look like for Africa and other regions that are struggling to grow their economies and address widespread poverty while also taking ambitious climate action. It also neglects the question of what kind of international cooperation might be necessary to make climate-compatible development possible.

Those who argue against expanding fossil gas extraction say that exploiting Africa’s reserves is incompatible with keeping average global temperature rise below 1.5°C, the “safe” limit agreed in Paris in 2015. Renewable energy is now the cheapest way to connect millions of people to power networks in countries where energy poverty is rife, they say.

It has also been suggested that widespread poverty in oil-rich countries such as Nigeria demonstrates how decades of oil and gas exploration have only benefited multinational corporations such as Shell and left few gains for most Africans. Investing in oil and gas now, it’s argued, will leave African countries holding stranded assets as Europe and North America pivot to wind, solar and other renewables.

Those in favour of exploiting Africa’s gas argue that industrialisation – for example, the building of modern transportation systems, hospitals and schools which developed countries enjoy – has relied on burning fossil fuels. Industrialised countries still consume a lot of gas. Germany, for instance, uses the fossil fuel to generate up to 30% of its power.

Natural gas, it is held, could provide enough energy for industrial processes such as steel, cement, paper and pulp manufacturing which renewables such as solar and wind have yet to provide.

A study published in 2021 found that a lack of finance, or the high cost of accessing it, imposes a huge gap between the theoretical and actual cost of generating renewable energy in Africa. And, if African countries are able to diversify their energy portfolio with gas it will, it is argued, increase energy resilience and strengthen the right of African countries to make their own decisions on energy generation, distribution and consumption in a way that they deem appropriate.

Proponents of gas point out that, historically, Africa has contributed the least to climate change, accounting for less than 4% of the total stock of CO₂ in the atmosphere. If the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa tripled its electricity consumption from gas it would only add 1% to global CO₂ emissions. In comparison, the US has released more than 509 gigatonnes of CO₂ since 1850 and is responsible for 25% of the global total.

On this basis, it is argued that developed countries are enacting a renewed form of colonialism – what some might call climate colonialism. This is because countries that developed using fossil fuels and continue to appropriate a disproportionate amount of the remaining carbon space in the atmosphere are seeking to stop Africans from using their abundant reserves of gas to address energy poverty challenges and fast track their development.
Striking a balance

The narrow view of either “no to gas” or “yes to gas” in Africa is largely unhelpful in framing the continent’s climate, energy and development challenges. What Africa urgently needs is a credible plan for oil-dependent economies to avoid the need to transition to gas in the long run. That must include technical and financial support to scale up renewables in all countries, so they can build self-reliant, prosperous economies.

Neither gas nor renewable energy on their own can do much to help Africa when so many countries depend on foreign technology and investment to grow their economies. The crucial question for Africa at COP27 should be: what is the right package of assistance needed to expand modern and affordable energy, develop a competitive advantage in manufacturing renewable technologies and better manage resources in a climate-constrained world?

Many African countries such as Ghana and the Gambia already have ambitious climate targets, but these are conditional on the receipt of international support which is not forthcoming. Despite being an oil-dependent economy, Nigeria has a pledge to be carbon neutral by 2060. The cost of implementing this strategy is valued at US$1.9 trillion (£1.59 trillion). In spite of high-level diplomacy by the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria has only managed to receive a promise of a one-off payment of US$3 billion from the World Bank – but when this is supposed to be delivered has not been confirmed.

The US thinktank Climate Policy Initiative has suggested that Africa needs an inflow of about US$277 billion annually to implement the plans contained in each country’s emissions reduction pledge. But the continent currently only receives something in the region of about US$30 billion a year.

Africa could be world-leading in renewable energy generation if provided with the right technology and financial assistance. The continent has big advantages when it comes to renewable energy generation – ranging from solar, hydroelectricity, wind and geothermal energy. The International Energy Agency says Africa has 1% of the world’s total installed solar power capacity, despite the fact that, it has 60% of the world’s most promising areas to generate solar energy.

Calls to cease all gas exploration in Africa that fail to account for where historical responsibility for climate change lies and the need to close the current finance gap are the most audacious kind of climate imperialism. COP27 must unlock trillions of dollars in large-scale renewable energy investments and generate new economic opportunities for Africa – or it will have failed.

Originally Published By The Conversation

Professor Chukwumerije Okereke

CCCD’s Second Essay Competition Seeks Incoming Nigerian President’s Agenda on Climate Change

The Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike has announced the commencement of the second edition of its essay competition on climate change in Nigeria.

The second edition of the essay competition with the title “Climate Change and Nigeria’s Economic Development: A letter to Mr. Incoming President” commenced on Friday, November 11 and ends on Thursday, December 22, 2022.

Speaking on the competition, which is opened to young adults between the ages of 16 and 35 years, the director of the Centre, Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, said that the aim of the competition is to increase public awareness of, and engagement with climate change in Nigeria and Africa more broadly.

