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green recovery and transition in Nigeria

Policymakers review analysis for green recovery and transition in Nigeria’s agriculture, energy sectors

Researchers and high-level representatives from relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, convened for a lunch meeting in Abuja to review an economic analysis of inclusive green recovery and transition opportunities in Nigeria’s agriculture and energy sector.

The policy brief, commissioned by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and funded by the Danish Government, is aimed at supporting the Federal Government of Nigeria’s efforts towards the fulfilment of its objective to achieve economic recovery and green growth in the energy and agriculture sectors.

The policy analysis, credited to Robert Onyeneke, Chukwumerije Okereke and Chukwuemeka Emenekwe, shows the costs and benefits as it relates to the environment, health, and employment opportunities in Nigeria’s agriculture and energy sectors.

Opening the meeting, Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, the Principal Investigator and the Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development (DCCC) at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, said: “The impact of climate change is felt in all sectors; if you take the agricultural sector for example, of the five key staple crops consumed in Nigeria: maize, cassava, millet, sorghum and yam, climate change will negatively affect all of them, in some cases causing up to 70% decrease crop yield.

“This is a looming disaster and almost an existential threat because up to 70% of Nigerians depend on agriculture for their livelihood and the agricultural sector accounts for roughly 26% of our GDP. If we think outside of the box, we can explore ways to act on climate change and recover from the COVID-19 in ways that boost our economic growth. Nigeria has many things going for it and there is a need to identify those opportunities and capitalise on them,” he explained.

Nigeria’s agriculture, energy sectorsAlso commending the efforts of the researchers and re-emphasising the need for such policy analysis to inform the government’s direction, Dr. Iniobong Abiola-Awe, the Director of the Department of Climate Change in the Federal Ministry of Environment, commented that “this policy analysis is timely, closely following the establishment of Nigeria’s Climate Change Council. The outcomes from this engagement will also strengthen Nigeria’s position during COP27 in Egypt.”

She also appreciated the Danish Government for providing the fund and thanked other ministries for their corporation.

Some analysed options in the energy sector as shared in the analysis include: providing five million off-grid households and SMEs with solar power; providing off-grid solar power supply to seven federal universities and seven 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.

Under the agriculture sector, analysis options show the possibility of achieving intermittent aeration of rice paddy fields (~50% of total) in the systems of rice management through intensification; increasing the national cattle herd growth rate from the current 1.5% growth rate to 3.3% per annum using sustainable/intensive management methods in the area of sustainable cattle production (SCP) and improved natural forest management at about 128,528 ha of natural forests in the area of sustainable forest and land management (SFLM). The main outcomes analysed showed the contribution of each Initiative through economic, environmental and employment lenses.

The policymakers’ recommendations included a need for similar modelling focusing on gas. There was also a call for scaling up this analysis to cover other NDC sectors, model large-scaled surveys and design state-level analysis, as well as spotlight the private sector’s potential and leveraging opportunities.

Some of those in attendance included representatives from the World Resources Institute, the Embassy of Denmark in Nigeria, and officers from departments and agencies under various federal ministries including the Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Power, Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning, and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

By ‘Seyifunmi Adebote

(this was first published by Environews)

Prof. Chuwumerije Okereke

Climate change to cost Nigeria $460bn by 2050 – Okereke

Director, Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State, Prof. Chuwumerije Okereke, says climate change will cost Nigeria $460 billion by 2050, if action is not taken to mitigate its effects.

Okereke made the disclosure on the sidelines of the ninth international Lagos Climate Change Summit held recently in Lagos.

”Climate change is costing Nigeria already $100 billion per annum. And that this amount will rise to about $460 billion per annum by 2050.

“And this represents a huge amount of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“From 2020 till now, climate change is already costing N15 trillion, representing two to 11 per cent of the GDP, by 2050 climate change will be costing N69 trillion, representing six to 30 per cent of the GDP,” Okereke said.

The expert, who is also a visiting professor to Oxford University, said that climate change was already having untold effect on flooding and rising sea levels in the country.

According to Okereke, flooding is already affecting 25 million people in Nigeria.

“In Yenegoa, there are 302,782 people estimated to be exposed to high flood risk along the Niger-Benue basin in the Niger Delta area with 630km of land susceptible to flooding.

“In Lagos, 375,000 people are exposed to flooding; the number will increase to about 3.2 million people by 2050.

“The direct estimate of damage and loss is N1.48 trillion. The total damage and loss, including indirect ones due to flooding is about N2.6 trillion,” Okereke said.

He said that with the rise in sea level, an estimated 27 to 53 million people in the country might need to be relocated with a 0.5m increase in sea levels.

