UN Climate Summit Agrees On Landmark Deal

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, heads the closing session of the COP27 climate conference, at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of the same name, on November 20, 2022. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP)

 

A fraught UN climate summit wrapped up Sunday with a landmark deal on funding to help vulnerable countries cope with devastating impacts of global warming — but also anger over a failure to push further ambition on cutting emissions.

The two-week talks in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, which at times appeared to teeter on the brink of collapse, delivered a major breakthrough on a fund for climate “loss and damage”.

Pakistani climate minister Sherry Rehman said COP27 “responded to the voices of the vulnerable, the damaged and the lost of the whole world”.

A person walks near a mockup depicting the Earth globe at a booth in the deserted hall at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre, in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city.  AFP

 

“We have struggled for 30 years on this path, and today in Sharm el-Sheikh this journey has achieved its first positive milestone,” she told the summit.

Tired delegates applauded when the loss and damage fund was adopted as the sun came up Sunday following almost two extra days of negotiations that went round-the-clock.

But jubilation over that achievement was countered by stern warnings.

UN chief Antonio Guterres said the UN climate talks had “taken an important step towards justice” with the loss and damage fund, but fell short in pushing for the urgent carbon-cutting needed to tackle global warming.

“Our planet is still in the emergency room,” Guterres said. “We need to drastically reduce emissions now and this is an issue this COP did not address.”

 ‘Stonewalled by emitters’

A final COP27 statement covering the broad array of the world’s efforts to grapple with a warming planet held the line on the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

It also included language on renewable energy for the first time, while reiterating previous calls to accelerate “efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”.

But that failed to go much further than a similar decision from last year’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow on key issues around cutting planet-heating pollution.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the EU was “disappointed”, adding that more than 80 nations had backed a stronger emissions pledge.

“What we have in front of us is not enough of a step forward for people and planet,” he said.

“It doesn’t bring enough added efforts from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emission cuts,” said Timmermans, who 24 hours earlier had threatened to walk out of the talks rather than getting a “bad result”.

Britain’s Alok Sharma, who chaired COP26 in Glasgow, said a passage on energy had been “weakened, in the final minutes”.

Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she was frustrated that the emissions cut and fossil fuel phase-out were “stonewalled by a number of large emitters and oil producers”.

Criticised by some delegations for a lack of transparency during negotiations, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the COP27 chair, said any missteps were “certainly not intentional”.

“I believe I succeeded in avoiding that any of the parties were to backslide,” he said.

 ‘Loss and damage’

The deal on loss and damage — which had only barely made it onto the negotiation agenda — gathered critical momentum during the talks.

Developing nations relentlessly pushed for the fund, finally succeeding in getting the backing of wealthy polluters long fearful of open-ended liability.

A statement from the Alliance of Small Island States, comprised of islands whose very existence is threatened by sea level rise, said the loss and damage deal was “historic”.

“The agreements made at COP27 are a win for our entire world,” said Molwyn Joseph, of Antigua and Barbuda and chair of AOSIS.

“We have shown those who have felt neglected that we hear you, we see you, and we are giving you the respect and care you deserve.”

With around 1.2C of warming so far, the world has seen a cascade of climate-driven extremes, shining a spotlight on the plight of developing countries faced with escalating disasters, as well as an energy and food price crisis and ballooning debt.

The World Bank estimated that devastating floods in Pakistan this year caused $30 billion in damage and economic loss.

The fund will be geared towards developing nations “that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change” — language that had been requested by the EU.

 ‘On the brink’

The Europeans had also wanted to broaden the funder base to cough up cash — code for China and other better-off emerging countries.

The final loss and damage text left many of the thornier questions to be dealt with by a transitional committee, which will report to next year’s climate meeting in Dubai to get the funding operational.

Scientists say limiting warming to 1.5C is a far safer guardrail against catastrophic climate impacts, with the world currently way off track and heading for around 2.5C under current commitments and plans.

“The historic outcome on loss and damage at COP27 shows international cooperation is possible,” said Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and Chair of The Elders.

“Equally, the renewed commitment on the 1.5C global warming limit was a source of relief. However, none of this changes the fact that the world remains on the brink of climate catastrophe.”

AFP

UN Chief Says Stop ‘Blame Game’ At Deadlocked Climate Talks

In this file photo taken on February 28, 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the General Assembly emergency special session in New York City. Kena Betancur / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 28, 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the General Assembly emergency special session in New York City. Kena Betancur / AFP

 

UN chief Antonio Guterres urged rich and developing nations to stop the “finger pointing” at crunch climate talks on Thursday and reach a deal on covering the losses suffered by vulnerable nations battered by weather disasters.

With the two-week COP27 conference officially due to wrap up on Friday, negotiators in Egypt said the talks would likely go on overnight as they scramble to find a compromise over the contentious “loss and damage” issue.

