The Federal Government says there was need for more effective engagements with the international community to better understand the challenges to the attainment of net zero emissions targets in the energy transition period.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo stated this on Thursday in Abuja while receiving the British Member of Parliament and Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) President-Designate, Alok Sharma, on a visit to Nigeria.
The VP said such engagements envisaged under the Paris Agreement regarding climate change expectations and commitments were necessary to help achieve the targets under the energy transition agenda.
The energy transition involves a movement from the use of fossil fuels to a more environmentally-friendly renewable energy alternatives in line with the global aspiration to attain net zero emissions in the environment.
Speaking on the implications of the energy transition agenda on the Nigeria, Mr Osinbajo said the country’s concern was on what happens to oil and gas emissions towards the attainment of the net zero emissions target.
As a result of the concern, he said the Nigerian government has embarked on the development of a number of infrastructural facilities that would help the country in the conversion of vehicles to cleaner gas.
He identified some of these infrastructures in the areas of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for vehicles, aviation and manufacturing sectors, and conversion of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking and other domestic uses.
Under the ongoing Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) being implemented by the Federal Government, the VP said about five million solar systems would be installed across the country as part of efforts to realize the net zero emission target.
Such a move, he said, was in further demonstration of the country’s commitment to renewable energy and opening up of even deeper opportunities in that space for the country’s economy.
Citing international pressures mounted against financing of gas projects in African countries, particularly economies like Nigeria’s that were still largely powered by oil and gas resources, the VP said there was need to work out how to mitigate these challenges in the energy transition.
“These are existential issues for us. We still can’t use solar to power industries due to the base load (limits). So, we still need to use natural gas. So, there are issues as we go towards fulfilling our obligations to the Paris Agreement,” he said.
“We like to see a great deal more engagements in the energy transition period as we pay attention to the targets. Some of the most important issues for many African countries is that we still have to make sure our economies are functioning well, especially with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
In his remarks, Mr Sharma, who is also UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said that developed countries needed to step up financing commitments to provide $100 billion annually as part of the Paris agreement.
Offering to take back the message, Mr Sharma urged Nigeria to be flexible in the forthcoming negotiations ahead of the COP26 billed for November.
“We have to set up a pathway strategy for the energy transition. We are looking for your support and flexibility for dialogue and negotiations,” he said.
Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, Environment Minister, Muhammad Mahmood and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor also attended the meeting.
Accompanying Mr Sharma on British side were the UK High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing, among others.
At the signing of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, world leaders agreed to tackle climate change with a commitment to make finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.
The UK was named the President of the 26th UN COP26 which is set to be held in November.