Okereke said that coastal settlements like Bonny, Forcados, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar were at risk with vast amount of oil infrastructure.

He noted that the country had mapped out a lot of interesting policies to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Okereke listed the policies as long-term sustainability plan to achieve a net zero emission target by 2060 and determined contribution to aggressively embark on actions to mitigate the impact change.

“All these are very fascinating, interesting policies.

“However, the action on the ground does not come anywhere near what is needed to arrest the situation to address the impact of climate change and to also reduce emissions from economic wide activity.

“So, we have a situation where we have a lot of various policies, documents, but very limited action on the ground and this worries me because I have been shouting that climate change poses an existential threat to Nigeria,” Okereke said.

He urged the government to match action with the right policies to achieved the desired result.

“We need to inject a lot of finance and a lot of action to stem the problem of climate change,” Okereke said.

He noted that the impact of climate change on our agricultural system was extremely high.

Okereke said that many Nigerians engage in one kind of agricultural activity or the other and agriculture constitutes about 26 per cent of the nation’s GDP.

“With climate change, you will have drought and it will affect different crops and impose even stronger, negative implications on food security system in the country.

“I have also argued that the depletion of the groundwater around the country caused by climate change and movement of people from the north to the south thereby fuelling insecurity.

“So, you have desertification in the north, flooding in the West, you have erosion in the east and deforestation in the south.

And all of these things are threatening the existence and the wellbeing of millions of Nigerians,” Okereke said.

By Fabian Ekeruche

(this was first published by Environews)

cccd

Climate Council DG appointment: CSO leaders thrilled govt heeded call

Leaders of some civil society organisations (CSOs) are delighted that the Federal Government of Nigeria has considered their calls for the commencement of the implementation of the Climate Change Act, following the appointment of a director to pilot the affairs of the National Council on Climate Change.

In recent weeks, the campaigners were persistent in their demands. For instance, at a virtual workshop for CSOs leaders held on Thursday, July 14, 2022, participants underscored the need for the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, set the motion in place for the establishment of the National Council on Climate Change in order to implement the Nigeria Climate Change Act, which was signed into law in November 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Amid calls by youth groups for the commencement of the law’s implementation, the workshop was followed by the submission of a petition signed by 64 groups to relevant government agencies. While urging government to immediately implement the climate law, the campaigners expressed dismay over the delay by the government in implementing the core provisions of the Act.

However, apparently bowing to the CSOs pressure, government took a major decision that appeared to signpost the commencement of the implementation of the Climate Change Act with the announcement on Friday, July 29, 2022, of the appointment of Dr. Salisu Dahiru as pioneer Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council on Climate Change.

In a reaction, the President of the Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), who also is the Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Nigeria, Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, said he is delighted that the government has listened to the message sent by leaders of Nigerian CSOs and NGOs to urgently implement the Climate Change Act.

Professor Okereke, who led the Technical Committee set up by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to review the bill, said he hoped the appointment of the new DG would be quickly followed by the inauguration of the Climate Council and the elaboration of real policy measures to tackle climate change and transition Nigeria to the green economy.

His words: “Climate change poses an existential threat to Nigeria and the failure to treat the climate challenge with the urgency and gravity it deserves is already costing Nigeria billions per annum as well as the loss of human lives and critical ecosystem.”

Nnaemeka Oruh, National Coordinator, Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), Nigeria, said: “I would say that the coordinated campaigns by civil society, the media, youth advocates, the international community especially the British High Commission, and of course by the National Assembly especially Rep. Sam Onuigbo, played a critical role in this. This is a win for Nigeria and an important step.”

While Barr. Nkiruka Stella Okonkwo, CEO/Founder Fresh & Young Brains Development Initiative, spoke in the affirmative that “It’s an exciting news. Yes, the CSOs engagement helped”, Dr Mina Ogbanga of the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI Nigeria), described the development as “a strong step in the right direction”.

She said: “As the President of the River State Network of NGOs (RINNGOS) and CEO of Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI), we completely acknowledge this step as one that will cascade our climate change ambitions unto actualisation.

“I am very positive that the strategic advocacy of civil societies contributed in no small way to the government taking this step.

“As an organisation, we have continuously called for the implementation of the Climate Change Act as part of Nigeria’s contribution to safeguarding its citizens against the harsh realities of climate change impact.

“It is our hope that the composition of the National Council will meet all best practice standards to accomplish this very strategic step.”

Abdulhamid Tahir Hamid, Chief Executive Officer, Global Environmental and Climate Conservation Initiative (GECCI), acknowledged that the call for the government to implement the Climate Change Act “was very effective, and we now know that the government is taking it seriously”.