Guterres said there was “clearly a breakdown in trust” between developed and emerging economies, adding that the most effective way to build confidence would be to find an “ambitious and credible agreement” on loss and damage and financial support for vulnerable countries.

“This is no time for finger pointing. The blame game is a recipe for mutually assured destruction,” he said.

“The time for talking on loss and damage finance is over — we need action,” he said, after flying back to Egypt from Bali where he had attended a G20 leaders meeting.

The intervention from the UN chief comes as the climate talks teeter on the edge of failure as poorer countries least responsible for global emissions lock horns with rich polluters over the creation of a “loss and damage” fund.

Ralph Regenvanu, minister of climate change for the Pacific island of Vanuatu, said walking out of the talks “was discussed as an option” if developing nations come away empty handed.

“We are out of time and we are out of money and we are out of patience,” he said at a news conference.

“We must establish at this COP27 a loss and damage finance facility.”

A 130-nation group known as G77+China issued a proposal to create the fund at the COP27 and agree on the nitty-gritty details at the next UN talks in Dubai in 2023.

After dragging their feet over loss and damage, the United States and European Union somewhat softened their position by agreeing to discuss the issue at COP27.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the EU was open to the creation of a funding facility but that it should be among a “mosaic” of options that include existing financial instruments.

“We will do everything to find consensus,” he said, adding however that he expects “quite a long and difficult journey to the end of this process”.

“If this COP fails we all lose and we have absolutely no time to lose,” he told journalists.

Protests held within the conference compound have sought to keep up the pressure on delegates, with small but vocal crowds of demonstrators chanting: “What do we want? Climate justice!”

China’s role

Timmermans took issue with the G77+China proposal as it limits the donor base for a fund to a list of two-dozen rich nations drawn up in 1992.

The top EU official has pointed out that some countries, notably China, would be left “off the hook” from contributing to the fund even though they have grown wealthier since 1992.

“I’m still hopeful that we can reach an agreement on this, but then I do ask of our partners to make sure that it’s fair so that everybody who is in a position to contribute contributes,” Timmermans said.

Pakistan’s climate minister Sherry Rehman, whose country chairs the G77+China, said the group was still “seeking to find common ground even at this late hour”.

Rehman suggested that concerns from rich countries about liability could be addressed.

“For countries worried or anxious about liabilities and judicial proceedings, I think we can work around all those anxieties,” she said.

Rehman recalled that Pakistan was devastated by floods this year that cost the country $30 billion.

“Vulnerability should not become a death sentence,” she said.

“We are the ground zero of climate change,” she added. “We must convey a message of hope to all those people that have pinned their ambitions on this particular COP.”

Make-or-break

Guterres called for progress across the board on the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial levels.

Rich nations should also finally deliver on their unmet pledge to provide $100 billion a year since 2020 to help the developing world green their economies and adapt to future impacts, and make progress on future financing.

Observers at the talks said loss and damage could be make-or-break for COP27.

“This is the issue around which the entire (COP)27 package hinges,” said Tom Evans, an expert on climate diplomacy at think tank E3G.

Laurence Tubiana, a main architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement as France’s top negotiator, told AFP a “possible landing zone for a compromise is not yet in view.”

“Things could really go off the rails at the end.”

 

AFP

Biden Urges World To ‘Step Up’ Climate Fight At COP27

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech during the COP27 climate conference in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, on November 11, 2022.
US President Joe Biden delivers a speech during the COP27 climate conference in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, on November 11, 2022.

 

President Joe Biden vowed at UN climate talks on Friday that the United States was on track to slash its carbon emissions, urging all nations to ramp up their own efforts to avert catastrophic global warming.

His speech came at the halfway point of a two-week COP27 conference in Egypt where rich polluters like the US are under pressure to finally provide the funding developing countries have been promised in the battle against climate change.

Biden touted the passage of a massive, $369 billion spending package to green the US economy as an achievement that would “shift the paradigm” for his country and the entire world.

“The climate crisis is about human security, economic security, environmental security, national security and the very life of the planet,” Biden said.

In an hours-long visit to Egypt before heading to Asia for ASEAN and G20 summits, Biden said the United States “will meet” its goal of cutting emissions 50-52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

He also announced plans to step up efforts to cut methane emissions — a major contributor to global warming — by plugging fossil fuel leaks and requiring companies to act on leaks reported by credible third parties.

“To permanently bend the emissions curve, every nation needs to step up. At this gathering, we must renew and raise our climate ambitions,” he said.

“The United States has acted, everyone has to act. It’s a duty and responsibility of global leadership,” said Biden, whose administration also announced plans to require federal contractors to reduce their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

Howl of protest

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sent energy prices soaring, has raised concerns that tackling climate change has dropped down the priority list of many countries.

“Russia’s war only enhances the urgency of the need to transition the world off its dependence on fossil fuels,” Biden said.

His 22-minute speech was briefly interrupted by a small group of demonstrators, who howled and attempted to unfurl a banner protesting fossil fuels before they were removed by UN security.

