President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), today (September 28, 2022), inaugurated the National Council on Climate Change, charged with the mandate to formulate appropriate policies toward achieving green growth and sustainable economic development for Nigeria.
During the inauguration, before today’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, the president said the inauguration marked the commencement of the implementation of the Climate Change Act 2021 and a new chapter in the renewed response to climate change in the country.
The president also directed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to, in conjunction with the Minister of Environment, initiate appropriate amendments to ”noticeable implementation challenges” inherent in the Act.
Highlighting the losses and damages caused by the recent increase in floods in several parts of the country, the president described climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing humanity.
”It (climate change} is complex and dynamic and requires multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral initiatives to address its impacts and avert its rapid advance.
”Updated data show increases in sea level rise, heat waves, wildfires, floods, desertification, drying wetlands and many more disruptive climate occurrences.
”The latest inter-governmental panel on climate change report warns that rising Green House Gas emissions could soon outstrip the ability of communities to adapt, and the window for taking decisive steps needed to spare our planet from the gravest impacts of climate change is rapidly narrowing.
”We cannot ignore what is happening in our local environment. The increasing re-occurrence of floods in several parts of the country is a wakeup call,” he said, as he lamented the loss of lives [as well as] damage and destruction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and agricultural production.
President Buhari, therefore, reiterated the determination of his administration to strengthen the national response to climate change and accelerate the implementation of decisive actions to reduce its impacts on the people and economy.
He reaffirmed that Nigeria is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is an established international treaty to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”, in part by stabilising Green House Gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
”It is against this background that, in November 2021, after COP 26 in Glasgow, I signed the Nigeria Climate Change Act despite noticeable implementation challenges inherent in the Act, to set the framework for mainstreaming climate change action, carbon budgeting and the establishment of the National Council on Climate Change.
”The council is tasked with the responsibility of formulating appropriate policies and other mechanisms for achieving low Green House Gas emissions, including green growth and sustainable economic development for Nigeria.
”In a clear demonstration of our commitments as enshrined in our Nationally Determined Contributions and the Net Zero-Target by 2060, I also approved, on 25th July 2022, the appointment of the director-general and secretary for the National Council on Climate Change.
”It is imperative, therefore, that those lapses earlier alluded to – which include the establishment of states and zonal offices creating a huge and costly bureaucracy –are not acceptable. The Act also takes out the commissioners of environments from the states as members of the council, [but] it also did not make transitional provisions capturing the work of the Inter-ministerial Working Group.
”This group was responsible for energy transition, the supervisory oversight of the Ministry of Environment and the establishment of an executive management structure at the secretariat level to support the DG in running the council’s secretariat.
”Accordingly, I hereby direct the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in conjunction with the Minister of Environment to initiate the appropriate amendment to reflect these observations.”
Ahead of COP27 in Sharm El Shiekh, Egypt, the president expressed optimism that the council on climate change would harmonise all issues relating to climate change, energy transition plan, emissions trading scheme and the Carbon Trading Framework, in line with its mandate under the Act, so that Nigeria can have a robust and impactful outing that captures Nigeria’s climate change priorities.
He said the composition of the council is a reflection of the magnitude of the problem and the seriousness of our response, adding that it comprises the highest level of governance and a representation of all key sectors of the economy.
President Buhari also used the occasion to thank Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for heading Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, presiding over the global launch of the plan and initiating its marketing by engaging key stakeholders in the United States.
He urged the council to consolidate on these first steps and ensure sustained marketing of the plan.
In his remarks, the Minister of Environment, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, thanked the president for ”walking the talk” on climate change at the international, regional and national levels, demonstrating immense leadership towards Nigeria’s quest for net-zero by 2060.
A statement by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, said the council is chaired by President Buhari, with the vice-president as vice chairman and the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum as member.
Other members of the council are the ministers responsible for the environment, petroleum resources, budget and national planning, justice, mines and steel development, finance, agriculture and rural development, power, women affairs, transportation and water resources.
The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the national security adviser, the president of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) a representative of the private sector on climate change or environmental-related matters (representative of the National Conservation Foundation), a representative of the National Council on Women Societies, a representative of the National Youth Congress and a representative of the civil society organisations are also members of the council.
The director-general of the council, Dr. Salisu Dahiru, will serve as secretary.