Nigeria’s Climate Imperatives at COP28: Charting a Green Course

With the 28th United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP28) imminent in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023, Nigeria faces a critical juncture in addressing the escalating climate crisis. The aftermath of COP27, which witnessed the establishment of a loss and damage fund, underscored the urgency for transformative climate action, particularly for vulnerable nations like Nigeria.

As global temperatures soar and climate-related disasters intensify, COP28 assumes paramount significance. Nigeria grapples with the harsh realities of climate change—droughts, erratic rainfall, and devastating floods—that demand a strategic approach to align the nation’s expectations with COP28’s green objectives.

Preparations for COP28 should transcend mere event readiness; they should weave seamlessly into Nigeria’s overarching climate and environmental policies. The nation’s stance, as articulated in Africa’s common climate position during the Africa Climate Summit, serves as a foundation for collective continental negotiations.

To harness the full potential of COP28, Nigeria must internally fortify its climate resilience. This necessitates robust structures and strategies capable of translating the decisions and resolutions from COP28 into tangible national benefits.

A pivotal priority lies in addressing Nigeria’s energy crisis through an accelerated transition to renewable energy. COP28’s emphasis on slashing emissions aligns with Nigeria’s Renewable Energy Master Plan, offering a golden opportunity for the nation to secure climate financing. Yet, success hinges on a comprehensive strategy, collaborative partnerships with the private sector, and a coherent approach to climate financing.

Amidst the global push for a green transition, Nigeria must craft a climate-positive economic development plan. While advocating for climate action, the nation must navigate the intricate global politics surrounding climate change. A phased transition away from fossil fuels aligns with sustainability goals, steering Nigeria toward a climate-resilient future.

The loss and damage fund, a COP27 milestone, retains its centrality in Nigeria’s COP28 priorities. Advocating for increased climate action, equitable finance distribution, and transparent fund utilization should be at the forefront. The recent breakthrough in Abu Dhabi provides optimism, but Nigeria’s success hinges on strategic positioning, robust data, and a commitment to transparency.

COP28 stands as a pivotal moment for Nigeria on the global climate stage. A clear roadmap, a commitment to just transition, and strategic partnerships will be instrumental. As the world anticipates meaningful outcomes from COP28, Nigeria has a unique opportunity to address its climate vulnerabilities and set a course toward a sustainable and climate-resilient future.

Professor Olanrewaju A. Fagbohun is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Professor of Environmental Law, and consultant for RouQ and Company Legal Advisory Services and Environmental Law Research Institute.

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