By Chris Ochayi
The Federal Government has awarded itself pass mark for major steps taken so far to combat climate change, particularly the N10 billion generated from issuance of Green Bond, which is now generating cleaner energy for seven universities using solar power in the country.
With additional 30 universities coming on board soon to benefit from the scheme, the government said it shows that the country has taken giant stride in fulfilling its obligation to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Recall President Muhammadu Buhari, recently joined other global leaders to reaffirm the commitment of his administration to combat climate change during the recently concluded 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA.
Buhari, had during the session expressed the commitment of his administration to implementing the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, and further highlighted some of the steps his administration had so far taken in this direction.
According to him, “Nigeria stands resolutely with the international community in observing agreed carbon emission targets which I signed in 2015. We have since issued two sovereign Green Bonds and have added an additional one million hectares of forested land taking our total forest coverage to 6.7 per cent through collective national effort.”
Speaking on Nigeria take home from the 74th United Nations General Assembly, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mahmoud Muhammad Abubakar, said that climate change is a global challenge and we must all take the necessary action to abate it.
The Minister emphasized that global temperature has risen over 1 degree Celsius and the quest now is to stay below 1.5 degree Celsius. Nigeria being a signatory to the Paris Agreement needs to take action that will reduce green gas emission.
Enumerating the steps taking by the Federal Government of Nigeria to reduce green gas emission, the Minister said. “Towards mitigating Climate Change, Nigeria has undertaken planting of trees, as trees have the capacity to absurd carbon dioxide which is one of the gasses that is causing global warming”
Dr. Mahmoud added that the great green wall, a project that cuts across 11 countries in the upper North region of Nigeria and co-incidentally cuts across 11 states in Nigeria, is another effort of the Federal Government focused at combating Climate Change as lots of trees have been planted in this area with many more are to be planted
Furthermore, the Minister stated that the clean-up of Ogoniland is another milestone of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in its strive to combat Climate Change through Ogoniland restoration.
Enumerating how Nigeria was able to raise funds to combat Climate Change, the Minister stated that “Nigeria has done well by generating fund through the issuance of Green Bond, the first Bond which successfully generated N10 billion was used to generate cleaner energy which currently powers seven universities using solar energy with additional 30 universities coming on board soon. These are some of the steps Nigeria has taken in fulfilling its obligation to the Paris Agreement”.
On youths inclusion in the efforts at combating Climate Change, Dr. Mahmoud stated that “Mr President during the United Nations General Assembly, made a commitment that Nigeria will plant 25 million trees, this is where we will need all hands on board as well as the partnership with the youths. He made that commitment by directing the Ministry of Environment to collaborate with the Ministry of Youths in this regards”
“I believe that with the involvement of youths as directed by Mr. President, Nigeria will achieve its target at mitigating Climate Change. President Buhari has approved the establishment of a youth hub in the six geo-political zones of the federation to encourage youths involvement in environmental issues and eventually the youth hub will spread across all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. We will start meeting with the youths as soon as possible as the youths are pivotal to Mr. President environmental policy” Dr. Mahmoud stated.
As parts of efforts to evolve realistic and implementable ideas, the Federal Ministry of Environment in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, recently hosted a regional Youth Climate Incubation Hub for South-South zone.
About 70 participants drawn from Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, and Rivers States were tasked to evolve ideas on climate change actions that were creative and at the same time specific, measurable, achievable, bankable, realistic and time bound.
They were also charged to come up with ideas that could be harnessed, developed and built from concept stage to actual implementation. This was the first of six hubs planned for the nation’s geo-political zones and was held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The hub was held to further strengthen Nigeria’s position as a member country of the United Nations’ Youth Engagement and Public Mobilization track at the Climate Action Summit in September.
The Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), an ecological think-tank and advocacy organisation facilitated the two-day event.
Speaking at the event, the Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, an Environmental Justice Advocate, underscored the importance of the Youth Round Table on Climate Action, which he said was to unlock youth innovativeness in Nigeria’s climate action.
He expressed optimism that young people have the brightest ideas for solving problems of climate change in Nigeria.
Also, a Senior Scientific Officer at the Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Sa’adatu Gambo, stressed the importance of the meeting to global concern on the impact of climate change in developing countries, including Nigeria.
She said the Department of Climate Change is the country’s focal point for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and that the department is always eager and ready to welcome creative ideas from young people on how to solve problems of climate change which have become a serious global threat.
Rising from the first Climate Hub, participants observed, in a communiqué, that issues of climate change call for emergency responses in Nigeria and that proactive measures must be put in place by the government to tackle them,
They said the non-implementation of extant environmental laws and policies continue to serve as a major setback in the fight for a safe climate in Nigeria, pointing out that there is a major need to create more awareness among the Nigeria citizenry. They added that financial investment and transfer of technology to build human capacity and groom basic ideas that would mitigate climate crises in Nigeria was urgently needed.