Nigeria’s Minister of State for Environment and Ecological Management, Ishaq Salako, has said the administration of President Bola Tinubu is targeting to provide 30 million “green jobs” to Nigerians in its Energy Transition Plans.
The Minister, who represented Mr Tinubu at the just concluded Africa Climate Summit in Kenya, disclosed this on Wednesday while interacting with journalists on the sidelines of the event.
“More importantly, we are doing initiative to transit from the use of firewood and coal to the use of Natural gas and more environmentally friendly sources of energy and we target to address about 30 million Nigerians in doing that,” he said.
The Minister said the government will ensure that everyone is carried along to ensure energy equity so that Nigerians irrespective of their social economic class are carried along in the plans.
Africa Climate Summit
Between 4 to 6 September, African leaders met in Kenya to advance conversation on how Africa can achieve green growth and sustainable climate financing to curtail the devastating effect of climate change.
The three-day extensive deliberation concluded with the African leaders adopting the Nairobi Declaration and a $23 billion climate commitment to promote green growth, adaptation and mitigation efforts across Africa.
During the Presidential Day of the Summit, Mr Salako delivered Nigeria’s commitments on behalf of Mr Tinubu to African leaders and global delegates at the summit.
In his speech, he told the leaders that Africa’s most populous country would require $17.7 billion annually to achieve its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) unconditional pledges by 2030.
“…the unconditional target in our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) requires $17.7 billion in investments annually,” the minister, who represented Mr Tinubu, said.
Asked if he thinks Nigeria would benefit from the $23 billion commitment at the summit, the Minister said Nigeria would likely have its fair share of the funds when disbursed.
“You know Nigeria is the giant of Africa. If you deny Nigeria of anything, you are denying 20 per cent of the black population in the world,” he said.
Mr Salako said there was no way anything would come to Africa and Nigeria would not have its fair share of it, adding that negotiations on how to access the funds are still ongoing.
He said a core component of Mr Tinubu’s agenda is job creation and the government is willing to leverage the clean energy component to create green jobs.
The minister said the removal of fuel subsidy as announced by Mr Tinubu is not an economic decision, but a survival decision.
“From the declaration, the whole of Africa has agreed that subsidising fossil fuel is not what we should continue to encourage. What we need to do is to see how we can transition from using such climate-hazardous sources of energy to more friendly sources,” Mr Salako said.
“If you look at our data, between May and June when the president announced the removal of subsidy, our consumption of fossil fuel dropped by almost 28 per cent.”
This, Mr Salako said, if quantified, would show that the country has reduced the emissions affecting the climate in Nigeria.
He said the development has made the government consider more environmentally friendly sources of energy, which is why it is considering compressed natural Gas as an alternative source of clean energy in the country.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES at the summit, Director General of the Nigeria Council on Climate Change, Salisu Dahiru, said that government officials came to the summit to see how to attract more investment into the country.
“We are making these moves in two major areas. The first is looking at opportunities to attract investment inflow for capital projects,” he said. Adding that a large chunk of the efforts is coming in anticipation of what will be coming under Article (6)—the Internationally transferred mitigation options of the Paris Agreement.
He noted that it would provide opportunities for carbon trading and many project developers across the globe are looking at Africa, particularly Nigeria as an opportunity hub for investment.
Mr Dahiru said the government is also taking another bold step with the climate change legislation which only three countries including Nigeria have done across the continent.
The legislation has given comfort to investors, practitioners and project developers to emerge in Nigeria and Africa.
At the Summit, the NCCC boss said Nigeria is looking inwards to raise capital for investment that would earn carbon credits.
Climate Change Legislation
A Professor and the Director General of the National Institute for Legislative & Democratic Studies (NILDS), Abubakar Sulaiman, emphasised the need for effective climate legislation across countries in Africa.
“I think with this summit, people will go back home and perhaps get their parliamentarians seated to look at the critical areas of oversight and critical areas of poor representation and even go back to their various constituencies to embark on advocacy on how to preserve their environment,” he said in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES.
Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE)
Another Nigerian delegate at the summit and Nigeria’s National ACE Focal Point for the United Nations, Saadatu Madaki, highlighted critical efforts being made by the Nigerian government to promote and upscale climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in the country.
She listed the clean cooking stoves initiative, the Energy Transition Programme (ETP), Green bonds and the rural community engagement programme among several others as a part of Climate empowerment initiatives being adopted in the country.
Although she said the government faced some challenges, she called for a need for more engagement and financial investment from the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).
The ACE is a term adopted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to denote work under Article 6 of the Convention and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement.
The goal of the ACE is to empower all members of society to engage in climate action, through education and public awareness, training, public participation and access to information, and international cooperation on these issues.
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