President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria lacks funding to urgently finance its energy transition and climate action agenda due to debt distress in the country.
The president, who was represented by the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, disclosed this while addressing the high-level segment of the 27th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt on Tuesday.
At COP26 in Glasgow last year, the minister announced Nigeria’s commitment to net-zero by 2060 on the basis of a detailed Energy Transition Plan (ETP).
He described the plan as the first of its kind in Africa and that it highlights the significant scale of resources required to attain both development and climate ambitions by 2060.
“…However, the public finance urgently needed to fund energy transitions and climate action is lacking – a situation compounded by debt distress affecting many low- and middle-income countries,” he said.
The minister recalled that at COP26 last year President Buhari had said: “For Nigeria, climate change is not about the perils of tomorrow but what is happening today.” Nigeria is currently grappling with devastating effects of terrible flooding which has affected 3.2 million persons, over 600 lives lost, over 100,000 persons displaced and over 300 hectares of farmlands destroyed.
“Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa, from the Sahara to the Cape, is living with increasing fear of food insecurity as a result of the floods,” the minister said.
Amidst all of these challenges, the minister explained that the country is taking bold steps to pioneer innovative climate finance instruments such as debt for climate swaps; and championing the development of the African carbon market initiative.
“In support of this, Nigeria has enacted the climate change law alongside the initial governance framework and launched the Nigeria Emission Trading Scheme (ETS),” he added.
To signal investment readiness, the minister said Nigeria has made significant progress in creating the enabling policies and incentives to advance a shortlist of priority projects, including Renewable Solar Independent Power Plants (IPPs), scaled Decentralised Renewable Energy (DRE) projects and gas flare commercialization opportunities, to name a few.
“We are hopeful that investors in the global community will recognize the immense investment opportunities and potential for impact,” he said.
“Loss and damage” financing in developing countries
This year, a major agenda being put forward by developing countries, mostly on the African continent, is the “loss and damage finance,” to assist helpless countries to cope with the impacts of climate change that cannot be adapted to, and where losses are permanent as in the case of floods, disaster and sea level rise.
The minister said the economic cost of “Loss and Damage” for Africa is estimated at almost $2 trillion excluding non-economic losses, and that developed nations must not ignore the demand from developing nations to establish a Loss and Damage finance facility to help developing nations recover from the adverse effects of climate change, particularly the devastating floods, worsening desertification, and rising sea levels.
As the largest economy in Africa, the minister said we are engaging the G7 to request the inclusion of Nigeria in the G7’s Climate Partnerships List for the co-creation of a Just Energy Transition Partnership.
“Nigeria and the rest of Africa, call for an effective and sustainable framework that will address the socio-economic effects of energy transition including energy poverty, loss of jobs and livelihoods,” he said.
He said: “Africa contributes about 3 per cent to the global emissions but is left to cope with the devastating impacts of climate change.”
He noted that Nigeria has spearheaded initiatives aimed at recovering degraded land for the Sahara and the Sahel such as the Great Green Wall and that there is a dire need to expand existing adaptation acceleration programmes for developing countries.
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