I oversee a nation of more than 200 million people in my capacity as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In addition, I oversee a region that is facing both socioeconomic and security threats in my capacity as Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
During my attendance at the COP28 World Climate Action Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, these urgent issues and their connection to climate change were top of mind.
With the first Global Stocktake on implementing the Paris Agreements, which is a thorough review and inventory that enables each nation to assess its progress in reducing emissions and achieving climate change, COP28 marked a significant turning point.
The COVID-19 pandemic, short-term challenges from economic reforms, and the ongoing unification of foreign exchange rates are just a few of the significant challenges that Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, has face. Even in the face of these obstacles, we are unwavering in our resolve to rebuild a better, cleaner country.
Joining the African Carbon Market Initiative, Nigeria established the Nigerian Carbon Market Initiative at COP28 to honor our legally-mandated commitment to a cleaner world.
This year’s Intergovernmental Panel’s Sixth Assessment Report emphasizes how inadequate and sluggishly international efforts to combat climate change are moving forward. The fact that developing countries bear the brunt of the issue while making only a small contribution to it is still evident.
Though far too few of us are currently willing to contribute fairly, we all want to solve the issue.
The Sahel crisis, marked by the rise of extremist and authoritarian elements, is closely linked to the unprecedented rate of desertification and the rapid depletion of water resources.
An apt illustration of this is the shocking 90% disappearance of Lake Chad in the last thirty years. For the complete replenishment and restoration of this vital body of water, we urgently seek international cooperation in funding and technology.
By speaking up and working together, we can prevent the desert from engulfing Nigeria’s enormous agricultural land, uprooting communities, resulting in food insecurity, and causing social unrest that frequently turns violent.
Coastal communities in southern Nigeria are in danger due to rising sea levels. Flooding kills hundreds of innocent bystanders, destroys towns, villages, and farmlands across the country, leaving tens of thousands of people without a place to live.
Nigeria has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and 2070, and it has done so by passing the Climate Change Act and acting decisively.
But difficulties still exist because wealthy countries are less willing to fully cooperate with less developed economies as a result of the food and energy crises brought on by the conflicts in Europe and the Middle East. Even when those plans are specific and doable, this hinders the ability of less developed nations to pursue national plans for reaching net zero emissions.
Tens of thousands of young people across the nation have successfully organized the most populous country in Africa to plant 250,000 trees annually in order to fulfill a commitment to plant 25 million trees by 2030 as we construct our great green wall to fend off the encroaching desert across our nation’s northern region.
We recently inked a deal with a German energy company to export high-quality natural gas to Europe in large quantities using flared gas. This is essential to lowering the nation’s main source of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
I committed Nigeria to eliminating methane and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases at COP28, along with COP28 President Sultan Al-Jaber, US Special Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry, and Chinese Climate Envoy Xie Zhenhu, demonstrating our readiness to lead Africa’s efforts to decarbonize the global economy.
I declared Nigeria’s intention to build blue and green hydrogen capacity for export last month at the G20 Summit in Berlin. I further cemented this commitment in talks with oil producers in the Middle East.
With the help of programs like the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative and the recently launched global infrastructure initiatives by the US and the EU, we are now working to mobilize private capital.
Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa, but we are also making great efforts to fully utilize our wind and solar resources. It will be difficult to move away from fossil fuels, which are the foundation of our economy.
To bring about this change, though, we have put the Nigerian Energy Transition Plan (NETP) into action. This data-driven approach aims to achieve net-zero emissions in the following important sectors: industry, transportation, oil and gas, cooking, power, and cooking. Up until 2060, the NETP requires an annual investment of $10 billion.
In actuality, collaboration is necessary for Africa to establish a new green economy. We are eager to investigate potential resources such as the US Build Back Better World initiative and the European Union’s Global Gateway program.
In September, African countries embraced the Climate Positive Growth paradigm at the Africa Climate Summit in Kenya. We envision Africa becoming the leading green manufacturing hub globally, with targeted financial support and access to global markets.
Nigeria and much of Africa possess a unique advantage — we do not need to decommission coal-fired power plants. We have an unparalleled opportunity to leapfrog decades of conventional, high-emission industry by building our industrial future on a new green foundation.
At the Africa Climate Summit held in Kenya in September, African nations adopted the Climate Positive Growth paradigm. We see Africa emerging as the world’s preeminent center for green manufacturing, equipped with focused financial assistance and international market access.
One distinct advantage that Nigeria and much of Africa enjoys is the absence of the need to decommission coal-fired power plants. We have a unique chance to forge ahead of decades of traditional, high-emission industry by constructing a new, environmentally friendly foundation for our industrial future.
The world must decide whether to maintain the status quo in terms of economics or actually cut harmful emissions. This is an important time.