Climate Change: Need to take action towards a more sustainable, resilient future

In order to combat climate change, stakeholders recently gathered in Abuja to brainstorm on the significant outcome of COP28 and to collectively identify, prioritize key focus areas that will drive the nation’s environmental agenda. HELEN OJI reports. 

The 28th session of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC was a pivotal moment in the global fight against climate change and serve as a reminder of the urgent need for resolute action in the face of escalating climate crises and environmental challenges. With negotiations focused on crucial issues such as mitigation, adaptation, finance, and transparency, the outcomes of COP28 have far-reaching implications for the future of the planet. As stakeholders gear up for COP 29, it is imperative to foster a spirit of collaboration, unity, and shared responsibility, harnessing the collective wisdom, expertise, resources and firm commitments to advance Nigeria’s environmental goals.

Take action 

According to the Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas Lawal, Nigeria is already feeling the impacts of climate change. From extreme weather events to rising sea levels, the effects of climate change are evident in daily lives. “As a nation, we have a responsibility to take action and to work towards a more sustainable and resilient future for our people and the  environment.

“In the realm of environmental stewardship, the time for passive observation has long passed. The time for bold, decisive action is now. Our success hinges on our ability to forge robust partnerships, mobilize stakeholder engagement, and deliver on the commitments we have made to safeguard our environment and secure a prosperous future for our nation,” he explained.

Lawal added that it provides a valuable opportunity to engage in purposeful dialogue, exchange innovative ideas, and co-create actionable strategies that will steer Nigeria towards a path of sustainable development and environmental integrity. 

The minister urged all stakeholders to actively participate in the discussion and together possess the power to effect meaningful change, to shape a future where the natural resources are preserved, our ecosystems thrive, and our community’s flourish. 

Collective effort 

Also speaking, Director-General, National Council on Climate Change, Dr. Salisu Dahiru, noted that these actions include an unprecedented reference to transitioning away from all fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly, and equitable manner in this critical decade to enable the world to reach net zero emissions by 2050, in keeping with the science.

“There is a specific target on tripling renewables and doubling energy efficiency by 2030, adoption and operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund, the need to significantly scale adaptation finance beyond doubling, to meet urgent and evolving needs amongst others.”

The DG reaffirmed the need for strengthened collective climate change action across three pillars of Adaptation, Finance, and Mitigation. Also, in other cross-cutting areas of technology and capacity development.

“Nigeria is an oil producing country and a developing nation, the agreements forged during COP28 pose the need for a strategic review of national actions and climate goals,” he stressed.

Climate resilient 

Dahiru, however stated that the  workshop presents a pivotal opportunity for the stakeholders to reflect on the outcomes and chart a path forward towards sustainable solutions “as we speed our transition to a climate-resilient future.

“We seek to facilitate inclusive participatory process to motivate actions towards seeking higher ambitious goals for our transition to low carbon economy and to create a forum for government, businesses, States, and other stakeholders to continue to shape and strengthen the climate action processes in Nigeria.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume also spoke at the workshop, said key decisions have been made to enhance global climate ambition, strengthen adaptation and resilience efforts, and mobilize finance and support for climate action in developing countries. 

“The decisions represent a collective recognition of the imperative to leave no one behind in the pursuit of a sustainable future. 

He, however stated that “we must all be aware that any transition requires an intentional and integrated financing plan to be strategized and implemented.

“In developing the third pillar of the Paris Agreement hitherto referred to as the means of implementation, Article 2.1c says ‘making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development’ is critical. 

A whole-of-government approach

Sen. Akume stressed that it requires a whole-of-government approach, where climate considerations are mainstreamed across all sectors and policies. “It demands robust coordination and collaboration among government agencies, Civil Society Organisations, the private sector, and local communities. And it necessitates the mobilization of resources and the harnessing of innovative solutions. 

According to Nigeria’s revised NDC, an estimated total of $177m in investments up to 2030 to attain the Paris Accord commitments based on assessments in seven sectors was projected. “it seems important to move the conversation away from the amount of capital needed to a discussion around what the key elements need to be in place to build a just transition ecosystem that can ensure investors can make the right decisions.

“One of the fundamental pillars in the battle against climate change lies in the mobilization of internal financial resources.

“We must harness our own resources, streamline our fiscal policies, and bolster revenue generation efforts to ensure sustainable development and prosperity for all Nigerians.

Similarly, the government is committed to implement comprehensive reforms aimed at enhancing revenue collection, curbing illicit financial flows, and promoting fiscal transparency and accountability. We recognize that effective financial mobilization is not merely a matter of raising funds but ensuring their judicious allocation and utilization.

He further states that strive to strengthen the economy and advance the development agenda, standing on the precipice of a climate crisis, it is imperative that we rethink and restructure our national budgets to prioritize sustainability and combat climate change head-on. 

Fiscal stability 

We have to diversify our sources of climate finance, we can ensure adequate funding for ambitious climate goals without compromising fiscal stability.

“Integrating climate finance into our budgetary framework entails mainstreaming climate considerations across all sectors and climate considerations into our budgetary processes, we can catalyse transformative change and create a pathway towards a more resilient and sustainable future.

Additionally, innovative financing mechanisms, such as debt for climate swaps and carbon pricing, are some of the pathways by the Nigerian government to generate additional resources for climate action.

“This means investing in climate-resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable agriculture practices, fostering innovation in clean technologies, and reallocating resources towards initiatives that mitigate and adapt to climate change. The current budgetary allocations often overlook the long-term impacts of climate change, focusing more on short-term gains rather than the sustained well-being of our planet and its inhabitants. However, by integrating climate considerations into our budgetary processes, we can catalyse transformative change and create a pathway towards a more resilient and sustainable future,” he said.