Author : Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria
Site of publication : United Nations – Climate Change
Type of publication : Long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS)
Date of publication : November 2021
Nigeria faces many challenges in her effort to advance its socio-economic and environmental development. A particular challenge is climate change that continues to portend serious threat to the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the country. This is because Nigeria is strongly predisposed to severe negative impacts of climate change due to its fragile economy, weak resilience, and low adaptive capacity, as much of the economy is dependent on climate- sensitive ecosystems and natural resources. For example, the agriculture sector, which contributes about 24% to the country’s GDP and largely rain-fed, is highly vulnerable to climate change- induced frequent and severe extreme events, such as floods and droughts. Other sectors of the economy are also vulnerable.
The 2017 Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) published by the UK-based risk company, Verisk Maplesoft, classifies Nigeria as a region of high risk, and indicated that the country is one of the topmost vulnerable countries in the world. If no adaptation is implemented, DFID (2009)1 estimated that between 2-11% of Nigeria’s GDP could potentially be lost by 2020, thereby hampering the national development goal of becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world. Worse still, the same study indicated that climate change could result in a loss in GDP of between 6% and 30% by 2050, worth an estimated US$ 100 to 460 billion dollars. Kompas et al (2018) further indicated that, with a 3o C rise in global temperature, Nigeria will, in the long-term (beyond 2067), experience up to 16% reduction in its GDP2. Climate projections for the coming decades also reveal a significant increase in temperature over cities across all the ecological zones3. Overcoming the development challenge of climate change requires that extensive adaptation and mitigation measures that are necessary to reduce vulnerability to future climate change are put in place (FGoN, 2017)). Addressing the challenge climate change poses to national development in a sustainable manner requires that Nigeria moves its economy into a more environment-friendly, climate resilient, green, and sustainable path.
As a result of its relatively low economic development, Nigeria’s GHG emissions remain relatively low. The total GHG emission in 2018 from various sectors (agriculture, electricity, forestry, industry, oil and gas, transport, waste etc) was 336 million tons of CO2-equivalent 4. With this level of emission, Nigeria compares favorably with South Africa in terms of emitting less than 1% of global emissions, However, as its economy is expected to grow rapidly by at least 7% per annum, particularly in the post COVID-19 period, to meet the demands of its large population that is projected to increase to about 402 million by 2050, Nigeria is expected to emit more GHGs in the very near future. This calls for a more ambitious future mitigation efforts in keeping the country’s international climate commitments and with massively increasing adaptation finance to contribute to the global efforts to achieve a net zero emission by 2050.
Nigeria’s relationship with climate change is further complicated by the fact that the nation’s mono economy is almost entirely dependent on oil mining and export
This does not only make it hard to decouple emissions from economic growth trajectory but also leaves Nigeria in a highly unstable and vulnerable fiscal and macroeconomic condition with high fluctuations in global oil price linked to global transition to the green economy and other factors driving energy demand.
However, global trends suggest that ambitious transitions towards low emissions development will further skew the energy outlook with devastating impacts on Nigeria’s economy if there are no sustainable low carbon implementation plans for alternative growth. Thus, addressing the challenge that climate change poses to national development remains one of the most important and fundamental requirements for long term economic planning effectiveness in Nigeria. Long Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy (LT-LEDS) or Long-Term Strategies (LTS) have emerged as a veritable tool and approach with which countries explore the GHG emissions implications of their development aspirations aa options for that can help to decouple economic growth from emissions to bridge sustainable development and climate goals.
The imperative for transition to low-emission development is a global phenomenon and has been recognized internationally (especially by United Nations) as a veritable way to stabilizing GHG concentrations with the attendant consequence of significantly mitigating the impact of climate change. The Copenhagen Accord (2009) – Paragraph 2, states that: “A low emission development strategy is indispensable for sustainable development”. In a similar vein, the Paris Agreement (2015) – Article 4, Paragraph 19 states that : “All parties should strive to formulate and communicate long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies, mindful of Article 2 taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances”.
Achieving a climate-neutral economy by 2050 will require progressively phasing out or profoundly changing the country’s carbon-intensive industries. This will be particularly challenging and will require a well-managed transition through effective visioning.
Process for the development of this Vision
An all-inclusive approach was adopted for the development of the Nigeria’s vision of the LT-LEDS. The visioning approach which represented the preparatory phase for the development of the full Strategy, involved:
- Identification and selection of relevant experts that can evolves ideas in tandem with 2050 Low-carbon Vision, comprising experts from MDAs, academia, industry, and civil society organizations on a broad spectrum of options for Nigeria’s long-term vision of reducing GHG emissions by 2050 and developing development enhancing adaptation measures.
- Policy survey and analysis of other national policies and strategies with medium to long- term climate targets and aspirations.
- Stakeholders’ consultation to elucidate responses on what should constitute Nigeria’s vision and LT-LEDS to ensure ownership of the LTV for Nigeria.; and
- Drafting and production of the Nigeria’s long-term Vision that articulates the national and sectoral Vision to 2050 for the country, as well as of a full workplan/ Terms of Reference for the elaboration of the full LT-LEDS.
Overview of Nigeria’s Policy-Related Response to Climate Change
Agriculture is Nigeria’s single largest economic sector, and one of the most important areas for development for the country. In 2016, it accounted for 24.4% of GDP, but only 4.8% of the country’s total foreign earnings. It employs up to 70% of the labor force.
