COP28: Developed Countries Responsible for Most Greenhouse Emissions, Says Nigeria

COP28: Developed Countries Responsible for Most Greenhouse Emissions, Says Nigeria

*Tony Elumelu convenes global leaders to curb negative impact 

*Nigeria, 116 other countries agree to triple renewable energy, cut fossil fuels 

*NNPC, NMDPRA discuss challenges

Deji Elumoye and Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

Nigeria yesterday declared that climate change and its consequences gripping the planet are attributable to actions of the developed world, which it said are responsible for most of the greenhouse emissions.
Minister of Environment, Balarabe Lawal, who said this while speaking with newsmen on the margins of COP28 summit in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, stressed that the Nigerian delegation to the climate change conference was determined to canvass a position that benefits the country and its people.


Also at COP28, founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu, has convened global leaders to drive immediate and equitable climate action for Africa.
Besides, he announced a partnership to fund young African entrepreneurs in green energy sector with Ikea Foundation, Dutch Government, and UNICEF Generation Unlimited.
Elumelu is one of Africa’s leading advocates for an equitable marshal plan for climate action and through the foundation has empowered thousands of green entrepreneurs , shaping a more sustainable future for Africa.


“The main focus of this year’s conference has to do with the issue of adaptation and mitigation. And the biggest issue is those of loss and damage, which I think is one that affects most of us because we have for a long time been victims of climate change, which is not really our own making.
“It is the making of the industrialised world that has created a lot of climate issues that have affected vulnerable countries, of which Nigeria is part of it. Desertification, coastal erosion and a lot of issues that led to all this. So, this year, I think we are lucky,” the minister said.


He assured that the summit would be good for Nigeria given the positions already expressed by President Bola Tinubu at the event.
Lawal said Nigeria would present its feelings on the various issues on climate change effects and remediation.
“I think this year’s COP is going to be very good for us…That’s why you see a large number of people from Nigeria coming because they’re going to various sectors: the issue of carbon grading, the issue of mitigation, the issue of methane, which the president, yesterday, highlighted Nigeria’s position,” he added.
He pointed out that the advanced world had stated their positions and are already paying $30 billion in that area, with over $100 billion in the area of loss and damage.


The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, has also stressed that Nigeria has secured the agreement of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to set up humanitarian response stations across the country in a bid to bring timely succour to victims of disasters.
Speaking in Dubai, after interacting with officials of the Emirate, she stated that Nigeria sought the assistance of the UAE to tackle humanitarian crises arising from insurgency, particularly in the north-east as well to end the endemic poverty in other parts of the country.
Edu stated that the UAE Red Crescent, which is equivalent to the Red Cross, was now ready to build a more resilient humanitarian response system across the country.


“We have held a lot of interactions at different levels. With the government of the UAE, that’s interacting with the Minister for Tolerance in the country who happens to be a brother to the president. We spoke extensively on how we can work together to pull millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
“We have had interactions with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General, who is one of our own. We have had interactions with the president of the Islamic Development Bank and it’s centered on humanitarian response, and other poverty alleviation programmes that they can come in to support the country.
“And then finally, we had interaction with the Red Crescent, which is like the Red Cross here in Dubai and they are ready to come into Nigeria and support us to build a more resilient humanitarian response system across the country,” she added.


She blamed climate change for the humanitarian crises and poverty in most parts of Nigeria, noting that it has driven people to insurgency and caused security problems in the country.
“Most of our humanitarian crises are as a result of climate change and most of the poverty which we are tackling is as a result of climate change.
“The flooding which you see every other time in Nigeria is as a result of climate change. And of course, there are issues around the drying up of the Lake Chad Basin, as well as the Sahel and the rest of it, which has led to people losing their livelihoods. Over 40 million persons who depend on this Lake Chad Basin have lost their livelihoods.


“Now these people have become very vulnerable. They go into poverty and they can now become easy prey for people who want to recruit into all of these terrorist organisations that are causing insurgency.
“We can’t be trying to bring people out of humanitarian crises and then allowing more people to fall in as a result of climate change. And that’s why we are at this meeting,” she noted.


Meanwhile, Elumelu, through his Foundation, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and in partnership with the United Bank for Africa (UBA), which he chairs, hosted a high-level session at COP28, bringing together Africans, and key players in the Gulf, Europe, and Americas, where UBA operates.
The dialogue took place with speakers, including Dr. Ngọzi Okonjo-Iweala, DG, WTO; Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, UNDP, Kevin Frey, CEO, UNICEF Generation Unlimited, among others.


“Addressing climate change remains the paramount challenge of our era. The urgency is unmistakable; there is no room for delay. It is imperative that we enhance our efforts to tackle these issues and establish the groundwork for a sustainable future.
“It is critical that Africa, as a continent, and African voices, play a key role in global climate conversations, as meaningful participants, and no longer as bystanders – Africa must actively set the agenda,” he said.