New research shows just how dauntingly hard it will be to meet the ambitious goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — requiring emissions to be slashed nearly in half by 2030.

The new study — published on Friday in the journal Earth System Science Data — found that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are on track to rise one percent in 2022 to reach an all-time high.

Mixed reviews

Biden’s visit to COP27 came three days after US midterm elections that have raised questions about what the result could mean for US climate policy.

His climate speech earned mix reviews from COP27 participants.

“President Biden is advancing the boldest climate agenda of any American president by far,” said Ani Dasgupta, president of the World Resources Institute.

But he said the US was “grossly underperforming” on its commitments in a $100-billion-a-year global climate funding programme to help developing nations transition to renewable energy and build resilience.

Biden has pledged to double the US contribution to $11.4 billion, but Democrats may be running out of time to honour that as control of the House of Representatives appears poised to shift to the Republicans from January in the wake of this week’s vote.

Others pointed out that the United States has previously blocked efforts to establish a “loss and damage” mechanism that would see rich polluters compensate poorer countries for the destruction from climate-induced natural disasters.

Biden did not address the “loss and damage” mechanism idea in his speech, though the United States has allowed it to be on the official COP27 agenda.

“Joe Biden comes to COP27 and makes new promises but his old promises have not even been fulfilled,” said Mohamed Dowd, founder of the Power Shift Africa think tank.

“He is like a salesman selling goods with endless small print.”

Before his COP27 address, Biden met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the sidelines of COP27, where he raised human rights issues with his host amid concerns over the health of jailed dissident Alaa Abdel Fattah, who is on a hunger strike.

 

AFP

UN COP27 Climate Summit Opens In Egypt

Participants visit the Sharm El Sheikh International Convention Centre, ready for the COP27 climate summit, in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, on November 5, 2022. JOSEPH EID / AFP

 

The UN’s COP27 climate summit kicked off Sunday in Egypt after a year of extreme weather disasters that have fuelled calls for wealthy industrialised nations to compensate poorer countries.

Just in the past few months, climate-induced catastrophes have killed thousands, displaced millions and cost billions in damages across the world.

Massive floods devastated swaths of Pakistan and Nigeria, droughts worsened in Africa and the western United States, cyclones whipped the Caribbean, and unprecedented heatwaves seared three continents.

The conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh comes in a fraught year marked by Russia’s war on Ukraine, an energy crunch, soaring inflation and the lingering effects from the Covid pandemic.

“Whilst I do understand that leaders around the world have faced competing priorities this year, we must be clear: as challenging as our current moment is, inaction is myopic and can only defer climate catastrophe,” said Alok Sharma, British president of the previous COP26 as he handed over the chairmanship to Egypt.

“How many more wake-up calls does the world — and world leaders — actually need,” he said at the opening ceremony.

The world must slash greenhouse emissions 45 percent by 2030 to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above late-19th-century levels.

Warming beyond that threshold, scientists warn, could push Earth toward an unlivable hothouse state.

But current trends would see carbon pollution increase 10 percent by the end of the decade and Earth’s surface heat up 2.8C, according to findings unveiled last week.

Promises made under the 2015 Paris Agreement would, if kept, only shave off a few tenths of a degree.

 Money focus

The COP27 summit will focus like never before on money — a major sticking point that has soured relations between countries that got rich burning fossil fuels and the poorer ones suffering from the worst consequences of climate change.

Developing nations have “high expectations” for the creation of a dedicated funding facility to cover “loss and damage”, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell said on Friday.

“The most vulnerable countries are tired, they are frustrated,” Stiell said. “The time to have an open and honest discussion on loss and damage is now.”

The United States and the European Union — fearful of creating an open-ended reparations framework — have dragged their feet and challenged the need for a separate funding stream.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has called for a “historic pact” to bridge the North-South divide.

“Our planet is on course for reaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible and forever bake in catastrophic temperature rise,” Guterres said recently.

“We need to move from tipping points to turning points for hope.”

 US-China tensions

After the first day of talks, more than 120 world leaders will join the summit on Monday and Tuesday.

The most conspicuous no-show will be China’s Xi Jinping, whose leadership was renewed last month at a Communist Party Congress.

US President Joe Biden has said he will come, but only after legislative elections on Tuesday that could see either or both houses of Congress fall into the hands of Republicans hostile to international action on climate change.

Cooperation between the United States and China — the world’s two largest economies and carbon polluters — has been crucial to rare breakthroughs in the nearly 30-year saga of UN climate talks, including the 2015 Paris Agreement.

But Sino-US relations have sunk to a 40-year low after a visit to Taiwan by House leader Nancy Pelosi and a US ban on the sale of high-level chip technology to China, leaving the outcome of COP27 in doubt.

A meeting between Xi and Biden at the G20 summit in Bali days before the UN climate meeting ends, if it happens, could be decisive.

