• Tinubu, others head to Dubai as stakeholders demand results
Nigeria and other African countries, especially those with fossil fuel-backed economies trooping to the United Arab Emirates for the 28th Conference of Parties may need to present a united front that would address the gaps in the global push for net-zero amidst rising geopolitical tension and an unjust transition to clean energy.
While Nigeria and other African countries are set to lose over 6.7 trillion hydrocarbon deposits to climate change, Africa accounts for 70 per cent of the global reserves of platinum, 52 per cent of cobalt and 48 per cent of manganese but the refining and the jobs in the renewable energy sector are controlled by Europe, America and Asia even as only two per cent of the current $3 trillion of global investments in renewable energy in the past two decades come to Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
Besides, top on the agenda at the 13-day summit is fossil fuels and carbon emissions. International funding to help countries adapt to climate change will also be debated as developing countries have been demanding more funding from the industrialised nations.
Many low- and middle-income developing nations in Africa are negotiating for possibilities to increase their output of fossil fuels in order to industrialize, with the goal of reinvesting the proceeds in renewable energy sources.
According to the argument, African nations should be given the opportunity to accelerate their own development and supply energy to the millions of people who lack it on the continent by using the same fuels—especially gas, which some believe to be less polluting—just as developed nations did by burning fossil fuels to build factories and generate wealth for future generations.
With President Bola Tinubu, almost half of his cabinet members, including the ministers in charge of petroleum and power, key government officials and other major players across sectors in Nigeria already in UAE as climate induced challenges undermine Nigeria’s economy, stakeholders yesterday insisted that unless Nigeria and other African countries present a compelling argument, prevailing challenges may persist.
The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) is expected to open with Heads of State or Government, UN diplomats and politicians alike calling for more action – and ambition – to set out new commitments for curbing greenhouse emissions and adapting to the impacts of a warming planet.
An ambitious loss and damages fund agreed last year to support poorer nations to help manage the negative effects of climate change is yet to become a reality that helps deliver climate justice. World leaders agreed to the fund after COP27 last year, but they have failed to reach consensus on the modalities.
Over a century of fossil fuels burning and unsustainable energy and land use has already led to a global warming of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. Every increment of warming is likely to exacerbate the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events such as heat waves, flooding, storms and irreversible climate changes.
Energy economist at the University of Ibadan, Prof. Adeola Adenikinju said development, employment, poverty reduction, and human capital development, as well as the use of domestic energy resources endowment in a transitional mode towards net zero emissions are more critical for Nigeria and should remain a major focus for the continent.
“It is true that Africa can not ignore the global consensus on energy transition, as well as the manifest effect of climate change across the continent, yet it must remind the world that she is suffering the consequences of the development path of the advanced economies,” Adenikinju said.
According to him, Nigeria must be supported in its energy transition pathway, as well as allow a longer time to achieve the net zero emissions economy.
Rising heatwaves, projected to maintain worsening temperatures, flooding, drought and rising sea level are already threatening homes and pushing many into poverty in Nigeria even as Nigeria is expected to record about $460 billion loss yearly to climate change by 2050.
Senior Officer at the Natural Resources Governance Institute, Tengi George-Okoli noted Nigeria should present to the world a bankable climate change plan that can attract necessary funding.
Her suggestion also includes the need for sub-national government, especially within the oil region to present a pathway that can threaten them against the looming challenges from climate change.
George-Okoli said while the environmental issue in the region has been existing, climate change creates urgency in dealing with the issue.
She also advised the states to devise stronger economic measures as declining revenue from fossil fuel sources may drastically affect the states.
Nigeria had pledged an unconditional contribution of 20 per cent below business-as-usual by 2030 and a 47 per cent contribution conditional on international support to its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which are the core of the Paris Agreement.
Finance and energy expert, Ademola Adigun said Nigeria must use the 28th COP to get the best deal based on the country’s resources and national determined contributions.
Adigun said Africa must ensure they have a voice at the conference and must obtain funding for transition.
Executive Director of Green Growth Africa, Dr. Adedoyin Adeleke said the effort to decarbonize the global economy is changing skill-industry relevance, hence, sectors and industries that have hitherto been the main drivers of the global economy are losing relevance.
According to him, the most important for Nigeria, Africa and developing countries in general is to leverage industries that have not been prominent but are now gaining accelerated prominence.
