PAYING FOR OUR CLIMATE

THE NIGERIAN CASE: CHALLENGES AND WAY FORWARD

The idea of paying for our climate, otherwise regarded as Climate Financing [CF] is a very important one that should be emphasized and publicized at a time like this. This is because the brunt of climate change (such as worsening food security, drought and desertification, land degradation, wide spread of diseases in the tropics, decline in agricultural productivity etc.) is taking its toll, most especially on vulnerable countries (developing countries) that are poor, have less capacity to fight climate change threats, contribute less to climate change and at a time when the U.S is pulling out of the Paris Agreement and nations’ response to climate financing is an issue of great concern.

Thus, in a bid to combat the causes and effects of climate change globally, nations through special agreements are to give and/or receive funds to achieve the objectives of climate change. This step is important now to help solve these crises, in the midst of the worst decade of humanitarian crisis over the world: the severe famine in Africa (Somalia), Niger-delta crisis, kidnappings and the deep terrorism in northern Nigeria etc.

However, nations, especially developing nations like Nigeria find it hard to access arrays of funds for several adaptation and mitigation projects like the drying Lake Chad, Ogoni clean up, energy from renewable sources etc. whose progresses are stalled but are critical to the wellbeing of people in Nigeria because of reasons ranging from corruption, lack of accountability and transparency in the use of previously disbursed funds.

So, what is climate financing and the various finance mechanism available for tackling climate change? How has the funds for climate change been managed among recipients? What are the consequences of corruption and failure to comply with financial promises, weak institutional policies etc. on execution of climate financing, especially in Nigeria? What is the effect of the U.S withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord on climate finance and how do we help ourselves out? These critical issues are what the reflections here respond to.

What is Climate Financing?

Climate financing (CF) is the provision and control of funds to countries, especially developing countries, who have least resistance to climate change threats, so they can be equipped to tackle the causes and effects of climate change, by employing effective adaptation and mitigation strategies from the funds provided.

According to Climate Tracker, “it is an array of funds to finance mitigation and adaptation strategies to climate change”.

Wikipedia, defines climate finance as financing channeled by national, regional and international entities for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects and programmes, which are usually climate specific support initiatives.

Generally, the main types of climate finance known are the;

­­˗˗˗mitigation finance which seeks to provide funds for projects that reduces the onset of climate change. These projects are renewable energy projects, green environment initiatives, reforestation and other low-carbon initiative.

˗˗˗adaptation finance are project’s funds projects to help nations hit with climate change impacts to adjust themselves to climate change so their citizens can be well off.

˗˗˗the REDD+ are funds provided for projects that cut across emission reduction, stopping deforestation and land degradation, forest protection and sometimes carbon-trading schemes.

How are these funds disbursed?

There are several United Nations (UN) bodies, government and private bodies tasked with the responsibility of climate financing. Some of these are;

˗˗˗The Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is one of the major means for climate financing by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with the goal of promoting adaptation, sustainable development and decreasing emissions in developing countries by raising $100 billion annually by 2020, though it is currently falling short of this target, with $10.3 billion (10.3%) in total raised so far from donor governments as of December 2016, though with some achievements of 552 million anticipated tonnes of Co2 equivalent avoided, 87million anticipated number of people with resilience covering 85 countries worldwide[GCF].

˗˗˗The Global Environment Facility (GEF), which was established in 1991, as a partnership of countries that party to UNFCCC, seeks to address global environmental issues, including climate finance. The GEF has provided $14.5 billion funding over the years, plus $75.4 billion in complementary private finance to about 4,000 projects.

The GEF has funded a total of 67 projects in Nigeria and her regional constituency (that includes nations like Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Sierra Leone) from a total financing of $374,758,301.

The GEF also manages other funds like the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), which is to finance projects relating to adaptation; technology transfer and capacity building; energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management; economic diversification and also the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) established to support a work programme to assist least developed countries parties carry out inter alia, the preparation and implementation of National Adaptation Programs of Actions (NAPAs).

˗˗˗The Adaptation Fund (AF) is a fund for projects and programmes that help vulnerable communities in developing communities adapt to climate change, according to each country’s need and priorities.

The AF established under the Kyoto protocol of the UNFCCC has committed US$438 million in 67 countries since 2010 to climate change adaptation and resilience activities. Climate change has affected the poorest people in the world greatly, from areas of worsening of food security, flooding, rising sea level, rapid development and spread of new diseases and other threats to human health. It is in this view that the AF was established to cater for the needs of the most vulnerable countries. The AF is financed in part by government, private donors, and from two percent share of proceeds of Certified Emission Reduction (CERs) issued under the protocols Clean Development Mechanism Projects.

