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Key environmental changes in Nigeria 2022

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By Usman Oladimeji

Floods caused over 600 people deaths and displaced 1.3 million from home.

Nigeria was hit by various environmental natural disasters in 2022, followed by several national policies enacted by the Federal Government, which has shaped the sector. Notably was the flood incidence that ravaged some parts of the country. Between September and October 2022, catastrophic floods caused the deaths of over 600 people and displaced 1.3 million from their homes across the country. Torrential rains, clear evidence of Climate Change, and poor town planning rendered some parts of the country more vulnerable to flooding. Lokoja, Makurdi, Yola, and Yenagoa are the capital towns most hit by the ravaging floods.

The floods also damaged around 200,000 houses, while 266,000 acres of cropland were entirely or partly swept away. While the flooding has affected many such as the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) currently experiencing acute hunger and property damage, the humanitarian crisis in the nation continues to deteriorate. In addition, the natural catastrophe of the landslide affected the indigenous people of Ogwuma Edda in Afikpo South Local Government, Ebonyi State, on the 1st of July, 2022. Some homes were destroyed, and 15 people were buried as a large chunk of soil fell in a community. The accident also reportedly displaced 38 households.

ETP depicts steps towards emission-free energy 2060 goal.

LFurthermore, Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, announced the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan (ETP) launch on the 24th of August, 2022, after the country’s contribution at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26) held in Glasgow, 2021. The ETP is the country’s concrete step toward its 2060 goal of completely emission-free energy Infrastructure. Despite widespread support for the program, some observers worry that previous attempts to make Renewable Energy the norm in the nation have failed. Another potential roadblock to the ETP’s smooth execution is the massive financial commitment required to support the program, estimated to be over $1.9 trillion US dollars up to 2060.

On the 25th of July, 2022, Dr Salisu Mohammed Dahiru was appointed the first Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council on Climate Change by President Muhammadu Buhari. This appointment followed the 2021 passage of a bill addressing Climate Change. Actions and initiatives to address Climate Change will be carried out within the context of the law established by the Climate Change Act. The President has set a target for Nigeria to reach net zero Emissions by 2060, in keeping with the aims of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as part of his Climate Change strategy.

Nigeria moves towards developing a carbon market framework.

In light of this, the President has charged Dahiru with the responsibility of spearheading the implementation of Nigeria’s Climate Change agenda and the National Climate Change Action Plan. This includes developing a carbon market framework and a national adaptation plan consistent with the objectives outlined in Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). In addition, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, which took place in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, from the 6th of November to the 18th, 2022, was a ray of hope for the most vulnerable people affected by Climate Change in the face of recent catastrophic weather disasters in Africa.

Over 30,000 government officials, representatives of states, non-governmental organizations, commercial sector groups, journalists, Indigenous people, and public members gathered at the COP27 event to debate the future climate initiatives. But most crucially, the COP27 event concluded with a historic commitment to give loss and damage compensation for vulnerable nations battered by floods, droughts, and other climate catastrophes. It was heralded as a historic occasion, but kinks need to be worked out in the next year.

Decisions made at COP27 were implementation-oriented.

Bold measures were taken to execute the agreements made at the previous COPs, however, as activities regarding the climate catastrophe are increasingly worthwhile and imperative. Most of the decisions made at COP27 were implementation-oriented, focusing on strengthening action by countries to cut Greenhouse gas Emissions and adapt to the apparent impacts of Climate Change and increasing support for Finance, Technology, and capacity building needed by developing countries. Just as UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell urged for aligning “every corner of human activity” with the 1.5°C targets, adding, “Paris gave us the agreement, Katowice and Glasgow gave us the plan, Sharm el-Sheikh moves us to implementation.”

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