Nigeria is endowed with many renewable and non-renewable energy resources in commercial quantities and some of the best natural forms. The prominent renewable energy resources include sun, wind, hydro, biomass, and tidal wave while crude oil, coal, lignite, tar sands, natural gas, and nuclear elements constitute the major non-renewable energy resources. Despite these huge energy endowments, the very lack of access to affordable and reliable energy services is hindering the industrial production and economic growth of the country. The poverty of energy in Nigeria is such that all manufacturing firms depend on self-generated electricity to power their operations and to maintain power back-up in the event of power failure. Visioning for future sustainable development in a low carbon development scenario requires that energy poverty (being the lack of access to modern energy services) eradication is taken as critical. Sustainable energy for all is essential for the economic growth of Nigeria.
The human health status is a key factor of the development of the country, but Nigeria’s performance in this sector remains poor. According to the 2016 Global Burden of Disease Study, while Nigeria is undergoing an epidemiological transition, communicable diseases still constitute the bulk of disease burden. The country faces a wide range of environmental challenges. Some of the specific phenomena include Climate Change, which is negatively affecting every sector of the country’s economy, particularly agriculture and water resources. Other challenges are deforestation and de-vegetation, causing biodiversity loss and land degradation; floods, drought and desertification which are degrading the environment especially in the semi-arid areas of the country; environmental pollution encompassing air, water, land, and noise; waste generation; mineral excavation and the accompanying environmental degradation as well as limited access to safe water and poor sanitation.
By 2050, Nigeria is a country of low-carbon, climate-resilient, high-growth circular economy that reduces its current level of emission by 50%, moving towards having net-zero emissions across all sectors of its development in a gender-responsive manner
Fighting poverty and insecurity and tackling climate change remain three critical development challenges for Nigeria, as they all impact the utilization of its natural resources. Meeting these challenges needs fresh ideas and a radical new way of thinking and doing things. This includes strategic planning and how we maintain, improve, and use our natural resources (renewable and non-renewable) to generate and sustain long-term pro-poor economic growth, thereby reducing poverty and supporting the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It also requires that new strategic approaches be put in place to attract significant investment in the country’s natural capital (including land, forests, landscapes, water, and fisheries), which is a direct source of income and employment for a large share of Nigeria’s people, to make it climate resilient as climate change affects the ability of natural capital to deliver its wide range of products and services. Sustaining and managing natural capital is crucial to the ability of the country to invest in the other types of capital in a sustainable fashion. The situation becomes more critical in many parts of Nigeria where the fragile natural capital is also highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
Addressing the Climate Change Challenge: Mitigation and Adaptation Measures
Two sets of measures have often been advocated for confronting climate change. These are mitigation measures (such as reductions in emissions of GHG and black soot) to prevent the degree of climate change from becoming unmanageable; and adaptation measures (such as building irrigation systems and adjusting agricultural practices) to reduce the harm from climate change that proves unavoidable. While mitigation seeks to limit climate change by reducing the emissions of GHG and by enhancing ‘sink’ opportunities, adaptation aims to alleviate the adverse impacts through a wide-range of system-specific actions that also improves quality of life. Further to these two broad measures (mitigation and adaptation), Nigeria will also need to promote economic diversification – going beyond lowering the carbon content of activities, but also moving away from oil export dependency.
Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)
An investment of 177 billion USD is indicated in the NDC for implementation that covers 2021- 2030. This value is economy-wide productive investments that is not expected to be a burden exclusively on the government budget.
Nigeria’s 2050 Vision
Developing the LTV Vision
The LTV vision will be guided by the following principles that have been highlighted in the National Climate Change Policy:
- Country-driven and country-specific climate change interventions and responses: Nigeria will think globally but act locally. Such national efforts will lead to reduce GHG emissions and provide an opportunity for sustainable growth and development.
- Build sustainable and resilient economy and social development with adequate adaptation response: Low carbon development compels a rethink of actions to embed new climate economic approaches and alignments with high growth sectors.
- Effective citizenship participation.
- Shared vision social inclusion, and responsibility among stakeholders: The transformation of Nigeria towards a low carbon, climate resilient society will take place within a broad consensus among various stakeholders, including policymakers, private sector, civil society, academia, and local communities.
- Identification of low-carbon transition enabling activities: In Nigeria, “Natural gas is accepted more or less as a transition fuel, the bridge to renewable energy”.
- Promotion of environmental quality and ecological equilibrium: Environmental quality and ecological equilibrium will be promoted by moving away from linear economy (fossil- fuel based production, distribution, and consumption patterns) to circular economy that will ultimately enable people to achieve universal goals for environment and health.
- Transparency, accountability, and equity.
- Monitoring, evaluation and reporting of all climate change interventions and lessons.
- International partnership and cooperation: There is the imperative to ratchet green climate fund to improve international support if Nigeria will surmount near term climate risk as well as promoting a cultural shift needed for the institutionalization of net zero emission economy.
- Policy coordination.
- Good Governance: Governance is the bedrock of economic, political, and environmental sustainability.
The Vision: Where we want to be in 2050.
By 2050, Nigeria is a country of low-carbon, climate-resilient, high-growth circular economy that reduces its current level of emission by 50%, moving towards having net-zero emissions across all sectors of its development in a gender-responsive manner.