Nigeria cannot finance climate action, Buhari says a year after making a net zero pledge

President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria lacked funds to urgently finance its energy transition and climate action program due to the debt crisis in the country.

This was revealed by the president, represented by the Minister of the Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, addressing the high-level part of the 27th edition of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt on Tuesday.

At COP26 in Glasgow last year, the minister announced Nigeria’s commitment to zero emissions by 2060 based on 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 needed to achieve development and climate ambitions by 2060.

“…However, urgently needed public finances are lacking to finance energy transitions and climate action, a situation exacerbated by the 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 dangers of tomorrow but what is happening today”. Nigeria is currently grappling with the devastating effects of terrible floods that have affected 3.2 million people, over 600 lives lost, over 100,000 people displaced and over 300 hectares of farmland destroyed.

“Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa, from the Sahara to the Cape, are living with a growing fear of food insecurity due to flooding,” the minister said.

Continuous efforts

Amidst all these challenges, the minister explained that the country is taking bold steps to pave the way for innovative climate finance instruments such as climate trade debt; and support the development of the African Carbon Market Initiative.

“In support of this, Nigeria has promulgated the Climate Change Act along with the initial governance framework and launched the Nigeria Emission Trading Scheme (ETS),” he added.

READ ALSO: Nigeria needs international support to reduce the effects of climate change – Buhari

Signaling investment readiness, the minister said Nigeria had made significant progress in creating enabling policies and incentives to advance a shortlist of priority projects, including independent renewable solar power plants (IPPs), scale-up projects decentralized renewable energy (DRE) and flare gas commercialization opportunities, to name a few.

“We hope investors in the global community recognize the immense investment opportunity and potential for impact,” he said.

“Loss and damage” financing in developing countries

This year, a major agenda proposed by developing countries, especially on the African continent, is ‘Loss and Damage Financing’, to help defenseless countries cope with the impacts of climate change they cannot adapt to. and where losses are permanent such as in the case of floods, disasters and sea level rise.

The minister said the economic cost of “losses and damages” to Africa is estimated at almost $2 trillion excluding non-economic losses and that developed nations must not ignore the call by developing nations to establish a loss and damage finance facility to help developing nations recover from the adverse effects of climate change, especially devastating floods, worsening desertification and rising sea levels.

As the largest economy in Africa, the minister said we are engaging the G7 to request Nigeria’s inclusion in the G7 climate partnership list for co-building a partnership for just energy transition.

“Nigeria and the rest of Africa are calling for an effective and sustainable framework that addresses the socio-economic impacts of the energy transition, including energy poverty, job losses and livelihoods,” he said.

He said: “Africa contributes about 3% of global emissions but is left to cope with the devastating impacts of climate change.”

He noted that Nigeria has led initiatives to reclaim degraded land for the Sahara and Sahel such as the Great Green Wall and that there is a dire need to expand existing adaptation acceleration programs for developing countries.

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