Let’s Engage More on Transition to Zero Emissions, VP Osinbajo Tells Visiting COP26 President-Designate

Nigeria has called for more effective engagements in the international community to develop a better understanding on the challenges involved in the attainment of Net Zero emissions as envisaged under The Paris Agreement regarding Climate Change expectations and commitments.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, raised the issue this afternoon while receiving at the Presidential Villa, British Member of Parliament and COP26 President-Designate, Mr. Alok Sharma, who is currently on a visit to Nigeria.

While restating Nigeria’s support and commitment to the Agreement, Prof. Osinbajo explained that “our concern is what happens to oil and gas emissions like ours (Nigeria) in the transition period” leading to the Net Zero emissions target.

He disclosed that for instance, Nigeria is already moving towards the conversion of vehicles to cleaner gas – Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, and also converting to Liquified Petroleum Gas, LPG, for cooking.

The Vice President added that under the ongoing Economic Sustainability Plan, the Federal Government is also going to be installing 5 million solar systems across the country in further demonstration of the country’s commitment to renewable energy, and opening up of even deeper opportunities in that space.

But he cited international pressures being mounted against financing of gas projects in African countries with economies that are still largely powered by oil and gas.

Prof. Osinbajo said, “We need to work out how to mitigate the challenges of the 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 be using gas. So, there are issues as we go towards fulfilling our obligations to the Paris Agreement.

“We like to see a great deal more engagements in the 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 pandemic.”

In his remarks, Sharma, who is also the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, conceded that developed countries need to step up and meet up financing commitments to provide $100B annually as part of the Agreement and offered to take the message back.

According to him, “we have to set up a pathway strategy for the transition.” He asked that Nigeria be flexible in the forthcoming negotiations ahead of the COP26 billed for November, adding that, “we are looking for your support and flexibility for dialogue and negotiations.”

Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama; Environment Minister, Muhammad Mahmood; his Minister of State colleague, Sharon Ikeazor; were also at the meeting. On the British side with the MP were the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom in Nigeria, Ms. Catriona Laing CB, 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 Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) which is set to hold later this year in November.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
11th February, 2021