President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday declared that Nigeria aimed to achieve net-zero emission by 2060 through its Energy Transition Plan, as against the 2050 deadline set by the United Nations (UN). Buhari said this at the high-level segment for Heads of State and Government at the on-going 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Glasgow, Scotland.
This is just as American billionaire and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has commended Buhari’s leadership role in restoring degraded lands in the country.
President Buhari’s speech highlighted Nigeria’s key priorities and actions to tackle climate change as well as progress on the country’s transition to low carbon economy, consistent with achieving the Paris Climate Agreement.
He said, “Nigeria is committed to net zero by 2060.”
Buhari stated that $1.5 trillion would be required by Nigeria over a 10-year period to achieve an appreciable level of the national infrastructure stock.
The president told the audience of world leaders that Nigeria was more of a gas than an oil producing country. He said the country would need financial help to facilitate the transition to clean energy.
According to Buhari, “For Nigeria, climate change is not about the perils of tomorrow but about what is happening today. In our lifetime, nature has gone from a vast expanse of biodiversity to a shadow of itself.
“We are investing in renewables, hydro-dams and solar projects. Nigeria is not looking to make the same mistakes that are being repeated for decades by others.
“We are looking for partners in innovation, technology and finance to make cleaner and more efficient use of all available resources to help make for a more stable transition in energy markets.
“The revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) has additional priority sectors. Water and waste, nature-based solutions, adaptions and resilience, vulnerability assessment and a clean cooking gender and green jobs assessment.”
Buhari said Nigeria had developed a detailed energy transition plan and roadmap based on data and evidence.
He stated, “Our transition plan also highlights the key role that gas must play in transitioning our economy across sectors.
“The data and evidence show that Nigeria can continue to use gas until 2040 without distracting from the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“Nigeria has an approved national action plan on gender and climate change. This document incorporates priority areas of our economic recovery and growth plan and nationally determined contributions.
“The implementation strategy for this national action plan has been developed. In a bid to commit to transitional change through climate policy, the revised national policy on climate change was approved in June 2021.
“This will enable us to implement mitigation measures and also strengthen adaption towards a sustainable climate resilient development pathway in Nigeria.”
Buhari declared, “Attaining national and global climate change goal would require adequate and sustained technical and financial support to developing countries.”
According to him, in the area of energy access, Nigeria’s commitment to adjust transition is reflected in its ambitious energy compact, which includes the government’s flagship project to electrify five million households and 20 million people using decentralised solar energy solutions.
He said, “This is a major first step towards closing our energy access deficit by 2030…
“The outcome of this conference must result in a quick resolution of all outstanding issues pertaining to the finalisation of the Paris Agreement rule book, adaption, mitigation, finance and loss and damage.”
Buhari believed gas would be key in addressing the clean cooking challenge, which he said was also a challenge of deforestation, and “for giving our electric grid the stability and flexibility to integrate renewables at scale. Nigeria will need to integrate an unprecedented 7GW additional renewable capacity each year to achieve net-zero.’
On green projects in Nigeria, the president declared that federal government agencies had been directed to ensure the inclusion of projects with climate change elements in the budget.
“I am happy to state that the 2022 budget, which I recently submitted to our National Assembly, is the first cross-sectoral, gender and climate-responsive budget ever prepared in the annals of our history,” he said.
The president announced that the National Assembly had also passed the Climate Change Bill, which provides a framework for achieving low greenhouse gas emissions, inclusive green growth, and sustainable economic development.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, revealed Buhari’s thoughts during a meetings on improving global infrastructure, hosted by United States President Joe Biden, EU Commission President, Von Der Leyen, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at the on-going COP26.
Buhari invited the COP Leaders to see Nigeria as an investment haven saying, “Nigeria is ready for your investments in infrastructural development in the country.”
According to him, “My administration has established a clear legal and regulatory framework for private financing of infrastructure to establish a standard process, especially on the monitoring and evaluation process.
“We look forward to working with you in this regard.”
Buhari declared that his administration prioritised infrastructure expansion.
He stated, “There is a nexus between infrastructural development and the overall economic development of a nation. My administration identified this early enough as a major enabler of sustainable economic development and the realisation of other continental and global development aspirations, particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.”
The president said on his assumption of office in 2015, Nigeria faced a huge infrastructure problem and the total National Infrastructure Stock was estimated at 35 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). To tackle the infrastructure deficit, he said his government embarked on a massive infrastructure expansion programme focusing on health care, education, transportation, manufacturing, energy, housing, agriculture, and water resources.
“We provided more financial resources for these policies, charted new international partnerships and pursued liberalisation policies to allow private sector participation,” he said.
“We introduced the revised National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan – a policy document that ensures our infrastructure expansion projects is cross-sectorally integrated and environmentally friendly,” Buhari added.
He welcomed the G7 countries for their plan to mobilise hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure investment for low – and middle-income countries.
The president said “Build Back Better World” plan, an initiative of the G7 countries, was expected to be a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership.
“It is our fervent hope and expectation that this plan will be pursued to its logical conclusion in order to bridge the infrastructural gap between the North and South,” he said.
Buhari also outlined the principles, values and standards Nigeria would like to see from infrastructure initiatives and the challenges the country had faced in partnering with donors on infrastructure development.
He said, “The aim of pursuing quality infrastructure investment is to maximise the positive economic, environmental, social, and development impact of infrastructure and create a virtuous circle of economic activities, while ensuring sound public finances.
“This virtuous circle can take various forms in stimulating the economy.”
The president added, “Domestic resource mobilisation is critical to addressing the infrastructure financing gap. Assistance for capacity building, including for project preparation, should be provided to developing countries with the participation of international organisations.”
Meanwhile, Bezos pointed out that Buhari’s commitment to restore four million hectares was exemplary.
Speaking during a side event that had French President Emmanuel Macron, Prince Charles and the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani at the ongoing COP26 on Monday, the the Amazon founder said: ‘‘We are fortunate to have President Buhari of Nigeria with us today.
‘‘Nigeria plays a critical role in the restoration movement and has pledged to restore 4 million hectares of degraded lands.
‘‘This kind of ambition coming from Africa’s largest economy underscores just how vital this issue is.’’
The Bezos Earth Fund has a 10 billion dollar fund to allocate money to projects fighting climate change.
Chiemelie Ezeobi in Glasgow and Deji Elumoye in Abuja