He stated that he was impressed by the quality of submissions received during the maiden edition and the high level of enthusiasm by Nigerian youths towards climate change, hence the decision to launch the second edition.

He said: “The competition will offer further great opportunity for young people to be the leading and driving force to climate action in the country by setting agenda to the next administration in the country. I am optimist that we will receive yet another quality submissions by the young people across the country on the topic.”

He further emphasised that climate change remains a threat to human existence, and young people have a vital role to play in climate actions and decision making in order to protect the environment.

Prof. Okereke, while calling on young adults to utilise the opportunity to set climate change agenda for the next President of Nigeria in 2023, stated that the choice of the essay topic was as a result of lack of adequate knowledge of climate change issues in Nigeria and across the globe exhibited by some Presidential Candidates in the build-up to the 2023 Presidential election in the country, hence the urgency for the young people to set climate change agenda for who will eventually emerge the next president in 2023.

He further reiterated that the Centre would continue to come up with engaging activities and competitions that further increase public awareness and understanding of climate change in Nigeria and Africa.

“My Centre is planning more engaging competitions to increase public awareness of, and engagement with climate change in Nigeria and Africa more broadly,” he said.

The second edition of the essay competition will see the winner getting a cash reward of N200,000, the second position N150,000, while the third position will get N100,000.

The top 10 essays will be announced on January 6, 2023, while the best three essays will be announced during a hybrid event on January 26, 2023.

By Chinedu Jude Nwasum

Finance Critical In Actualising Climate Change Targets In Nigeria – Okereke

The President, Society for Planet Prosperity (SPP) and the Director, Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ebonyi State, Prof. Chukwuemerije Okereke, has emphasised the importance of adequate finance in meeting the 2060 net zero aspiration and other climate change targets in Nigeria.

Prof. Okereke made this known while giving an opening speech at a webinar on “The Role of the Climate Change Act in Catalysing Climate Finance” recently organised by the SPP in partnership with GCA Capital partners.

He noted that, for the new National Climate Change Council to meet all the obligations as contained in the Climate Change Act, adequate financing is critical and germane. He advocated for alternative funding to ensure that the council fulfill its mandate as enshrined in the Climate Change Act.

Speaking on the topic “The Role of the Climate Change Act in Catalysing Climate Finance”, the keynote speaker and the CEO of GCA capital partners, Mr. Obi Ugochuku, submitted that the Climate Change Council should be a vehicle for finding alternative finance for climate change activities.

He explained that some of the public sources of funding that can be available to the council include Appropriation, Linkage with national and subnational plans, Carbon tax, administrative interventions, and Linkage with climate finance ambitions, while the private sources included corporate issuances, institutional investors, and catalysing private sector sources, and the multilateral and bilateral sources involve keying into global sources for support and leveraging global climate finance commitments.

Mr. Ugochuku concluded that while there are existing funding opportunities both at the national and international arena to meet the climate change targets in Nigeria, accessing the fund requires strong commitment to ensure that the funds are channeled to what they are meant for.

In his contribution during the webinar, Mr. Olugbolahan Mark-George, a Climate Finance Advisor to the Federal Government of Nigeria, enumerated different ways that the National Climate Change Council could swing into action on the financial aspect. He stated that the harmonisation of all the existing policy documents on climate finance, introducing functional structure to check all MDGs budget through climate filter, updating of data to guide decision-making, tracking of budgetary allocations on climate finance and leveraging on public finance to access private finance and global finance are crucial in ensuring the success of the National Climate Change Council.

While contributing as a discussant, Dr. Eugene Itua, the Coordinator of Nigeria’s Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy (LTS) Development, maintained that finance is key in piloting the affairs of the Climate Change Council, stating the need for the council to accelerate action on nature-based solutions with a good return on investment and the development of an enabling environment for sustainable development and sustainable finance.

Dr. Itua pointed out that it was the function of the council to galvanise the whole system into action through collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders to ensure that enough finance is mobilised to actualise the goals and objectives of the council.

In his remarks, Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo, who is of the University of Lagos, Akoka, stated that climate change should be seen as a part of development and Nigeria should not wait for external funding to fight climate change because it is affecting us directly. He noted that we must start with a small amount in terms of mobilising climate finance knowing fully well the economic situation of the country, while more funding would be attracted through good proposals.

Prof Oladipo stressed the importance of the Climate Change Council to engage, dialogue, and employ experts to help run the affairs of the council if the government wants to achieve optimum results in climate finance mobilisation.

The webinar had in attendance over 50 participants from different MDGs, CSOs and other stakeholders in the Nigerian environment sector.

On July 25, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the appointment of Dr. Salisu Mohammed Dahiru as pioneer Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council on Climate Change.  The Nigeria Climate Change Act has some key financial provisions which include financial mobilisation, the establishment of a Climate Change Council with a mandate to mobilise finance, and the establishment of a Climate Change Fund, which could be a repository for a plethora of climate-related instruments.

By Chinedu Nwasum