The GCF, GEF, SCCF, LDCF, AF and other funds are expected to flow not only from governments, but also from several private sources. The funding may be bilateral or multilateral in nature, from developed –developing countries, or from developing-developing countries, developed-developed countries and even domestic climate finance as explained by FIG.1 below.

FIG 1: Financial flows for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. Note that the UNFCCC mechanism includes the various funds under the GEF as well as the AF.

Source: Wikipedia

Author (s): Atteridge, A., C. Kehler Siebert, R.J.T. Klein, C. Butler, P. Tella

Climate finance in Nigeria and why it is important in the local fight against climate change

According to Frank Ackerman (G-24 Discussion Paper №57), he stated that “climate change creates a crisis for economic development, which has historically been synonymous with high-carbon growth. It is essential for the world economy to make a rapid transition to a new, low-carbon style of growth. Developed countries might be expected to pay a large share of the total global costs of this transition, due to their ability to pay and their historical responsibility for causing the problem”.

However, the size of climate financing to Nigeria over the years has not been comprehensive enough. The percentage share that gets to Nigeria relative to her size and her climate change challenges, as compared with other nations is disturbing and unconvincing. The share from the Climate Technology Fund (CTF), as seen from the CTF factsheet, revealed that Nigeria has U.S$250 million approved for her in the CTF financing, while her counterpart like South Africa has U.S$500 million and this is the trend with other funds from climate financing institutions.

According to the department of climate change, Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Environment, it was gathered that till date, Nigeria has leveraged $63 million of multilateral funds for climate change projects [Overseas Development Institute, 2015]. This is broadly equal to that which Rwanda received, a country whose population is only 7 percent of Nigeria’s while we receive just a tenth of the total funding approved for South Africa.

Considering the level of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, vulnerabilities to climate change impacts (the drying Lake Chad, declining agricultural productivity, famine, water scarcity, Ogoni environmental issue in Rivers state, Nigeria and the Niger-Delta Crisis etc.) and the amount of funding to developing countries as a whole, we then see how unfair Nigeria has been treated in the area of climate financing.

Also, domestically, Nigeria has not really been able to. Nigeria is yet to seriously, locally finance climate change projects from public-private partnerships, taxes, etc.

Climate finance has reached some reasonable level in the last few years but is still below the level required to achieve low-carbon and climate-resilient growth that we all desire in the world all over.

This is how climate finance is summarily in Nigeria.

However, the various climate finance mechanisms are very much important to our local fight against climate change because if sufficiently provided and monitored, it will help to cater for the many people affected by climate change effects in Nigeria and her close neighbours.

According to a report from a journalist on 14th April 2006, Andrew Bomford wrote that “the Lake Chad which used to be 15,000 square miles of water now has less than 500 square miles of water due to global warming”. This shrinking lake has to be resuscitated, as it is home to millions of people who depend on it for farming, fishing and animal husbandry. If not, social and economic problems will continue to arise like we have seen in the nations that the lake borders, such as cases of terrorism, famine, drought etc.

FIG 2: Shrinking Lake Chad

Source: Venture Africa

Flooding is another climate change problem in Nigeria, which is affecting everyone, destroying lives, properties and bringing untold losses to fish farming and farming in general. Adequate provision for stopping and guarding against flooding makes CF necessary for Nigeria.

FIG 3: Lagos Flood Case

Source: Konibi Website

Worsening food security arising from irregular rainfall pattern has made food unavailable, inaccessible and even at an unbalanced ratio to people. Because of this problem of rainfall variability, herdsmen in northern Nigeria now push southward to feed their cattle on the cultivation of farmers, resulting in serious famer’s vs herdsmen clash in Nigeria. Grazing field needs to be created for these herdsmen, where they can satisfactorily feed their cattle, but serious funds are needed to achieve this; a role climate finance can play well.

FIG 4: Famine in North-east Nigeria

Source: Vanguard Nigeria

There is now a high rate of desertification and drought in Nigeria, especially in the north-east region as a result of global warming, thus making the few cultivable lands there uncultivable or unproductive anymore.

FIG 5: Drought and Desertification in Nigeria

Source: Sahara Green Company

The Ogoni Clean-up project is also a big issue that needs swift implementation as residents of this community are seriously affected, their jobs and health inclusive.

Nigeria, is one of the least contributors to climate change, according to the 2011 Union of Concerned Scientists report on each country’s share of CO2 , revealed Nigeria not be among the top twenty nations with the highest carbon emission share, however, Nigeria remains one of the most vulnerable to climate change threats and cannot by herself finance adaptation and mitigation strategies. It thus implies that if climate change aids do not come as it should, various problems can results that will affect her citizen’s wellbeing, neighbouring countries and the world at large.

To execute and bring to reality the various approved projects like the Ogoni clean-up in Rivers state Nigeria estimated to gulp about $1 billion (USD), resuscitation of the dry Lake Chad estimated to gulp about $15 billion, the Green Great Wall, coastal protection structures project, electrification from renewable energy, technology transfer and human capacity building geared towards full green economy landscape, Nigeria will need massive international climate financing.

To this end, we see how important climate finance mechanism is important to the local fight against climate change. It is evidently clear then, that Nigeria needs support especially in the area of adaptation strategies, as a lot of damages has been done to the Nigerian communities from climate change. However, capacity development as well as mitigation strategies are needed for all because we know that prevention is better and cheaper than cure.

Challenges to accessing climate funds in Nigeria

As much as the pledges from various UN bodies and private donors exist, unfortunately, Nigeria has not been able to access as much as it should. This is probably because of:

i. conflict of interest between the Nigerian government and the donor agencies. For instance, currently, Nigeria seeks to exploits her coal resources to generate power. This coal-power generation is expected to produce about 4,300 megawatts per year for twenty years. For this project, Nigeria will need support especially from World Bank, however, it remains unlikely that such project will be financed by World Bank as it is an unclean energy form and is in contrast with global climate objectives. This is a reason why Nigeria will always find climate finance so difficult to access.

ii. Nigeria has not been transparent and accountable over the years in the area of international aid; the case of climate adaptation and mitigation strategies fund not properly used.

According to the 2016 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Nigeria both in 2015 and 2016 ranks 136 out of 176 countries with a score of 26 and 28 out of 100 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

NB: 100–1 score represent very clean-very corrupt in that order on the CPI.

FIG 6: 2016 Corruption Perception Index

Source: Transparency International

It suggest therefore, that, if financial aid will be provided for Nigeria and even African countries, the war on corruption must be total, comprehensive and unbiased, with the use of efficient anti-corruption strategies and full empowerment of anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.

If we must continue to enjoy adequate climate funds, we must pull corruption down to its lowest level.

iii. the climate financing structure is nebulous, tedious, and erratic. The funding provided by developed countries to developing countries is inadequate and the difficult process of accessing these funds from climate financing institution makes it worrisome.

There are too many implementing agencies whose roles are not clearly defined in the funding.

The Call To Action

There, must be just use of financial instruments to protect and improve socio-economic wellbeing of citizens and the environment.

Government at all levels in Nigeria must become more accountable, responsible and make wise use of funds that get to us.

The Nigerian government needs to develop local climate financing mechanisms like Bangladesh did, in the face of scarce climate change funds from international donors. Our institutional policies must be strengthened with a comprehensive sectoral reform that supports climate finance and supports us as well.

The U.S withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord is not good for everyone at a time like this, because of how much influence the U.S has. The U.S should probably reconsider her decision. In this situation, other developed nations should rise up to the challenge of climate financing projects and initiatives all over the world.

Africa is one of the most vulnerable to climate change, if neglected in financing our climate, we will all stand to bear the consequences as we are seeing already in the areas of forced migration and terrorism which is now a global problem. Hence, all hands should be on deck; individuals, civil society organizations (CSOs), donor agencies and governments to ensure proper monitoring and evaluation of climate funds to Nigeria and Africa in general, as the current finance will determine to a large extent what the future holds for us in our climate change objectives.

Climate finance must therefore be adequate and additional to other types of aid but in a just and equitable manner.

Climate financing should be central to every objective to tackle climate change.

I hope more deliberations and positive outcomes will result for Africa and Nigeria in particular at the COP23 that is set to hold in Germany in November.

We cannot relax our guards now in the battle against climate change. Making the world a better place is our joint responsibility and everyone must be committed to it.

There is hope for Nigeria! There is hope for Africa! There is hope for our World!

Now is the time to do more. Now is the time!

˗˗˗ Olufemi Michael O. August 2017

michaelolufemi92@gmail.com