One bright spot at COP27 will be the arrival of Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose campaign vowed to protect the Amazon and reverse the extractive policies of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro.

AFP

Buhari Appoints Special Assistant On Environment And Climate Change

A file photo of Engineer Hassan Musa
A file photo of Engineer Hassan Musa

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a senior special assistant on environment and climate change.

Engineer Hassan Musa recently retired from the Federal Civil Service as the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment.

The approval of his appointment was contained in a letter dated October 20, 2022 and signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim A. Gambari.

Many States Hit By Flooding, FG Blames Poor Preparation

A file photo of a flooded community in Jigawa State.

 

Several states across the country have continued to experience severe flooding as the Federal Government on Saturday faulted state governments for not heeding early warnings issued by its agencies.

Thousands have been displaced in states such as Anambra, Katsina, Nasarawa, Rivers, Bayelsa, Kogi, and Jigawa in recent weeks.

According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), over 300 people have been killed by devastating floods in 2022.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise on Saturday, Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services (NIHSA), Clement Nze, blamed state governments for disregarding “adequate and timely warnings” and weather advisories issued by the various Federal Government agencies

“If our predictions were heeded by relevant sub-nationals, we will not have been where we are today,” Eze said.

“But I am believing that following this year’s flood disaster across the land, the consciousness of relevant actors especially sub-nationals will be awakened to do the needful once they receive all these advisories.”

He also said the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, earlier in the year wrote letters to state governors informing them of the impending devastating floods of 2022 but some of the governors did not heed the warning.

“They (weather predictions) were out early enough to set the tone for what to expect in the course of the year,” Nze said. “The Nigerian Meteorological Agency came out on February 15 to paint the picture of what to expect and my own agency, Nigeria Hydrological Services, later followed suit.

“The Minister of Water Resources that gave the unveiling of the prediction, the annual flood outlook, issued warnings, issued letters to each state government in Nigeria and relevant ministries like agriculture, environment and aviation, informing them the specific locations in their states they should watch out for during the rainy season.

“The letters were authored by him (minister), signed and sent to the governors, they were informed and the necessary measures they ought to take.”

Presidential intervention?

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with Governors in Abuja over the flooding disasters.

The President encouraged the Governors to meet with the Minister of Water Resources to fashion out solutions.

President Muhammadu Buhari met with some Governors on October 7, 2022.
President Muhammadu Buhari met with some Governors on October 7, 2022.

 

Special intervention funds, the President added, may be arranged after consultations with the minister.

Flooded rice farm

The flooding in Nasarawa state affected one of the nation’s largest rice farms, which may lead to an increase in the staple ahead of the festive season.

In a chat with Channels Television, the farm’s Chief Agronomist, Dr Umar Ismaila, said more than 4,000 hectares of farmland has been submerged due to the floods.

A cross-section of a flooded farmland in Nasarawa state.
A cross-section of a flooded farmland in Nasarawa state.

 

Dr Umar said the incident will have an implication on Nigeria’s food security.

Counting the losses, the farm’s business head and Vice President Olam rice farm, Anil Nair, said in a statement that the losses are huge but can only be estimated once the water recedes.

“OLAM rice farm in Rukubi, Doma local government area of Nassarawa state is seated on a thirteen thousand, five hundred (13,500) hectares land and operates a crop area of four thousand, four hundred (4500) hectares,” the statement said.

“It is the largest rice farm with the state-of-the-art equipment in Africa.”

Lokoja-Abuja highway

As of Thursday, the Lokoja-Abuja expressway was besieged by flooding, forcing the Federal Road Safety Corps to issue a diversion notice.

According to the agency, the flooding has “impeded the free flow of traffic” on the expressway.

It advised travellers to instead “take the Suleja-Bida-Mokwa road, while those travelling to the South-South/South-East regions are also advised to go through Nasarawa-Oweto Bridge-Adoka-Otupka axis.”

The FRSC noted that the diversion was necessary “due to the fact that the water level may take another two or more days to subside.”

Many communities in Kogi State have also been sacked by flooding.

Climate change

Much of the flooding has been attributed to heavy rains and the release of dam water in neighboring Cameroon.

However, experts believe the failure to adequately prepare for climate change has worsened the disaster.

Climate Change: Buhari Reiterates Nigeria’s Strong Commitment To Energy Transition Plan

 

President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in New York restated the commitment of the Nigerian government towards ensuring that there is a rapid and strategic transition to renewable energy in response to the world-wide efforts for the preservation of the environment.

Speaking at a Leaders’ Closed-Door Meeting on Climate Change convened by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, coming before the commencement of the COP27 in November this year, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, President Buhari stressed that his administration had, in august this year, launched a home-grown, data-backed, multi-pronged energy transition plan, which is the country’s framework in achieving net-zero emissions by 2060.


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Highlighting some of the details in the plan, the President said that through the use of emerging technologies and alternative fuels such as hydrogen, bioenergy and waste-to-energy, a pathway would be created for accelerated decarburization of energy systems and harnessing of new and diverse technologies towards low carbon development while aligning to our broader developmental aspirations in a fair and just manner.

Speaking further, the Nigerian leader said, “the plan also sets out a timeline and framework for the attainment of emissions reduction across five key sectors: power, cooking, oil and gas, transport and industry,” adding that, “gas will play a critical role as a transition fuel in Nigeria’s net-zero pathway, particularly in the power and cooking sectors.

“The clean energy goals of the plan include modernizing the power sector with large-scale integration of renewable energy, enhancing energy efficiency and conservation; and is expected to generate 250 gigawatts of installed energy capacity with over 90% made up of renewables.”

Expressing his confidence that the plan would put the nation on the path of prosperity, President Buhari said that a careful implementation would create significant investment opportunities as it will engender the establishment and expansion of industries related to solar energy, hydrogen and electric vehicles.

“It will guide Nigeria’s rapid transition to renewable energy and result in significant job creation with up to 340,000 jobs created by 2030 and up to 840,000 jobs created by 2060 driven mainly by power, cooking and transport sectors.”

He commended Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for his tireless efforts in the preparations for the COP27 and assured him of the support of the Nigerian Government.

Climate Change: VP Osinbajo Meets John Kerry At Presidential Villa

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on Tuesday met the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Kerry who was Secretary of State under the Obama administration, is visiting Nigeria barely two weeks after VP Osinbajo’s returned from his work visit to the United States.

While details of their meeting remains unknown, it is believed to be a follow-up on the Vice President’s proposal for a Debt-For-Climate Swap deal.

During his last visit to the US, VP Osinbajo proposed a Debt-For-Climate Swap deal to achieve a just and equitable energy transition for Africa.

Explaining the DFC concept yesterday during a lecture on a just and equitable energy transition for Africa at the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C, Prof Osinbajo stated that “debt for climate swaps is a type of debt swap where bilateral or multilateral debt is forgiven by creditors in exchange for a commitment by the debtor to use the outstanding debt service payments for national climate action programs.


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“Typically, the creditor country or institution agrees to forgive part of a debt, if the debtor country would pay the avoided debt service payment in a local currency into an escrow or any other transparent fund and the funds must then be used for agreed climate projects in the debtor country.”

Justifying the rationale behind such a debt swap deal, the Vice President submitted that the commitment to it would “increase the fiscal space for climate-related investments and reduce the debt burden for participating developing countries.

“For the creditor the swap can be made to count as a component of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).”

He added that to make this efficient “there are of course significant policy actions necessary to make this acceptable and sustainable.”

The Vice President also proposed the greater participation of African countries in the Global Carbon Market while exploring financing options for energy transition.

According to him, there is a need to take a comprehensive approach in working jointly towards common goals, including the market and environmental opportunities presented by the financing of clean energy assets in growing energy markets.

His words: “in addition to conventional capital flows both from public and private sources, it is also essential that Africa can participate more fully in the global carbon finance market.

“Currently, direct carbon pricing systems through carbon taxes have largely been concentrated in high and middle-income countries. However, carbon markets can play a significant role in catalyzing sustainable energy deployment by directing private capital into climate action, improving global energy security, providing diversified incentive structures, especially in developing countries, and providing an impetus for clean energy markets when the price economics looks less compelling – as is the case today.”

He encouraged developed countries to support “Africa to develop into a global supplier of carbon credits, ranging from bio-diversity to energy-based credits,” which would be a leap forward in aligning carbon pricing and related policy around achieving a just transition.

While also addressing the concerns of the African continent and other developing countries regarding a just transition, Prof Osinbajo noted that “the central thinking for most developing countries is that we are confronted on this issue of a just transition with two, not one, existential crises; the climate crisis and extreme poverty.

“The clear implication of this reality is that our plans and commitments to carbon neutrality must include clear plans on energy access if we are to confront poverty. This includes access to energy for consumptive and productive use and spanning across electricity, heating, cooking, and other end-use sectors.”

According to him, “nearly 90 million people in Asia and Africa who had previously gained access to electricity can no longer afford to pay for their basic energy needs. The inflationary pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic trends have been further exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Countries worldwide have been hit by record prices on all forms of energy. Power prices are breaking records across the globe, especially in countries or markets where natural gas plays a key role in the energy mix.”

Prof Osinbajo sounded a note of caution, saying that “in such a global reality, limiting financing of gas projects for domestic use would pose a severe challenge to the pace of economic development, delivery of electricity access and clean cooking solutions, and the scale-up and integration of renewable energy into the energy mix.”

Speaking on Nigeria’s initiative to combat the unfolding crisis, the VP revealed that the country’s Energy Transition Plan “was designed to tackle the dual crises of energy poverty and climate change and deliver SDG-7 by 2030 and net-zero by 2060 while centring on the provision of energy for development, industrialization, and economic growth.

“We anchored the plan on key objectives including lifting 100 million people out of poverty in a decade, driving economic growth, bringing modern energy services to the full population and managing the expected long-term job losses in the oil sector due to global decarbonization.”

He also emphasized the role that natural gas “must play” in the short-medium term to facilitate the establishment of baseload energy capacity and address the nation’s clean cooking deficit in the form of LPG.

Climate Change Is Real, We All Must Wake Up – Atiku

INEC Denying Atiku Access To Election Materials Despite Court Order, Says PDP
PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, speaks at the International Conference Centre in Abuja on February 13, 2019.

 

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar, has warned that the threats posed by Climate Change are real. 

In a statement via his official Facebook Account, the PDP flagbearer said everyone must begin to take appropriate responsive actions with regards to climate change.


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“Climate change is real. The flooding that has followed torrential downpours in towns and villages in Nigeria—like other places around the globe, confirms this.

“The damage that has been occasioned on account of the floods are troubling. Public social facilities like schools and hospitals have been impacted.
It may be safe to say, however, that no one carries the burden of these floods like our farmers.

“Media reports abound of swathes of farmlands and food crops being washed away.

“The consequence of these losses by our farmers will be felt by all of us. Any hope of a bumper harvest is now diminished. This will further add to misery in our towns and villages, and our cities as food prices continue to soar.

“I share the pains of the victims of these flooding incidents, including communities where their local healthcare centres, markets and schools have been destroyed. Or even individuals who have been displaced. I also sympathise with those who have lost their loved ones.

“Therefore, I urge governments at all levels to unveil a special humanitarian assistance programme to provide immediate succour to the affected communities,” Atiku stated.

According to him, these unfortunate incidents should be a wake-up call to the urgency of everyone’s responsiveness to the issues of climate change and global warming.

He said it is a clarion call that non-governmental organisations must equally harken to and place the focus of their advocacy on sensitising the vulnerable public on how to manage and mitigate disasters of global warming.

Osinbajo Proposes Debt-For-Climate Swap Deal In US Lecture

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo delivered a lecture at the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C on September 1, 2022.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo delivered a lecture at the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C on September 1, 2022.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has proposed a Debt-For-Climate (DFC) swap deal to allow African countries help advance the course of global net-zero emissions targets and facilitate energy access.

According to a statement signed by the Vice President’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo made the proposal during a lecture on a just and equitable energy transition for Africa at the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C, Prof Osinbajo.

He stated that “debt for climate swaps is a type of debt swap where bilateral or multilateral debt is forgiven by creditors in exchange for a commitment by the debtor to use the outstanding debt service payments for national climate action programs.

“Typically, the creditor country or institution agrees to forgive part of a debt, if the debtor country would pay the avoided debt service payment in a local currency into an escrow or any other transparent fund and the funds must then be used for agreed climate projects in the debtor country.”

Justifying the rationale behind such a debt swap deal, the Vice President submitted that the commitment to it would “increase the fiscal space for climate-related investments and reduce the debt burden for participating developing countries.

“For the creditor the swap can be made to count as a component of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).”

He added that to make this efficient “there are of course significant policy actions necessary to make this acceptable and sustainable.”

Global carbon market

The Vice President also proposed the greater participation of African countries in the Global Carbon Market while exploring financing options for energy transition.

According to him, there is a need to take a comprehensive approach in working jointly towards common goals, including the market and environmental opportunities presented by the financing of clean energy assets in growing energy markets.

“in addition to conventional capital flows both from public and private sources, it is also essential that Africa can participate more fully in the global carbon finance market,” he said.

“Currently, direct carbon pricing systems through carbon taxes have largely been concentrated in high and middle-income countries. However, carbon markets can play a significant role in catalyzing sustainable energy deployment by directing private capital into climate action, improving global energy security, providing diversified incentive structures, especially in developing countries, and providing an impetus for clean energy markets when the price economics looks less compelling – as is the case today.”

He encouraged developed countries to support “Africa to develop into a global supplier of carbon credits, ranging from bio-diversity to energy-based credits,” which would be a leap forward in aligning carbon pricing and related policy around achieving a just transition.

While also addressing the concerns of the African continent and other developing countries regarding a just transition, Prof Osinbajo noted that “the central thinking for most developing countries is that we are confronted on this issue of a just transition with two, not one, existential crises; the climate crisis and extreme poverty.

“The clear implication of this reality is that our plans and commitments to carbon neutrality must include clear plans on energy access if we are to confront poverty. This includes access to energy for consumptive and productive use and spanning across electricity, heating, cooking, and other end-use sectors.”

According to him, “nearly 90 million people in Asia and Africa who had previously gained access to electricity can no longer afford to pay for their basic energy needs. The inflationary pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic trends have been further exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Countries worldwide have been hit by record prices on all forms of energy. Power prices are breaking records across the globe, especially in countries or markets where natural gas plays a key role in the energy mix.”

Osinbajo sounded a note of caution, saying that “in such a global reality, limiting financing of gas projects for domestic use would pose a severe challenge to the pace of economic development, delivery of electricity access and clean cooking solutions, and the scale-up and integration of renewable energy into the energy mix.”

Speaking on Nigeria’s initiative to combat the unfolding crisis, the VP revealed that the country’s Energy Transition Plan “was designed to tackle the dual crises of energy poverty and climate change and deliver SDG-7 by 2030 and net-zero by 2060 while centring on the provision of energy for development, industrialization, and economic growth.

“We anchored the plan on key objectives including lifting 100 million people out of poverty in a decade, driving economic growth, bringing modern energy services to the full population and managing the expected long-term job losses in the oil sector due to global decarbonization.”

He also emphasized the role that natural gas “must play in the short-medium term to facilitate the establishment of baseload energy capacity and address the nation’s clean cooking deficit in the form of LPG.”

The Vice President identified some double standards evident in the response to the current energy crisis by many countries in the global North.

According to him, “today excluding South Africa, the remaining one billion people in Sub-Saharan Africa are serviced by an installed capacity of just 81 gigawatts. Sub-Saharan Africa has contributed, based on information that is already out there, less than one percent of cumulative CO.2 2 emissions.

“By comparison, the United States has an installed capacity of 1,200 gigawatts to power a population of 331 million people, while the United Kingdom has 76 gigawatts of installed capacity for its 67 million people. The per capita energy capacity in the United Kingdom is almost fifteen times than in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

He added that “many of these countries had barely a year ago seriously advocated or implemented policies on limiting public funding for fossil fuel projects in developing countries, making no distinction between upstream oil and coal exploration; and gas power plants for grid balancing.

“But today in the wake of the energy crisis, many European nations have made recent announcements to increase or extend their use of coal-fired power generation through 2023, and potentially beyond. This is in violation of their climate commitments and analysis suggests that this will raise power sector emissions of the EU by 4%, a significant amount given the high base denominator of EU emissions.”

Osinbajo then observed that “Europe’s energy crisis has not been ignored, it continues to be met with support, and international resources. In stark contrast, the developing world is still being held to account for its emission reduction without adequate support and investment for its energy transitions.

Acknowledging the contrast to the wider responses to the climate crisis on the African continent, the Vice President said, “we are not seeing careful consideration and acknowledgement of Africa’s aspirations. For instance, despite the tremendous energy gaps, global policies are increasingly constraining Africa’s energy technology choices.”

Nevertheless, the Vice President confirmed that “with the Kigali communique and several other formal and informal consultations, African nations are now happily more intentional in taking joint ownership of our transition pathways and designing climate-sensitive strategies that address our growth objectives. This is what Nigeria has done with our Energy Transition Plan.

“Our Energy Transition Plan finds that an additional $10 billion over business as usual is required annually till 2060 to shift the entire economy to a net-zero pathway.”

On the subject of energy investments, he identified the mismatch in the volume of investments experienced in developed countries as opposed to developing countries.

According to him, “while representing just 15% of the world’s population, high-income countries received 40% of global energy investment in 2018. Conversely, developing countries with 40% of the world’s population received just 15% of global energy investment. This hasn’t improved much in recent years.”

Addressing what the ultimate goal of the global energy transition should be, Osinbajo stated that it is in achieving “reliable net-zero carbon energy systems to power prosperous, inclusive economies.”

Speaking on the Nigerian context, he added that it means “building sustainability into our economic planning, which we had developed in an Economic Sustainability Plan in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes an ambitious plan over the near term to provide 5 million homes and SMEs with cleaner energy through its decentralized solar power program.”

After he delivered remarks at the American think-tank, the Vice President then took questions around the theme of a just energy transition and the recently launched Nigerian Energy Transition Plan.

Members of the Energy Transition Implementation Working Group (ETWG) present at the lecture included the Minister of Works & Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. (Mrs) Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi; Director-General and CEO of the National Council on Climate Change, Salisu Dahiru; Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Dr. Uzoma Emenike, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), Ms Damilola Ogunbiyi; Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, Chiedu Ugbo; and other senior government officials.

African Nations Call Out Climate Injustice Ahead Of COP27

Youth climate activists, some with 1.5 written on their hands, demonstrate outside a plenary session room during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 10, 2021. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP
FILE: Youth climate activists, some with 1.5 written on their hands, demonstrate outside a plenary session room during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 10, 2021. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

 

African countries on Monday called for an end to a “climate injustice” saying the continent causes less than four percent of global CO2 emissions but pays one of the highest prices for global warming.

Government officials, international organisations, NGOs and the private sector from more than 60 African nations attended Monday’s opening of Africa Climate Week in Gabon’s capital to prepare for the COP27 UN climate conference in Egypt in November.

Host President Ali Bongo Ondimba told the gathering the continent has to speak with one voice and offer “concrete” proposals for COP27.

“The time has come for Africans to take our destiny into our own hands,” he said, deploring the global failure to meet climate targets.

“Our continent is blessed with all the necessary assets for sustainable prosperity, abundant natural resources… and the world’s youngest and largest working population,” he said.

“But Africa and the rest of the world must address climate change,” when the UN’s intergovernmental climate panel IPCC “describes Africa as the most vulnerable continent.

“Droughts are causing extreme famines and displacing millions of people across the continent,” Bongo said.

“Today, 22 millions of people in the Horn of Africa face starvation because of the drought and famine, countries in the south of the continent are regularly hit by cyclones, rising sea levels threaten cities such as Dakar, Lagos, Capetown and Libreville.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, head of COP27, which will be held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, said: “Despite contributing less than four percent of global emissions”, Africa was “one of the most devastated by the impacts of climate change.

“Also, Africa is obliged, with limited financial means and scant levels of support, to spend about two to three per cent of its GDP per annum to adapt to these impacts,” Shoukry said, calling it a “climate injustice”.

Denouncing the failure of developed countries to deliver on their climate commitments, he warned: “There is no extra time, no plan B and there should also be no backsliding or backtracking on commitments and pledges.”

AFP

California Says New Cars Must Be Zero Emission By 2035

Cars, SUVs, and other vehicles drive in traffic on the 405 freeway through the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles, California, on August 25, 2022. Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP
Cars, SUVs, and other vehicles drive in traffic on the 405 freeway through the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles, California, on August 25, 2022. Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP

 

California ruled Thursday that all new cars sold in America’s most populous state must be zero emission from 2035, in what was billed as a nation-leading step to slash the pollutants that cause global warming.

The widely touted move has been hailed by environmentalists, who hope it will prod other parts of the United States to quicken the adoption of electric vehicles.

The rules demand an ever-increasing percentage of new cars sold to California’s 40 million inhabitants produce no tailpipe pollutants, until their total ban in 13 years’ time.

“The timeline is ambitious but achievable: by the time a child born this year is ready to enter middle school, only zero-emission vehicles or a limited number of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) will be offered for sale new in California,” the California Air Resources Board said.

The board, which was tasked with finding a way to implement Governor Gavin Newsom’s order to transition the state’s automotive sector, said the health benefits would be significant.

“By 2037, the regulation delivers a 25 percent reduction in smog-causing pollution from light-duty vehicles.

“This benefits all Californians but especially the state’s most environmentally and economically burdened communities along freeways and other heavily traveled thoroughfares.”

From 2026 through 2040 the regulation is expected to result in 1,290 fewer cardiopulmonary deaths, 460 fewer hospital admissions for cardiovascular or respiratory illness, and 650 fewer emergency room visits for asthma, it said.

Popularity

California already accounts for the lion’s share of electric vehicles in the United States, with 1.13 million of them on the state’s roads — 43 percent of the nation’s total.

Their popularity has mushroomed in the years since they were seen as little more than novelty golf carts for tree-huggers content to drive no more than a few dozen miles (kilometers).

Ten years ago only two percent of new cars sold in the state were electric; that figure is now 16 percent, and Teslas and other premium offerings with a range of hundreds of miles are a common sight on roads around Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Still, the vehicles remain more expensive than their fossil fuel-powered equivalents and critics say only federal subsidies of up to $7,500 make them viable for many buyers.

But supporters say the incentives are necessary short-term supports that will fade away as increased adoption boosts economies of scale and drives down prices.

As the biggest auto market in the United States, one manufacturers cannot ignore, California has an outsized influence in effectively setting national standards.

Thursday’s ruling comes on the heels of a climate law signed last week by US President Joe Biden, which sets aside hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives for clean energy programs.

Biden and his Democratic Party are rushing to make up climate policy ground they feel was lost under former president Donald Trump, who yanked the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord and reversed what many environmentalists viewed as already-weak progress in reducing the fossil fuel emissions that drive global warming.

Newsom, a leading light in the Democratic Party, who is rumored to have presidential ambitions, welcomed the ruling.

‘Groundbreaking’

“California now has a groundbreaking, world-leading… roadmap to reducing dangerous carbon emissions and moving away from fossil fuels,” he said.

The reduction in the number of petrol and diesel-powered cars on the roads is equivalent to “915 million oil barrels’ worth of emissions that won’t pollute our communities.”

“With the historic $10 billion we’re investing to accelerate the transition… we’re making it easier and cheaper for all Californians to purchase electric cars.”

In recent years jurisdictions around the world, notably in Europe, have set their sights on the polluting automobile sector.

Norway is aiming to have all new cars produce zero tailpipe emissions by 2025.

The UK, Singapore and Israel are eyeing 2030, while the European Union wants to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035.

Human-caused global warming has already raised average temperatures around the planet, affecting weather patterns and worsening natural hazards like wildfires and storms.

Scientists say dramatic action is required to limit the damage, and point to curbing emissions from fossil fuels as key to the battle.

AFP