Nigeria to Achieve Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 – Finance Minister

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed with Mr Andrea Schaal, Director of Global Relations Secretariat at the OECD during a bilateral lunch meeting in Cairo, Egypt

By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has revealed that the federal government has put in place strategies aimed at reducing the present carbon emissions in country by 50 percent in 2050.

Mrs Ahmed who revealed this at the just-concluded International Cooperation Forum: Engaging for Impact held in Cairo, Egypt said on the long run  the country “is moving towards having net-zero emissions across all sectors of its development in a gender-responsive manner.”

Speaking as a discussant on the topic, “Climate Action in a Post Covid-19 Context: A Two Fold Challenge”, the Minister pointed out that Climate Action is a priority for Nigeria.

According to her, the country’s long-term low emission development strategy is to ensure that “By 2050, Nigeria is a country of low-carbon, climate-resilient, high growth circular economy that reduces its current level of emissions by 50% and is moving towards having net-zero emissions across all sectors of its development in a gender-responsive manner.”

The Minister who pointed out that in the Middle East, African (MEA) Region, climate action plans are crucial to maintain economic growth and development, stressed that the adaptation to climate action is hampered by numerous challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to her, the pandemic “has placed increased strains on MEA countries, testing their social, economic, and environmental resilience, as well as further exacerbating pre-existing challenges of pollution, increased climate risks, water scarcity and migration”.

The primary objective of the sessions was to address the twofold challenge of climate change mitigation and pandemic recovery efforts in developing countries, especially in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Mrs Ahmed also disclosed that even before COVID-19 Nigeria was leading and ensuring integration of climate action related interventions into sustainable development plans, particularly in the area of sustainable/green financing Green Bonds were amongst the key initiatives under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020) strategy focused on ensuring “targeted action to address environmental priorities.”

In a bid to further curb carbon emissions the Minister disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in December 2018, officially launched the Green Bonds Issuance Rules following an comprehensive stakeholder engagement process. 

“The Rules will help ensure the appropriate regulatory framework for Green Bond Issuance, and will facilitate closure of the country’s infrastructure gap through sustainable finance investments.

Nigeria was amongst the first countries to join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action in 2019, recognizing the need to catalyze collective action on climate change.

“We have affirmed our commitments to climate action through the implementation of existing plans, and in the commitments captured in our successor medium and long term national development plans; the recently updated National Climate Change Policy (2021-2030); and our enhanced commitments to the Paris accord as captured in the country’s 2021 NDC”.

“Recognizing an important emerging area at the intersection of gender and climate, our Federal Executive Council in 2020 approved the National Action Plan on Gender and Climate. In keeping with our commitment in this area the country’s 2021 NDC aims to “mainstream gender across all sectors”

“To succeed in implementing policies and programmes aimed at addressing climate issues and ensuring sustainable practices, we must employ a whole of government and a multi-stakeholder approach – it is critical to galvanize the private sector to include climate action in their corporate agenda.

“While Nigeria joins other countries in the region and in the world in advocating and working towards greener and more resilient energy, we again use this opportunity to emphasize the importance of a fair transition that takes into account the varying costs of transitioning (with countries in the Africa region baring a much higher cost) Achieving sustainability and ensuring climate action requires enormous funding – sustainability is a key disrupting force calling for changes in business models that have high switching costs and barriers”.

She stated goals the Federal government has put in policies and Programmes aimed at Climate Action and promoting  the transition to low carbon climate resilient economy Sovereign Green Bonds, the Minister averred stressing that Nigeria is the first African nation to have issued a sovereign green bond and in the process of its third issuance.

In her words: “In 2017 and 2019, two Green Bonds were issued for N10.69 billion and N15 billion respectively. The proceeds of the Green Bonds are used to finance projects that contribute to Nigeria’s nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Specific projects include Off-Grid Solar and Wind Farm, Irrigation, Afforestation and Reforestation, as well as, Ecological Restoration. 

“Nigeria’s updated National Determined Contribution (NDC) document submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on July 2, 2021 affirms our pledge towards low carbon development by 2030 as captured in the Paris accord.

“The 2021 NDC includes stronger and more ambitious targets than in our 2015 NDC – it includes emissions reductions from the water resources sector for the first time and increases our conditional contribution. The 2021 NDC has an unconditional contribution of reducing carbon emissions by 20 per cent below business-as-usual by 2030, while it increases the country’s conditional target to 47 per cent as against the 45 per cent captured in the 2015 NDC.

“The main goal of this Action Plan is to ensure that national climate change efforts in Nigeria mainstream gender considerations so that women, men, youth and other vulnerable groups can have access to, participate in, contribute to and hence optimally benefit from climate change initiatives, programs, [and] policies.”

She further revealed that Energy target is for Renewables to account 30% of generation by 2030, adding that Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has a gas commercialization master plan to reduce flares, as the country is looking to transit from hydrocarbon dependence.  

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