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The role of parliament in driving Nigeria’s long-term climate goals, By Chukwumerije Okereke

…the Nigerian Parliament, like other parliaments, has a huge role to play in ensuring that the country meets its long-term climate ambitions. However, the path ahead demands more than legislative frameworks and oversight. It calls for a paradigm shift in how Nigerian MPs perceive their role in climate action. The urgent need for education and technical support for these MPs cannot be overstated. Their enlightenment is crucial for Nigeria to not just meet but exceed its climate ambitions.

Between 23 and 27 March, the 148th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was held in Geneva, Switzerland. The IPU, founded in 1889, is the world’s oldest parliamentary body, predating even the United Nations. It has 180 members, 14 associate members, and six geopolitical groups (Africa Group, Arab Group, Eurasia Group, Asia-Pacific Group, Group of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Twelve Plus Group). The IPU, which focuses on advocating for parliamentary actions for the global good, has recently begun to use its vast platform to address climate change issues, particularly the role that parliaments can play in addressing climate change.

Indeed, parliaments are central to the achievement of not only the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and associated climate change resolutions and targets. Aware of this, the UN Convention on Climate Change approved the formation of the Parliamentary Group as one of the Informal Groups of the Convention, with the Parliamentary Group bringing together Members of Parliaments and Parliamentary networks since COP26 in Glasgow, to ensure the greater and more impactful participation of MPs, first in the COP processes, and also in their own respective constituencies.

The important roles of parliaments in driving climate action are framed by their constitutional duties of representation, legislation, and oversight. MPs, as representatives of the people, are best positioned to communicate with their constituents and advocate for their needs to the government.

As the world grapples with climate change, parliamentarians have continued to play a critical role in driving climate action. For example, parliaments have passed legislation to guarantee that countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The first of such was the Climate Change Law of the United Kingdom of 2008. Subsequently, several other countries, including Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, etc., have enacted their own climate change laws. All of these laws have one thing in common: each parliament’s focus has always been on the country’s unique peculiarities and approaches to meeting its climate change obligations. Thus, for high-emitting countries, the focus has been on mitigation, while low-emitting countries have often focused on adaptation measures and leveraging climate action for sustainable growth.

In Nigeria, the parliament passed the Climate Change Bill in 2021, which was later signed into law by the President. Through this action, the Nigerian Parliament provided the country with the legal framework for a push for net zero between 2050 and 2070. Furthermore, the creation of the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) by the Act helps the country in its drive for coordinated action in order to meet its climate change goal…

Yet, legislation is not all that parliaments do in terms of climate action. In developed countries, parliaments have been conspicuously active in driving the ambitions of their governments through debates, summons to committee meetings, interrogation of actions during oversight missions, and through the appropriation of funds. For instance, between 2023 and now, the European Union Parliament has adopted a number of rules and policies to help meet the Union’s long-term climate change goals. Some of these include a broadening of the scope of the Net-Zero Industry Act to include the entire supply chain; a new rule to help with the decarbonisation of the transport sector, etc.

Closer home, in Africa, as part of its Post-Legislative Scrutiny, the Kenyan Parliament, in the build-up to Africa Climate Week 2023, amended the country’s Climate Change Act to make provisions for carbon market mechanisms, in line with the country’s new vision of finding the intersection between climate action and sustainable development.

In Nigeria, the parliament passed the Climate Change Bill in 2021, which was later signed into law by the President. Through this action, the Nigerian Parliament provided the country with the legal framework for a push for net zero between 2050 and 2070. Furthermore, the creation of the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) by the Act helps the country in its drive for coordinated action in order to meet its climate change goals, in the context of the country’s economic diversification and sustainable development.

…the Nigerian Parliament has a critical role to play in ensuring that all stakeholders do their parts. This could take the form of oversight and the continuous monitoring and evaluation of the processes. It is also the role of parliament to ensure that the funds necessary to drive action are appropriated annually. To this end, every annual Appropriation Bill and Supplementary Appropriation Bill submitted by the Executive ought to be rigorously vetted…

While experts work to figure out pathways to achieve these, the Nigerian Parliament has a critical role to play in ensuring that all stakeholders do their parts. This could take the form of oversight and the continuous monitoring and evaluation of the processes. It is also the role of parliament to ensure that the funds necessary to drive action are appropriated annually. To this end, every annual Appropriation Bill and Supplementary Appropriation Bill submitted by the Executive ought to be rigorously vetted to be sure that climate change considerations are mainstreamed.

Evidently, then, the Nigerian Parliament, like other parliaments, has a huge role to play in ensuring that the country meets its long-term climate ambitions. However, the path ahead demands more than legislative frameworks and oversight. It calls for a paradigm shift in how Nigerian MPs perceive their role in climate action. The urgent need for education and technical support for these MPs cannot be overstated. Their enlightenment is crucial for Nigeria to not just meet but exceed its climate ambitions. This is where the narrative must evolve — from awareness to action, and from participation to leadership.

This is necessary because, despite the critical role of parliaments in climate action, not many of the MPs in Nigeria are knowledgeable about climate change and the important role they have to play in driving action. If the country’s long-term goals are to be achieved, Nigerian MPs must be fully aware of their responsibilities and roles and judiciously play their part.

Chukwumerije Okereke is professor of Global Governance and Public Policy, University of Bristol UK, and director Center for Climate Change and Development, Alex-Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria.

Ekwueme Varsity Releases Landmark Nigeria Deep Decarbonisation Report

In a landmark move for environmental and economic sustainability, the Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) at Alex Ekwueme Federal University has unveiled the Nigeria Deep Decarbonization Pathways (DDP-Nigeria) project report. This comprehensive document, the culmination of rigorous national and international collaboration, marks a significant milestone in Nigeria’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions and spearheading sustainable development across Africa.

The DDP-Nigeria project is a national research and capacity-building project for the implementation of a Deep Decarbonisation Pathway (DDP) in Nigeria under the framework of the 2050 Facility funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) with the  Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) as the Programme Coordinator with contributions from the International Research Center on Environment and Development (CIRED) France. The project was done in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria, through the Department of Climate Change (DCC) and the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC).

The DDP-Nigeria project was driven by a core team of research experts, advisory board members, a national management committee and a national technical/steering committee, all in an effort to align with the country’s environmental and economic development aspiration. The DDP-Nigeria was anchored on three central pillars – mobilisation and capacity building of local teams of experts and researchers, production of Nigeria context-sensitive low-emission development strategies, and structuration of a community of practice among Nigerian and African research institutions to facilitate climate change knowledge sharing.

The project was conceived to appropriately respond to the low-emission development commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria in many local and international forums. In developed nations, low-emission development policies are crafted based on rigorous studies of the economic sectors, which are heavily based on long-term modelling of development scenarios. Therefore, the analytical framework used in the DDP-Nigeria project hybridised energy-macroeconomic modelling approach, with key assumptions derived from the economic sectors (power, transport, building and residential, oil and gas, industry and AFOLU – Agriculture, forestry and other land use) based on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), the Energy Transition Plan (ETP), FGN’s pronouncement at COP 26 in Glasgow, and the vast natural resources (natural gas and renewable energy, for example). The hybrid framework provides comprehensive information to support decision-making regarding socioeconomic development paths and the evolution of sustainable (environmentally friendly) energy systems away from fossil-based ones.

The Deep Decarbonization Pathways report is enriched with detailed analyses across key energy sectors, offering a variety of trajectories Nigeria could follow to meet its net-zero commitments. These pathways are informed by rich datasets, groundbreaking economic analyses, and insights that consider both the immediate and long-term implications of decarbonization efforts.

The DDP-Nigeria report provides information on the quantifications of four imagined future development pathways (that is, scenarios): Business as Usual (BAU), Currently Policy Scenario (CPS), Gas Economy Scenario (GES), and Renewable Energy Scenario (RES), all of which provide alternative pathways on how Nigeria could navigate the complex energy transition terrain to achieve net zero economy up to 2060 as well as the macroeconomic implications of the imagined future development pathways.

The key findings suggest that the energy sector contributes about 54% of the current year’s (2018) national emissions (424.30 MtCO2eq), which was followed by Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU) at about 30%. More than 50% of the emissions from the energy sector were from the oil and gas subsector, which are related to commercial production and transformation of oil and gas. Under a BAU scenario, Nigeria’s cumulative emissions will be about 1053 MtCO2eq by 2060. The drivers of the emissions are attributed to the continuous use of fossil fuels, firewood and charcoal, which have far-reaching consequences on health, biological diversity, and climate change. The results indicate that the CPS, GES, and RES, respectively, could reduce the current year emissions by 24.4%, 30.1%, and 61.5% in 2050, whereas the reduction would be 36.7%, 78.3%, and 96.8% in 2060, respectively. It shows that only the RES has the potential to achieve the government’s net zero emissions pledge at COP26.

From a purely macroeconomic point of view, over 39 years, the cumulated international financial aid (IFA) would amount to 880 billion USD to drive the Renewable Energy Scenario. The  IFA is roughly half of the overall cost of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, estimated at 1.9 trillion USD. In addition, the analysis shows that, with the IFA, Nigeria’s economy can be improved under the low-emission development pathways because of the positive impact on the employment rate.

In conclusion, the decarbonisation of the Nigerian economy will strongly depend on the use of natural gas as a transition fuel and the utilisation of renewable energy sources (solar, wind, hydropower, and bioenergy) and other clean energy sources (e.g., nuclear) coupled with climate-smart sectorial measures (e.g., energy efficiency and energy management measures) and greening technologies (e.g., carbon capture and sequestration).

“Today, we stand on the precipice of a transformative era,” said Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, the Director of CCCD and the report’s coordinating lead author. “This document is not merely a plan but a blueprint for sustainable development, integrating economic growth with environmental stewardship.”

By

Ogheneruona Diemuodeke and Chukwuemeka Emenekwe Research Fellows in the DDP-Nigeria project

 

Download Report Here >>>

Ekwueme Varsity, Institute present report on Nigeria’s energy transition

The Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, in collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) London, is holding an online event to present the key findings from the recent national research on Nigeria’s subsidy reform and its energy transition agenda.

The CCCD and ODI conducted a  research aimed at understanding  the impacts of fuel subsidy reform and its potential near-term consequences.

 The research, which is based on an extensive literature review, economic modelling techniques, and interviews with several leading thinkers in Nigeria, explored the opportunities and challenges associated with subsidy reform in relation to Nigeria’s energy transition agenda.

 It also offers a suite of guides for a politically smart, socially inclusive reform and reallocation of public funds, which in the long term could be the first step to planning towards a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels.

It would be recalled that in May 2023, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced the immediate removal of Nigeria’s petroleum subsidy, leading to dramatic increases in end-user fuel prices.

While there are compelling justifications for subsidy reform, considerable problems exist about the method, consequences, and sustainability of the  reform.

The failure to mitigate the short-term socio-economic effects of subsidy reform would have multi-level consequences across Nigeria’s economy and populations.

It could harm the most vulnerable segments of Nigeria’s population and introduce political risks to the sustainability of reform, as experienced by similar attempts by former governments.

A real or perceived lack of transparency in the sector could also make it difficult to determine the various other ways in which state revenues are being lost, which can further hinder sector reform and cause a range of environmental, social, and economic harms.

The workshop will be held on the 14th of March 2024, 12:00–13:30 WAT, and will be hosted by Dr. Nwajiku-Dahou, Director of the Politics and Governance Programme at Overseas Development Institute, and Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria (CCCD-AEFUNAI).

Hon. Sam Onuigbo, a member of the governing board and Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change of the North East Development Commission, and Hon. (Eng). Solomon Bulus Maren, National Coordinator of the African Parliamentary Network on Climate Action, are the guests of honour for the event.

Speaking ahead of the event, the Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, said that the research is intandem with the mission of the Centre to collaborate with top-level international partners to undertake high-quality research to generate knowledge that will contribute to climate- resilient and sustainable development of Nigeria and Africa.

Okereke expressed the hope that the Federal government will utilise the findings of the research to reform the fuel subsidy in ways that will be fairer, more progressive and better advance the energy transition objectives of the country.

Enugu appoints Prof. Okereke as Senior Adviser on Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, an internationally recognised professor, has been appointed as the Special Adviser (SA) on Climate Policy and Sustainable Development to the Governor of Enugu State, Barr. Peter N. Mbah.

Prof. Okereke has been appointed to assist the state in designing and executing science-based climate policy, with the goal of contributing to the state’s long-term growth.

The Professor, who was born in Enugu, is an expert in climate governance, environmental policy, and international development. He is regarded as one of Africa’s leading researchers in the fields of climate justice, low-carbon development, and green economic transition.

Prof. Okereke holds a Chair in Global Governance and Public Policy at the prestigious School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol University, UK, and is also the Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria. He is also a visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, and a Senior Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford.

Over the last 20 years, Professor Okereke has maintained an extensive high-impact engagement with national governments, businesses, and NGOs in Africa and led several high-profile international projects on climate change policy, mainstreaming, and green economy transition in Africa.  He led the team that analysed the adaptation components of African NDCs for the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the direction of the bank’s Climate and Green Growth Division. He was the founding Project Manager of the Rwandan Green Growth and Climate Resilience Project, which was the first ever national low-carbon plan in Africa.

Prof. Okereke was the technical leader of the Climate Change Bill Review Committee convened by the former Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamiala, and was responsible for developing several innovative aspects of the Climate Change Act, including the carbon budget and the DG position of the National Council on Climate Change.

Prof. Okereke has led several major national climate change research and policy initiatives, including the Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy, Nigeria’s Long-Term Vision, and Which Way Nigeria: Citizens Scenario 2060.

Prof. Okereke’s academic merit and international research leadership status are affirmed through his leadership roles in multiple high-profile global Scientist Assessment Projects and networks including as Coordinating Lead Author, of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III Sixth Assessment Report.

Prof. Okereke is an Awardee of the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Programme of the United States Department of States, and he was recently elected Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in Developing Countries (UNESCO-TWAS) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to science and its promotion in the developing world.

Prof. Okereke’s academic merit and international research leadership status are demonstrated by his leadership roles in a number of high-profile global Scientist Assessment Projects and networks, including his role as Coordinating Lead Author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III Sixth Assessment Report. Prof. Okereke has received the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Programme Award from the United States Department of State, and he was recently elected Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in Developing Countries (UNESCO-TWAS) in recognition of his outstanding contributions to science and its promotion in the developing world.

Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, Secretary to the Governor of Enugu State, who conveyed the appointment letter, stated that “the expectation is that Enugu State will significantly benefit from Prof. Okereke’s expertise and dedication during the tenure of his appointment.”

Onyia adds: “The anticipation is that Enugu State will significantly gain from Professor Okereke’s expertise and dedication during the tenure of his appointment.”

Commenting on the appointment, Prof. Okereke said: “I am very delighted to be contacted by His Excellency to be part of his transformation agenda in Enugu State to raise the climate consciousness of the state and help develop a science-based plan to reduce climate impacts in the state.

“In the spirit of tomorrow is here agenda of the state we have already started the campaign, I just trained 31 young climate leaders in Enugu State in urban greening and air quality measurements and carried out climate education exercises involving over 7,000 children from three public secondary schools in Enugu State and planting of over 100 economic and ornamental trees in strategic locations throughout the city under the International Visitors’ leadership programme (IVLP) impact award given to me by the U.S Department of State Bureau for Education and Cultural Affairs.

“This recognition will spur me to do more for my dear state in the area of climate awareness in keeping with the city’s reputation as a clean, ambient, and family-friendly metropolis.”

The position operates on a pro-bono basis and no salary or benefits are associated with it.

Policy Recommendations On Harnessing Sub-National Government Leadership In Driving Climate Action

i.  Climate Education is a climate solution. Climate education and communication hold a key solution in increasing the awareness campaign on climate action, especially mainstreaming Climate education into the school curricula and grassroots community programs. It is only through education that students can develop climate solutions. By incorporating climate change and environmental sustainability into the curriculum, we can equip future generations with the tools they need to address the challenges of climate change. The populace needs to be educated on climate impacts, policies and action plans, through consistent awareness, enlightenment, trainings and engagements to drum local support and contextual action for climate solution.

ii.  Climate resilience of agroecosystems and socioeconomic livelihood is strengthened by community initiatives for collective action to improve the surrounding natural resources and ecosystems for a sustainable future. Local communities approach climate adaptation response in a way that uses several traditional knowledge and indigenous solutions. Local adaptation capabilities and resilience against climate change can be increased using methods specific to their environment. Therefore, there is a need to boost subnational efforts to enhance local communities in developing indigenous adaptation solutions and implementing actions to respond to current and future climate change impacts.

iii.  Funding and support need to be directed to areas that are most vulnerable and require urgent action; because by understanding the varying impacts and risks at the subnational level, resources can be allocated more effectively.

iv.  Climate policies should be designed with the local context in mind, involving local communities in the decision-making process foster to a sense of ownership and responsibility towards climate action, to ensure that climate action is practical, achievable, and resonates with the local population. This will increase the likelihood of successful climate policy implementation and sustainability of climate action initiatives.

v.  There is a need to develop and promote climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation strategies for addressing climate change, mainly as regards local to regional-scale vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans; especially considering the surge in the number and frequency of adaptation practices and initiatives in all of Nigeria’s agroecological zones due to the increasing impacts of climate change.

vi.  There is a need to enhance the ability of decision-makers to understand and plan for environmental change by putting people-centred and gender-sensitive analysis at the centre of climate adaptation. By integrating population data in climate adaptation planning, policymakers can provide a more comprehensive understanding of vulnerability and develop means for resilience.

vii.  There is also the need to develop and implement relevant international and regional frameworks to ensure that all climate adaptation measures to address climate vulnerabilities take into account the specific needs of the locals: farmers, women, children, youth, persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups following relevant human rights and other instruments.

viii.  Addressing climate risks at the subnational level requires better planning and implementation of adaptation measures, including building resilient infrastructure, implementing early warning systems, and developing climate-resilient agriculture and water management practices. There is to need to support community resilience built through climate-smart investments that allow local farmers, women and young people to take a greater role in decision-making over their futures.

ix.  There is a need for coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders at the subnational level. Government bodies, communities, NGOs, and businesses can work together to address climate challenges more effectively. Support and stakeholders engagement programs is key to ensure inclusive participations and shared responsibility of climate action.

x.  State governments should explore local solutions that promote equity and community engagement through inclusive decision-making to reflect communities’ diverse needs, concerns, and aspirations in the face of climate challenges. Subnationals should be seen supporting local communities to identify priority needs and collaboratively plan for climate adaptation, with access to decentralized climate funding.

xi.  State government should establish an Indigenous knowledge research hub and local advisory committee to guide on a system change to accommodate climate vulnerabilities and, in the process, thrive and recover from any eventuality. National action plans must imbibe adaptation actions that are based on and guided by the best available science (funded research) and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems, to integrate adaptation into socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions.

xii.  Bringing up the discourse on subnational involvements will also give credence and voice to the much talked about Locally led adaptation (LLA), which unlocks, supports and leverages the high potential and innovative capabilities of communities to develop and implement solutions. Thus, there is a need for coordinated practices and principles for climate resilience that integrate multiple locally-led adaptation responses, including Indigenous solutions and local knowledge, to ensure climate-proofing and sustainability of agricultural ecosystems.

Timothy Emenike Ogenyi,
Senior Climate Policy Analyst,
Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP)