CHAIRMAN of the United Bank of Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, says Nigeria and other African countries should set the agenda at the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), set to hold in Egypt on November 6.
Elumelu disclosed that since the African continent contributes less to carbon emission yet suffers a great deal in terms of adaptation, and resilient measures, among other adverse effects, it should lead other members to action rather than just talking without practicable moves to drive climate actions.
In a statement to The ICIR on Wednesday, the UBA chairman emphasised the continent’s vulnerability stressing that climate variability was not just a threat to the future but a current threat to human survival.
“As the world continues to experience the daily impact of global warming, whether the tragic recent flooding in Pakistan or the less covered, but equally harmful, persistent environmental degradation of Africa’s Sahel region, leaders need to act, not just talk.
“Equally, Africa should not just be in the conversation, but actively set the agenda.”
“While Africa’s 3.8 per cent contribution to global emissions is immaterial compared to others, we are the most vulnerable region to the effect of climate change. Africa’s rain-fed agriculture focus, and a large share of agriculture in Africa’s GDP, add to the continent’s vulnerability. It is clear that climate change is not just a threat to the future, it is also a threat to the present,” he stated.
Elumelu observed that though global conversations around climate change have been drumming support for green and renewable energy, African nations should prioritise a blend of traditional and green energy sources to tackle their power deficit.
The submission, he stated, formed the crust of his discussion during a recent meeting with the former Secretary of State and current United States of America’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Senator John Kerry, along with the Chief Executive Officer of Heirs Oil and Gas (HHOG), Osa Igiehon, at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
He emphasised that Africa must be realistic about the inequalities existing between its continent and the rest of the world.
He observed that Africa has a significant energy deficit, with a substantial amount of its population living with minimal or no electricity; thus, for Africa to transit fully to green and renewable energy sources, Elumelu noted it would require considerable investment.
This, according to him, cannot be done at the expense of the drive to urgently address the current energy deficit.
“Green energy transition must allow room for Africa to power its development and sustain its economic growth. Anything else will be potentially detrimental to us all. There must be an equitable transition – that is why I welcome the US’s recent recognition of this concept in its much-awaited Africa strategy announced earlier this month,” he stated.
Meanwhile, through its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the Nigerian government committed to reducing carbon emissions pledged to reduce GreenHouseGases unconditionally by 20 per cents and conditionally by 45 per cent.
The objective was also to support the nation’s economic and social growth such that the economy could witness at least 5 per cent annual growth with considerable improvement in the standard of living.
Part of the activities designed to achieve the climate change commitment were the Green Bond initiative, the Great Green Wall afforestation project in the 11 frontline states in the northern part of the country, and the renewable energy projects championed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) across selected federal universities and markets in the country, to mention but few.
While insisting that Africa cannot completely do away with the conventional power source, he rolled out an ongoing partnership with the HHOG to provide up to 12 million standard cubic feet of gas per day into the Eastern Nigeria Domestic gas hub.
Also, a gas-fired electricity generation pathway with the Transcorp Group operating an aggregate of approximately 2000 megawatts and a renewable project is being developed.
“We cannot afford to ignore traditional energy sources to power basic needs, but equally, we cannot ignore our responsibility to future generations in developing alternatives,” he stated.
The international meeting will hold from Sunday, November 6, to Friday, November 18, in Sharm El Sheikh, the 27th UN Climate Change Conference.