He added: “Therefore, with this good development on the appointed DG of the Council, we are still expecting for its urgent implementation.

“The Climate Change Act also includes provisions for members of the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, women, youth, and people with disabilities. It empowers the Council with significant powers to coordinate national climate actions, administer the newly established Climate Change Fund, mobilise resources to support climate actions, and collaborate with the Nigerian Sovereign Green Bond in meeting Nigeria’s NDC.

“The Climate Change Fund is envisioned as a financing mechanism for prioritised climate actions and interventions. The promotion and adoption of nature-based solutions to reduce GHG emissions and mitigate climate change is encouraged.

“The terms of the agency’s being given funds to start implementing work, and all those involved in the act should be called to be included in the implementation work that will begin as the law provides.”

David Michael Terungwa, Founder and Executive Director of the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP), on his part, applauded the appointment of the Director General, saying that the delay in the implementation of the Act was uncalled for.

He said: “While we commend the appointment of the Director General, it is important to state that the long delay in the implementation of the Climate Change Act was not necessary considering its importance to the extent that it took a push and campaigns by civil society organisations and other stakeholders before the appointment of the Director General.

“Now that we officially have less than seven years to act to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (1.5°C), as agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement, urgent action is required more than ever before to deal with the increasing risks of climate change across the globe.

“In November 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Climate Change Bill into law. The Act reaffirms the Federal Government’s aim to cut current emissions by 50 percent by 2050 and achieve net zero emissions as early as possible in the second half of the century (net zero target for 2050 to 2070).

“However, the activities heralding the 2023 general elections are already gathering momentum and if you listen to all the political parties and all the campaigns, you hardly hear anything about climate change and the environment, which is one of the greatest problems facing humanity today and even our country.

“From every indication, it is indeed evidently clear that the global commitments from government leaders and industry are not on track to meet the 1.5°C climate target. People all the world are already suffering from catastrophic losses because of extreme weather events. The record breaking #Heatwave2022 is one classic evidence in this regard.”

net-zero

Stakeholders move to devise measures to help Nigeria reach net-zero

A scheme aimed at helping to actualise Nigeria’s net-zero dream officially commenced in Abuja on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Scheduled to span 10 months, the project, titled “Top 10 measures for Nigeria to Reach Net Zero”, will map some 10 key steps and decisions that, if taken in the coming years, will underpin a socio-economic transformation required to enable Nigeria to meet its 2060 net-zero objective.

Speaking during the project launch that engaged government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), think tanks, civil society organisations (CSOs), media practitioners and other relevant stakeholders, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, said that the top 10 measures to net-zero project is aimed at identifying key policy measures and activities within that will assist Nigerian government’s ambition to achieve net-zero growth emissions by 2060.

“While there are many policies and measures in key government documents, many feel that action on these measures are not happening as quickly as they could. At the same time, while the measures in these documents may be technically sound, many feel that their benefits are not sufficiently well communicated to the broader national audience,” said Okereke.

He added: “But time is ticking and what is undisputed is that the measures that will be implemented over the coming five years, will make a decisive difference. A small but targeted package of measures implemented across the key economic sectors will be able to put Nigeria on a deep decarbonisation pathway. Such measures will require investments from government and the private sector, with international climate finance leveraging those domestic investment and lowering investment costs and reducing risks. A failure to put Nigeria on the decarbonisation path in the near term will possibly foreclose the opportunity for net zero emission by 2060 altogether.”

The project, he stressed, is conceived to inform and stimulate the Nigerian discourse on the actions to take before 2025 that can make a decisive difference.

“The outputs are intended to support Nigerian stakeholders including policy makers, businesses, civil society organisations, and international development partners and crucially the general public, in moving this important issue out of the confines of expert debate and furthering societal debate about climate choices, regardless of people’s political perspective. The project presents the 10 key steps and decisions in a format that is accessible to a wider public through communication materials that can stimulate and inform a wider public debate,” Okereke emphasised.

Dr Iniobong Abiola-Awe, Director, Department of Climate Change in the Federal Ministry of Environment, in her remarks, stated that the global impact of climate change needs urgent attention of all stakeholders worldwide.

“This gathering is seen as an attempt to address the impact of global warming. Nigeria has ratified the Paris Agreement and President Muhammadu Buhari at COP26 on November 2021 announced Nigeria’s net-zero by 2060 commitment. The government is not relenting and is looking forward to partnerships like this towards addressing the climate change challenge. The ministry is looking forward to the outcome of this project.”

Dr Aisha Mahmood, Special Adviser to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Sustainable Banking, stated that government has been evolving and implementing the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies through policy frameworks and regulations since 2012 throughout the financial system.

