COP 27: Enough of the Talk

Victor Emeruwa

As the Conference of Party (COP 27) on Climate Change ends in Egypt, hopes are high that leaders in government, the public sector, policy experts, and scientists will finally take more action and do less of the talk as the urgency to cut emission to the recommended 1.5 degree Celsius by the end of 2030 nears. In its position, Sterling One Foundation urges leaders to move fast in reaching the Paris Agreement, a most crucial step to cutting rising temperature and its attendant consequences.

When Simon Stiell announced that the ambitious Paris Agreement goal on carbon cutting is yet unreached almost a decade after 193 countries signed up to the agreement; the room was still, silence and reflection covered the ballroom where the stock-taking technical session was held, at the just concluded Climate Change Conference of Party (COP27) in Egypt. Simon Stiell is the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary.

“The global stock-take is an ambitious exercise, it’s an accountability exercise, it’s an acceleration exercise, it’s an exercise that is intended to make sure every party is holding up their end of the bargain, knows where they need to go next and how rapidly they need to move to fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement,” Simon Stiell said to the gathering of government leaders and advocates for Climate Justice at Egypt’s COP 27.

The Paris Agreement was reached in 2015 among 193 countries plus the European Union. It contained an ambitious global goal to reduce carbon emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius; at 1.5 degree Celsius by the end of the century, the planet can be considered safe for human and plant habitation. The journey to that goal is at best less aggressive than would be expected for a planet in peril. “Although progress has been made in cutting global temperature, these efforts remain insufficient to limit the global temperature rise of 1.5 degree Celsius by the end of the century,” Stiell said.

A UN Climate Change report published in October 2022; shows how countries are bending the global greenhouse gas emission curve downward. According to the report “combined Climate pledge of all 193 parties under the Paris Agreement can at best put the world on track for around 2.5 degrees Celsius of warming at the end of the century, it is still far from the 1.5 degree Celsius target”.  The report spells the need for top urgency.

The Sterling One Foundation while adopting its position on the recently concluded COP 27 in Egypt made an emphatic call on global leaders; particularly African leaders to waste no more time: “Let’s accelerate action on the Climate. We have little or no time” said Olapeju Ibekwe, head of Sterling One Foundation.

Olapeju insists that now that the talks are over, and the conference is ended, it is time to put aggressive action to work in order to reach the several resolutions, targets, and goals reached at the regional or global level especially the attainment of the Paris Agreement.

Making reference to the consequences of Climate Change which is now evident in flooding as recently experienced across Nigeria, Olapeju bears her concern on the lack of consistent push for lasting solutions and warns of the danger of inaction and strategic coordination on the part of government and the policy community. “Time is running out, and nature is in emergency mode. There has never been a more urgent need to revive damaged ecosystems than now and we need urgent action to address these pressing issues” she urged a shift from “harming the planet to healing it” through concerted efforts and strategic partnership across government and development organizations.

Recall that Nigeria suffered weeks of perilous flooding in September, about 12 States were most hit by the devastating flood, a replica of the 2012 flooding which sacked communities, washed off farmlands, and caused human fatality. “What have we learned from this incident? What are we doing to avert future occurrence?” Olapeju queries the level of preventive actions from relevant authorities, urging for system strengthening for effective flood prevention and better response. Flooding is just one sign of a raging climate, other pressing issue that require government attention is heatwave, deforestation experienced mostly in Northern Nigeria.–which is partly responsible for herders/farmers’ conflict.

The response to Climate Change remains a call to collective responsibility; it is an urgency to save the planet from extinction. At COP 27, the agenda for Africa going into the conference was clear; In COP 27 African countries prioritized energy security and the development of a stable and reliable energy mix that will support the continent’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. The major challenge for Africa is governance challenge, legislative frameworks, and the inability to follow through with signed international protocols and conventions. As of September 2022, 49 African countries out of 54 had ratified their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) indicating their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the increase in global temperature. However, ratification does not translate to booth-on-the-ground action. Only 1 African country has submitted content of its national working plan of action to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse emissions in compliance with the Paris Agreement.

Nigeria’s representation at the COP 27 already had an agenda “We are focused on ensuring that we bring the issue of loss and damage to the fore and we are already making progress in this regard, because during the Pre-Cop engagement the COP 27 President, Sameh Shoukry highlighted flood related issue with particular reference to Nigeria and Pakistan amongst other nations as one of the key issues on the agenda for discussion, already the issues of the flood are linked to loss and damage and that is of priority to us as a nation.” Muhammed Abdullahi, Nigeria’s Minister of Environment said.

“In addition, Nigeria as the leader of the PAN African Agency for the Great Green Wall will focus on climate finance to support its activities in the Sahel Region, particularly in the most endemic Northern states described as the front line states where there is fast approaching desert encroachment and of course wetland drying up, these and others are huge issues that we will be focusing on,” The Minister said “Part of what we will do is to galvanize the action plan for Africa to push for a positive climate funding action from the developed countries, that is why the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan is aligned to ensuring that we get the requisite funding for a smooth transition to renewables without which it will be very difficult to deploy infrastructure to support our mini-grid, deployment of solar and support bio-fuel African countries and developing countries indeed understand that funding is important in whatever position COP 27 will take,” he noted. Know ko ko ko

*Emeruwa is a journalist in Abuja.

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