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COP27 and Nigeria’s energy transition plan

The Federal Government’s plan to obtain $400 billion funding to execute its energy transition plan is encouraging. This was disclosed by the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, during the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Nigeria’s energy transition plan, the minister says, “is aligned to ensure that we get the requisite funding for smooth transition to renewables, without which it will be difficult to deploy infrastructure to support our mini-grid, deployment of solar and support bio-fuel.”

According to the minister, “African countries and developing nations understand that funding is important in whatever position COP27 will take.” It is also cheering that the United Kingdom (UK) has pledged to assist African countries to fight the effects of climate change by boosting African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Climate Change Window with £200million.

Expectedly, the fund will enable the vulnerable countries check the impacts of climate change like severe drought in Eastern Africa and floods in South Sudan and Nigeria. The Foreign Secretary of UK, James Cleverly, who disclosed this at COP27, observed that “lack of access to climate finance for the world’s poorest countries was a central focus at COP26 in Glasgow.”

Specifically, Nigeria will benefit from UK’s £95 million investment on climate resilient and sustainable agriculture in Nigeria. At least, four million Nigerians, including two million women will benefit from the fund, which will enhance their agricultural productivity, adapt to the effects of climate change and reduce emissions.

According to a report commissioned by the current and previous COP hosts, Britain and Egypt, it has been estimated that developing countries would need $1trillion annually in external financing for climate action by 2030 in addition to their own funds. The funding is expected to reduce emissions, boost resilience and deal with damage from climate change and restore nature and land. Currently, investment in climate change stands at about $500 million.

It is commendable that Nigeria is making plans for its energy transition from dependence on fossil fuels to renewable and bio-fuel. The developed nations, which contribute so much to global warming, must be willing and committed in assisting Nigeria and other developing nations in Africa and Asia attain their energy transition programmes.

It is sad that African countries, which contribute so little to climate change, now suffer more from its impacts. The rising drought in Eastern Africa and flooding in South Sudan and Nigeria are some of the impacts of climate change that must be urgently addressed.

At Glasgow climate summit or COP26, world leaders agreed to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees and build a secure and sustainable future. Beyond the annual conferences on climate change by world leaders, there is need for commitment to energy transition programmes of many developing countries. While developed nations may have the means to transit to renewable and clean energy, the same cannot be said of developing nations. The energy transition plan of many developing countries, including Nigeria, may take up to 50 years or even more to achieve. For Nigeria and others that have fossil fuel in abundance, the transition plan must include the use of fossil fuel and renewable energy until such a time the transition will be concluded.

However, with the continued flaring of gas in Nigeria by international oil companies, this promise to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees is being observed in the breach. With our annual deadly perennial flooding and desert encroachment in the North, we must wake up to the rising challenges of climate change and begin to work now to limit its impacts.

Aggressive afforestation programmes and the implementation of the Great Green Wall initiative in the Sahel region must be vigorously pursued. More dams should be built to check the ugly effects of flooding, especially the type witnessed recently.

Nigeria must work hard to attain the net zero gas flaring by 2060 as promised by the government at COP26 in Glasgow. The oil companies should henceforth commercialise our gas resources instead of flaring them. Since Nigeria has abundant sunshine all the year round, there is urgent need for massive investment in solar energy and other sources of clean and sustainable energy. It is imperative that the next administration should prioritise the energy sector and meet the power needs of Nigerians.

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