BY ABUBAKAR A. NUHU-KOKO
Abubakar A. Nuhu-Koko, a researcher in petroleum policy and economics, is founder and pioneer executive director, The Shehu Shagari World Institute for Leadership and Good Governance, Sokoto, Nigeria. He can be reached on +234 706 330 6887 or email@example.com
This year’s annual Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was hosted by the Egyptian Government at the tourists’ city of Sharm el-Sheikh from November 6–18, 2022. As usual, Nigeria joined the around 200 nations that participated in the Conference as it had been doing in the past twenty six (26) years.
This year’s conference dubbed as Africa’s COP by the host Egyptian government focused on at least five fundamental international climate change policy issue areas identified as:
1) Stronger commitments to all the agreements reached at the previous COPs; especially since the 2015 Paris Agreement and the new updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs), under the Paris Agreement.
2) Loss and damage funding mechanism and framework for the unavoidable consequences of climate change, such as the loss of people’s lives due to extreme weather events or the disappearance of coastal communities due to sea-level rise.
3) Adaptation funding promises fulfillment from the global north including installing early-warning systems for extreme weather events, building heat shelters, and using drought-resistant seeds beyond financing toward mitigation, or efforts to reduce emissions.
4) Climate finance fulfillment agreed upon over a decade ago. The global north of wealthy nations pledged to mobilize $100 billion per year starting in 2020 to help poorer countries reduce emissions and adapt to the worsening effects of climate change. But so far, they’ve only raised about $90 billion altogether.
5) Last but by no means the least, Private-sector commitments to do more by joining the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) and fulfill their pledges to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
This year’s Nigeria’s participation in the COP27 was downgraded from Presidential to Ministerial national official delegation; Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) did not attend the Summit and instead of making Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to head the Nigerian national delegation to the Summit, he assigned the Minister of Environment to head the Nigerian national delegation. This singular act was a major blow to Nigeria’s preeminent position as Africa’s continental leader in the negotiations at the Summit. Hence, the absence of PMB at the Summit at the time that several world leaders including President Biden, his Climate Change Czar John Kerry and the former US Vice President Al Gore were all physically at the Summit speaks volumes about Nigeria’s priorities on issues of climate change and its associated crises.
One is tempted to ask the fundamental question of what then is the rationale for crafting the Nigerian energy transition plan (NETP) that was rushed to Washington D.C. and marketed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo some months ago if the same person cannot repeat the same chore at a global gathering with about 200 countries in attendance? The answer to this question should provide the nation with a clear explanation of the inner thinking of public policymakers, bureaucrats and technocrats that drive Nigeria’s international development policy making in the global arena!
The NETP was designed by bureaucrats, technocrats and private consultants and funded by development partners and approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) without the inputs from the Nigerian public whom the various provisions of the plan are going to impact either positively or negatively as the case may be. Furthermore, the NETP was not subjected to public debates or scrutiny, not even at the levels of the National Economic Council (NEC) and the National Assembly. The NETP was initially seeking $410 billion for its implementation; $10 billion per annum until 2060! However, this figure has been revised upward to $1.9 trillion up to 2060 to be implemented; and that raises the question: where will the funding come from? It is left to be seen if Nigeria can attract such funding from the international climate change financing mechanisms put in place; including the loss and damage financing mechanism agreed upon at the just concluded COP27 at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Similarly, the Climate Change Act (2021) was rushed through the National Assembly and passed expeditiously and signed into law by President Buhari on November 18, 2021 without inputs by the NEC and critical stakeholders such as non-state actors. Hence, several months afterwards, President Buhari voiced his observations on some noticeable implementation lapses contained in the Climate Change Act (2021) during the inauguration of the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) on September 28, 2022 where he directed the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in conjunction with the Minister of Environment to initiate appropriate amendments of “noticeable implementation challenges” inherent in the Act.
Thus, the performance of Nigeria in this year’s concluded COP27 global Climate Summit was lackluster to put it very mildly. For instance, due to the absence of President Buhari or his Vice President at the summit, Nigeria’s presence was not visible enough to attract the attention of key players that attended the summit. Therefore, it is doubtful if the outing at COP27 generated any significant international attraction on the NETP which the Nigerian delegation showcased at the summit. Furthermore, even the Nigerian public at home were not even fully informed of what Nigeria’s updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs) for this year’s summit are nor the specific objectives or agenda the country was to pursue at the negotiation tables.
Nigeria is among the countries across the world that were tremendously affected by this year’s flooding that led to the deaths of over 600 persons and several livestock, damaged homes, settlements and properties and food crops that were not harvested were submerged by the surging floods in 27 States of the federation. The United Nations (UN) made $10.5 million to Nigeria as emergency relief aid for this year’s flood disaster. Similarly, Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group of Industries and Abdulsamad Isyaku Rabiu, Chairman of BUA international Industries Limited raised the sum of N1 billion for the Jigawa State flood victims. Against this backdrop, the Nigerian delegation at the summit should have played a major role in the negotiations for the creation of the lost and damages fund that became the biggest breakthrough and takeaway of the summit at its final hours of conclusion and closing.
Nigeria is thus on a slippery slope journey in the global energy transition as it lacked an all-inclusive, integrated and well-coordinated national institutional framework for the implementation of its energy transition action plan. Therefore, to avoid chaotic and uncoordinated implementation of the plan, there is the need to mainstream all the relevant key stakeholders in the transition implementation framework. For instance, the new statutory institutional structures in-built into the Petroleum Industry Act (2021), and those established under the recently enacted Climate Change Act (2021) and the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) have great roles to play if the energy transition plan implementation is to have a smooth sail.
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