Elumelu, who represented the African private sector at the 2023 New Global Financing Pact in Paris on the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, and the  Climate Finance Mobilisation Forum in London, at the invitation of King Charles III of the United Kingdom and US President Joe Biden, continues to empower and champion young African entrepreneurs.
At the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) in New York, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) launched a first-of-its-kind Green Entrepreneurship Programme, the #BeGreenAfrica Initiative, in partnership with the IKEA Foundation,  Dutch Government and UNICEF GenU, to support green entrepreneurship and youth development.


Okonjo-Iweala said:  “I am proud of what my brother, Tony Elumelu, has done in empowering and inspiring so many young entrepreneurs. We have no choice; the future is green. The future of growth is two things – it is green, and it must be inclusive.
“I am very interested in partnerships with organisations like the Tony Elumelu Foundation because I don’t want to duplicate what someone else has done.”
Eziakonwa said: “The reason why UNDP associated itself with the Tony Elumelu Foundation years ago is because of the leadership and courage of the Foundation to trust and invest in young Africans. It was one of the first organisations in the world to do so at that scale.”
In response, Tony Elumelu shared that the UNDP has partnered with the Tony Elumelu Foundation to empower thousands of young Africa, with an ambitious project to impact the lives one million young Africans in the Sahel region of Africa.


Sergio Pimenta, VP, Africa at IFC, also stated: “Tony, I salute you and your Foundation for what you have been doing to support young entrepreneurs in Africa. The IFC has deployed $2billion in funding for African SMEs in the last fiscal year and we are very excited to be able to do more working with you.”
Kevin Frey, CEO UNICEF Generation Unlimited added: “Tony, you have been on our Global Leadership Council since day one, when the UN Secretary General launched the UNICEF Generation Unlimited. Under your leadership, we have really moved in a concerted way into the entrepreneurial space.


“We, Generation Unlimited, now have a flagship programme with the Tony Elumelu Foundation called #BeGreenAfrica, which was launched in Kenya, and now with the support of the IKEA Foundation and the Dutch Government, we have scaled to Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, and Senegal.
“We will train and seed 500 green entrepreneurs this year in the pilot project across those countries. So Tony, thank you so much, you are right it is all about partnerships and we are happy to be partnering with the Tony Elumelu Foundation.”


Wendy Teleki, Head of the Women Entrepreneurs Financial Initiative at the World Bank, announced: “Our women-focused initiative has been able to secure $3.6 billion to finance women entrepreneurs in 67 countries across the world, and is set to launch a new programme focused on financing African women entrepreneurs to drive the continent’s green energy transition, and we are keen to work with the Tony Elumelu Foundation.”

Mattias Frumerie, Swedish Climate Ambassador and Head of UNFCCC Delegation stated, “My Government and I commend the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s incredible impact across Africa, and will facilitate connections between the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and the Swedish embassies across Africa to drive innovation, digitalisation, and green-energy transition, which promises to bring about new jobs and growth.”

Adam Wang-Levine, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate, added: “Before coming to the United States Treasury, I was working in venture capital, and I know first-hand that it is incredibly important what the Tony Elumelu Foundation is doing. I have seen two pillars of their work that are very helpful – financing and the mentorship – just as I have seen with Silicon Valley, which helps to drive innovation and jobs creation. We are excited to begin partnership conversations.”

Muyiwa Akinyemi, Deputy GMD, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group, announced, “For us, UBA, we are a platform for market access into 20 geographies in Africa today. Everything that we do is around Africa, and that is why we have partnered with the Afrexim Bank to launch the $6billion fund for SMEs with a focus on import substitution to SMEs working in four key areas including climate emission reduction.

“We are also building a platform called UBA Market place, that will support Africans, especially women and youth – because Africa has a youth opportunity.”

A Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur from Madagascar in the green economy, Marie-Christiana Kola, shared a compelling impact story attributing the success of her business to the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s intervention and support in 2022.

Earlier in the day, Elumelu joined other global leaders, including Ajay Banga, President of World Bank Group; Brian Moynihan, Chair of the Board and CEO of Bank of America; Ms. Ruth Porat, President, Alphabet and Google; and Ms. Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of Steve Jobs and Founder & President of Emerson Collective as a panellist in a session titled “Big, Audacious and Green: A Convergence of Visionaries”, to be moderated by Børge Brende, President of World Economic Forum.

At the gathering, Elumelu made a call to global partners to join The Tony Elumelu Foundation Coalition for African Entrepreneurs.

On Sunday December 3 Mr. Tony Elumelu, also participated in a fireside conversation with Ms. Teresa Ribera, Vice President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Change, moderated by Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and closing remarks from Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, Nigeria and some 116 other governments at the weekend pledged to triple the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030 as a route to cut the share of fossil fuels in the world’s energy production.

The pledge was among a slew of COP28 announcements aimed at decarbonising the energy sector, which is the source of around three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The promise included expanding nuclear power, cutting methane emissions, and choking off private finance for coal power.