Citing the sustainable banking principle as an example, she stated that the strategy is being reviewed to align with national priorities such as the Climate Change Act and the Net Zero objective.

“The financial system is implementing the strategy in lending and investment decision so as to avoid lending to sectors that will negatively impact the environment,” she stated.

Germany-based Hans Velrome of Climate Advisers Network in a presentation titled “Assessing the development benefits of climate action” described development benefits as the added benefits gotten “when we act to stop climate change, above and beyond the benefit of a more stable climate”.

He added: “They are often referred to as co-benefits or as synergies.  Some first order examples are cleaner air from reduced air pollution and less waste from reduced resource use. Some second order examples are improved security from reduced resource conflicts, or the jobs created by better access for SMEs to affordable energy.

“Decision makers look at the full development picture. So, whereas they acknowledge the need for climate change action, their aim is to deliver a cleaner, healthier, safer and more prosperous future. To many decision makers the development benefits of climate action are the principal benefits, the climate benefit is oft considered the co-benefit. Lesson: Put development at the heart of climate action.”

He listed Nigeria’s development challenges to include:

  • Economic diversification, job creation and poverty reduction
  • Security, social safeguards and gender equality
  • Food security and public and environmental health
  • Sustainable and affordable power and transport.

The Top 10 Measures for Nigeria to Reach Net Zero project is funded by the European Climate Foundation (ECF) and is being implemented by Society for Planet Prosperity.

Why Centre for Development Support Initiatives supports petition seeking implementation of climate law

Recently, the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI) joined over 60 civil society organsations (CSOs) in Nigeria to sign a petition urging President Muhammad Buhari, Attorney General Malami and the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, to urgently Implement the Climate Change Act.

CEDSI was proud to join the move to urge the Nigerian government to urgently implement the Act for many reasons but, most especially because of the expectation that the implementation of the Act will help to motivate climate action at the subnational level especially in the Niger Delta where climate action is seriously lagging.

The importance of taking targeted and well-coordinated action to address climate change in Nigeria can hardly be overemphasised. Climate change is displacing thousands of people in the Northern Nigeria and contributing to the growing insecurity that is threatening Nigeria’s existence. In the Niger Delta, climate change is causing coastal erosion, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion and unprecedent flooding which is affecting millions of people annually.

So far, Nigeria is not taking enough action to address the multiple impacts of climate change in the country. Despite having an ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and many other lofty climate policy documents, action on the ground has not matched up the aspirations outlined these policy documents. Moreover, much of the discussion on climate in Nigeria has concentrated at the national level in Abuja without being cascaded down to the states and sub national levels where the impacts of climate change are felt daily.

Hence, when President Muhamad Buhari signed the Climate Change Bill to create the Climate Change Act, the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI) was very excited. We saw in the new Climate Change Act an opportunity for Nigeria to increase its action on climate change. Critically, we saw in the Act as an opportunity to increase climate action in the 36 states of the country.

As an organisation that has been working to enhance climate action in the Niger Delta, we are hoping that the Act will help to promote the work we have been doing to promote awareness, policy and action.

Hence, when President Muhamad Buhari signed the Climate Change Bill to create the Climate Change Act, the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI) was very excited. We saw in the new Climate Change Act an opportunity for Nigeria to increase its action on climate change. Critically, we saw in the Act as an opportunity to increase climate action in the 36 states of the country.

As an organisation that has been working to enhance climate action in the Niger Delta, we are hoping that the Act will help to promote the work we have been doing to promote awareness, policy and action.

We are surprised and disappointed that the Federal Government is delaying action on the Act when the impact of climate change is driving more and more people into poverty in the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.

The CEDSI has worked with multiple partners to promote community action at the state level with a focus on the Niger Delta states. The recent establishment of the Rivers Network of NGOs (RINNGOS) has served as a strong platform for harnessing multiple partners and building capacity of NGOs in climate governance.

The CEDSI has been expecting the Federal Government to commence the implementation of the Act in order to leverage that to increase more awareness and stimulate action at the state level. In the meantime, CEDSI is continuing in its effort to work with other partners to push for the domestication of the Climate Change Act in Rivers State. We are working hard to engage the three arms of the River State Government in fighting climate change. We hope that the recent petition sent to the President will result in quick action on the Act.

CEDSI also wishes to thank the Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike, and Global Environmental and Climate Conservation Initiative (GECCI) for organising the recent awareness workshop for civil society leaders on the Climate Change Act for bringing in experts that provided detailed information on how the implementation of the Act can help Nigeria take a leadership role in fighting climate change in Africa.

By Mina Ogbanna, Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI)