Wed, 29 Nov 2023 Article

Climate change: 3 key goals Nigeria must focus on at COP28

By Bamidele Olajide - The Conversation
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Global environmental stakeholders will converge in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, from 30 November to 12 December 2023 for the UN Climate conference known as COP28. The conference aims to continue negotiations to address the global climate crisis. Nigeria's main agenda in the conference is climate finance needed for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Past conferences have resulted in some landmark agreements. However, the negotiation process to institute international climate finance has been thorny for developing countries. Nigeria's diplomatic and negotiating strategies will have to be top-notch at COP28.

Nigeria has experienced a harsh climate change reality. The effects of climate change include flooding, desertification, coastal erosion, drought, deforestation, land degradation and pollution. These are also associated with human security issues such as food insecurity, resource conflicts and political instability.

Nigeria and other developing countries are disproportionately affected by climate change. This is despite their historically low contributions to global warming compared to the developed countries. It is noteworthy that African countries, including Nigeria, will continue to link their development agenda to the international climate regime .

For this reason, Nigeria has committed to global climate mandates through policies such as the Nationally Determined Contribution , the National Climate Change Policy for Nigeria , the National Climate Change Council and the Energy Transition Plan . Nigeria's active participation in COP28 is critical to its development and citizens' well-being.

I am a political scientist with research in environmental and energy politics. I argue that Nigeria should focus on three climate finance goals at COP28. These are:

  • the loss and damage finance mechanism

  • Nigerian Energy Transition Plan finance

  • adaptation finance.

Securing these funds will immediately enhance Nigeria's ability to respond to climate change. The funds are critical for meeting the country's immediate, medium, and long-term climate goals. If Nigeria secures the finance it needs, it will be a landmark achievement in the country's environmental diplomacy.

Nigeria has found it more difficult than many African countries to obtain international climate finance. Its lack of readiness and corruption reputation have been blamed for this.

1. Loss and damage fund

The successful agreement on the Loss and Damage Fund was the lone positive outcome of COP27. The fund was established to provide assistance to the countries most vulnerable to and most affected by climate change. This agreement signifies that developing countries are becoming assertive and influential in the climate negotiation process.

Nigeria and other developing countries should not stop at the agreement. COP28 provides a platform for further clarification of funding mechanisms. Access to the fund and implementation of adaptation projects will advance for Nigeria and others once there is clarity.

The Loss and Damage Fund will help Nigeria to address some of its climate-induced human security crises. In recent years, flooding and resource conflicts have exacerbated loss and damage in Nigeria. The country cannot afford any hesitancy or stalemate on the implementation of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28.

2. Energy Transition Plan

Nigeria announced its commitment to net-zero emissions by 2060 at COP26. To achieve this, the country needs to fund its Energy Transition Plan with US$1.9 trillion. This translates to an annual cost of US$10 billion.

Meeting its Nationally Determined Contribution commitment will depend on its ability to secure international climate finance. Both initial and updated Nationally Determined Contributions are largely conditional on this source of funding. Therefore, Nigeria's COP28 negotiators and delegation must be adept at securing finance to carry out the country's Energy Transition Plan.

3. Adaptation finance

Nigeria's weak performance in climate change adaptation can be traced to lack of financing. Hesitancy to invest in reducing citizens' vulnerability to climate change leads to socioeconomic crisis .

Nigeria should not expect to easily get the funds it needs for adaptation at COP28. Only US$230 million was pledged for adaptation at the last conference. Raising the required funds will require deft diplomatic moves.

Why this matters

COP28 is the time for the world and Nigeria to get their climate finance priorities right.

Nigeria will become more vulnerable to climate impacts if it fails to do this at COP28. A prolonged lack of adaptation finance would increase the number of Nigerians who are not resilient to climate change and its impact. Consequently, it would affect the country's economy as climate change has an impact on livelihoods and health, damages infrastructure, and threatens food security. Similarly, failure to secure financing for the Energy Transition Plan could hamper Nigerian development projections. This is because the Federal Government treats this as a development plan.

COP28 represents a critical socioeconomic juncture for Nigeria, and the country has to secure international climate finance.

Bamidele Olajide does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

By Bamidele Olajide, Lecturer, University of Lagos

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