“This can and will help transition the world away from unabated coal,” said Sultan al-Jaber, the United Arab Emirates’ COP28 summit President.

Led by the European Union, United States and UAE, the pledge also said tripling renewable energy would help remove CO2-emitting fossil fuels from the world’s energy system by 2050 at the latest.

Backers on Saturday included Brazil, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Canada, Chile and Barbados.

While China and India have signalled support for tripling renewable energy by 2030, neither backed the overall pledge which pairs the ramp-up in clean power with a reduction in fossil fuel use.

The EU and UAE want the renewable energy pledge included in the final United Nations climate summit decision, to make it a global goal. That would require consensus among the nearly 200 countries present, Reuters said.

While deployment of renewables like solar and wind has been surging globally for years, rising costs, labour constraints and supply chain issues have forced project delays and cancellations in recent months, costing developers billions of dollars in write-downs.

Hitting the target for 10,000 gigawatts of global installed renewable energy by 2030 will also require governments and financial institutions to hike investments and address the high cost of capital that has stymied renewable energy projects in developing nations.

Africa has received just 2 per cent of global investments in renewable energy over the last two decades, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said.

More than 20 nations also signed a declaration on Saturday aiming to triple nuclear power capacity by 2050, with US climate envoy John Kerry saying the world cannot achieve “net zero” emissions without building new reactors.

“We are not making the argument that this is absolutely going to be the sweeping alternative to every other energy source,” Kerry said during a launch ceremony at COP28.

“But … you can’t get to net-zero 2050 without some nuclear, just as you can’t get there without some use of carbon capture, utilisation and storage,” Kerry said.

Global nuclear capacity now stands at 370 gigawatts, with 31 countries running reactors. Tripling that capacity by 2050 would require a significant scaling up in new approvals – and finance.

In the same vein, nearly 50 oil and gas companies including Exxon Mobil signed the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter, an initiative driven by COP President Sultan, al-Jaber to cut operational emissions by 2050.

The charter was criticised by environmental groups who said the commitments were merely a distraction from the COP28 process and fail to deal with the emissions caused by burning fossil fuels.

Also, several governments, philanthropies, and the private sector said they had mobilised $1 billion in grants to supports countries’ efforts to tackle the potent gas.

The World Bank also launched an 18-month “blueprint for methane reduction” that will set up 15 national programs aimed at cutting methane emissions from activities like rice production, livestock operations, and waste management.

Meanwhile, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari joined other global personalities in Dubai, UAE, to brainstorm on climate issues and its rising complexities.

On the sidelines of the 2023 United Nations COP28, Kyari, together with the Special US White House Presidential Envoy on Climate, Kerry, and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of America, Mr. Brian Moynihan, and other global personalities, engaged one another in discussions on climate issues at a reception, a statement by the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC, Olufemi Soneye, said.

Also, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has said that over $575 billion capital investment opportunities could be created for Nigeria through its Industry Sustainability Initiative (NISI).

The Authority’s Executive Director Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC), Mustapha Lamorde, also speaking at the ongoing COP 28, said the investment opportunities, would be created through decarbonisation of operations.

He listed infrastructure and technological development, green economy improvement, stakeholder management and human capital development as other areas that the opportunities could be created.

Lamorde spoke on the sideline of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2023 (COP28) in Dubai, where the Authority hosted a panel session on Nigeria’s Pathway to Energy Sustainability and the Role of NMDPRA.

On the panel were Anibor Kragha, Executive Secretary of the African Refiners & Distributors Association (ARA), Mansur Alkali, Authority’s Executive Director, Midstream and Downstream Gas Infrastructure Fund (MDGIF) and Abel Nsa, Senior Technical Adviser on Transition Energy to the minister of state, Petroleum Resources (Gas).

A breakdown of the investment opportunities highlighted sector by sector by Lamorde were; $272 billion in power, $127 billion in infrastructure, $96 billion in oil and gas processing optimisation, $80 billion in industry and $2.8 billion in clean cooking.

He said achieving this requires strong government commitment and collaboration with the private sector using technological innovation.

Kragha, on his part, said the NMDPRA and the Nigerian government should harness funding opportunities for gas projects from international financiers dealing with agriculture as gas plays a key role in the sector.

He urged the NMDPRA as the regulator of the Midstream and Downstream industry to develop a decade-by-decade plan to decarbonise the mid/downstream with bankable projects that would elicit finance from foreign donor agencies.

Also speaking, Alkali explained that the Midstream and Downstream Gas Infrastructure Fund (MDGIF), set up pursuant to section 52 of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was pivotal to accelerating investments along the gas value chain.

Nsa, in his intervention, said the Host Community Development (HCD) framework as launched by the commission for upstream operations amongst other benefits would ensure oil and gas assets are adequately protected to ensure uninterrupted production and supply which is critical to midstream operations.

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