Experts Present Guidelines To Tackle Climate Change And Economic Growth

By Bukar Bolori

Experts in environmental field have come out with key policy steps to address the threat of climatic changes and launch the country into a new era of industrial development and economic growth.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the leader of the group (Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), a non-partisan organisation devoted to sustainable policy research, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, said after months of research, the group has unraveled 11 key steps and decisions that if taken in the next five years, there would be a socio-economic transformation required to enable Nigeria to meet the government’s 2060 net zero carbon emissions mission target.

Okereke, who is an internationally recognized scholar, flanked at the press conference by Executive Director, Society for Planet and Prosperity, Oghenemere Orugbo and CEO, GCA Capital Partners, Obi Ugochukwu, recalled that at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26), Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari committed to achieving net zero by 2060, which would be in line with the Climate Change Act and Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, released in August 2022 and was developed to serve as the pathway toward achieving the 2060 net zero target. He noted that Nigeria has also launched a long-term vision for 2050, which is expected to inform the development of its Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy.

He said riding on the shoulder of Mr. President’s announcement at COP26, the Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP) a non-partisan organisation devoted to sustainable policy research on the 28th of July 2022 launched the project “Nigeria: Top 10 Net zero Measures” with funding from the European Climate Foundation (ECF), disclosing that the Top 10 measures were later developed into 11 measures after critical examination by experts.

He said: “The main aim of the project was to map 11 key steps and decisions that if taken in the next 5 years will underpin a socio-economic transformation required to enable Nigeria to meet the government’s 2060 net zero target, the project was also aimed at presenting these steps and decisions in a format that is accessible to a wider public through communication materials that can stimulate and inform a wider public debate, involving civil societies and policymakers.”

He revealed that: “In selecting the top 11 measures, the Society for planet and prosperity engaged with senior experts from the government, the private sector, trade unions, civil society organisations, academia and think tanks, the media, and international development partners. They were invited to discuss and assess the benefits of successful implementation of each measure against four criteria, which are deemed to fairly represent the breadth of the development challenges facing the country.”

He said according to the report, prioritized measures that if implemented jointly over the next five years would significantly positively impact the ability of Nigeria to embark on a low-emission development pathway to a net-zero emission future are; (1) A strong focus on generating renewable electricity both on and off-grid (minimum of 30% of on-grid electricity from renewables), (2) Elimination of diesel and gasoline generators for electricity generation by 2030. (3) Plant 300 million trees [this decade] and promote Agro-forestry, reforestation and afforestation, including community-based forest management and recovery. (4) End (associated) gas flaring by 2030 (5) Reduce wood cooking from the current 72% of the population to 20% of the population by 2030 / introducing clean cooking into 30 million households (6) Embark on the construction of 300,000 green homes in the next 12 months and 1.5 million over the next 5 years (7) A modal shift in transport by realizing a shift of passengers to Bus Rapid Transport (BRT); backed up by enforcement of emissions standards in vehicles. (8) End landfilling of untreated waste and transit into properly designed and managed landfills with state-of-the-art gas collection (9) Increase the amount of irrigated land (ha) using renewable energy for pumping from 24.35% to 100% (and associated increase use of off-grid power in communities)

(10) Consistent economy-wide Energy Efficiency improvements (-50% from 2015 baseline) Examples are reducing electricity transmission losses and replacing 4 million incandescent bulbs with Tubular Fluorescent Lamps (TFLs) or Light-emitting Diode (LEDs), equipment standards.

(11) Landscape-scale restoration and recharging of the Lake Chad basin.”

He revealed that: “A rough calculation indicates that the eleven measures could result in an emission reduction of about 174.01 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent by 2030 similar to the fossil emission of Algeria or Iraq in 2021.”

He said: “Therefore, it is very important to note that the total implementation of all the measures in this report will facilitate the achievement of Net zero by 2060 as pronounced by Mr. President at COP26.”

Okereke lamented that Nigeria is facing existential threat due to climate change, insisting that something urgently needed to be done to avert and stimulate the nation’s economy as the world is fast moving from fossil fuel.

He said the nation is presently at two extremes, the need to control climate change and build the economy and safeguard Nigeria over dependence of oil revenue, insisting that this must be top priority for the incoming administration.

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