“Nigeria and other developing nations need to advocate delivery of the $500 billion yearly concessional finance, address the financial divide, global carbon taxation, and a new financing architecture responsive to Africa’s needs.
“Such funds should be invested in climate action initiatives that also increase social and economic capital as part of the transition to green growth,” Adedoyin said.
He disclosed that growing green and not just going green, Nigeria and other African countries should negotiate for climate action that meets the development needs of the country and the Africa region.
According to him, decarbonising the global economy is an opportunity for social equity and prosperity for all, and especially Africa, adding that Nigeria must insist on the implementation of the urgent call from the Nairobi Declaration.
“Moreover, Nigeria and Africa should advocate for global cooperation to jointly and simultaneously address climate and nature crises. In the past decade, oceans, plants, animals, and soil, mitigating global warming, absorbed 54 per cent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, safeguarding ecosystems, like wetlands and coral reefs, is crucial. Conserving 30-50 per cent of Earth’s land, freshwater, and oceans is vital for biodiversity,” Adeleke said.
Energy scholar, Prof. Wunmi Iledare said as oil and gas producing countries, advancing petroleum, as an important component of global energy supply security remained a good strategy that must be pursued at the conference without denying climate change phenomenon.
“Advances in technology to cut emissions without reducing energy supply is doable and it is ongoing in the oil and gas industry.
“Carbon capture technology development is taking shape, investment in renewables are also in progress, energy evolution is usually more dynamic than static,” he noted.
Iledare said the conference must echo the fact that renewable energy technology sustainability is still stochastic and evolving and defunding petroleum development prematurely may create economic insecurity and energy in very many sovereign states.
According to him, there’re lessons to learn from Covid-19 and its consequences worldwide, adding that the mantra for a just energy transition strategy portrays no homogeneous target date for nor speed to net-zero emissions across the global regions.
UN Secretary General António Guterres, who has issued warnings on different fora, noted: “Humanity has opened the gates of hell. Horrendous heat is having a horrendous effect. Almost half of the world’s population lives in regions highly vulnerable to climate change.
“Specifically, COP28 is expected to be a turning point, where countries not only agree on stronger climate actions, but how to deliver them. It will also be measuring the progress towards achieving the Paris goals on mitigation, adaptation and climate finance and adapting existing plans is a key part of the puzzle, and this is why COP28 assumes more significance.”
Regrettably, the Catholic pontiff would not attend the event.
Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni, in a statement, said: “Although the Holy Father’s general clinical picture has improved with regard to his flu-like condition and inflammation of the respiratory tract, doctors have asked the Pope not to make the trip planned for the coming days to Dubai.
“Pope Francis accepted the doctors’ request with great regret and the trip was therefore cancelled.”
Nigeria is to advocate increased financial and technical support for developing nations, while reminding developed countries of their pledge to provide $100 billion yearly support to localise initiatives to address climate change-related challenges.
The delegation, led by President Bola Tinubu, would also establish newer and deeper partnerships to implement the country’s energy transition, Article 6 projects, Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs), technology transfer, capacity building and methane mitigation.
Besides, President, African Development Bank Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, who spoke on Tuesday at The Guardian 40th anniversary lecture in Lagos, said the lender had launched a $25 billion African Adaptation Acceleration Programme to deliver greater financing for climate adaptation on the continent and amplify its voice and needs.
It had also insured 15 nations against extreme weather patterns through a $1 billion Africa Climate Risk Insurance Facility for Adaptation (ACRIFA).
“Climate change is devastating many parts of Africa. Drought and desertification across the Sahel, and in the Horn of Africa, and cyclones in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Madagascar, have had devastating effects. Africa’s wealth is being lost at a frenetic pace to climate change, with $7-15 billion in yearly losses. This is estimated to rise to $50 billion a year by 2030.
“While the developed world grew their economies, created massive wealth, jobs and raised living standards from the industrial revolution, they did so at the expense of the global common, the environment, by using 85 per cent of the global carbon budget,” he said.
According to him, Africa’s carbon emissions are dwarfed by the emissions of other continents. To put it in perspective, an average American or Australian emits as much CO2 in a month as an individual in Africa does in one year.
Adesina stated that global finance for climate is short-changing Africa, providing only $29 billion of the $653 billion in climate finance globally, adding, “Africa will gain respect when it can provide universal electricity access to all its people and drop the garb of being known as the ‘dark continent’.”