Keynote Address by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Clean Energy Transition Event, organized by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), on Monday November 7, 2022, on the sidelines of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), and delivered by the Hon. Minister of Environment, Mohammed H. Abdullahi.
Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen
It is truly a delight to be a part of this event, and to discuss the significant role of the clean energy transition in delivering both climate and energy access goals.
Without a doubt, we are at a critical time with respect to the world’s climate future and our actions today and over the next few decades will determine the fate of future generations and the planet. This year, we have witnessed disastrous extreme weather events from terrifying wildfires in the United States, to unprecedented heat waves in India, Pakistan, and Europe, to intense floods in my country, Nigeria,. From early summer till now, devastating floods have affected about 33 states in Nigeria, displacing over 1.4 million people, destroying over 100,000 hectares of farmland and causing about 600 deaths. In addition, we are witnessing increased desertification, erosion, and pollution in the country; the impacts of which are too severe to ignore. These glaring climate signals indicate that we do not have the luxury of time when it comes to the impacts of climate change.
For developing nations particularly in Africa who, despite contributing the least to both historical and current emissions, are facing climate impacts to a disproportionate degree, the case for accelerated climate action is even more pressing. As will be strongly demanded here at COP27, we need to see urgent and decisive climate action from the countries most responsible for the emissions that cause climate change. We cannot afford any more delays; our people and nations are on the line. The blame game should stop, affirmative and positive commitment to address these challenges must begin NOW.
We are committed to tackling climate change by embarking on bold actions ourselves. African nations are demonstrating commitment via the signing of the Paris Agreement, the submission of highly ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and spending up to 9% of GDP in addressing climate change.
However, as we seek to pursue our climate ambitions, we are acutely aware of other pressing concerns that must be addressed; not least of which is the energy poverty on the continent. With energy consumed for electricity, heat, and transport accounting for over 70% of global emissions, we acknowledge that a rapid energy transition must be at the centre of our climate efforts, but we also know that we need significantly more energy.
These energy deficits have staggering quality and length of life ramifications. For instance, the clean cooking deficits lead to about 500 million premature deaths from household air pollution in Sub-Saharan Africa annually, and due to the electricity deficits, half of secondary schools and a quarter of health facilities in the region have no power.
African nations, and in fact most developing countries, must balance contributing our quota to the global climate response with resolving our significant energy needs. The clean energy transition is perhaps our main tool to achieve this. As we sought to scale our climate mitigation efforts, the Federal Government of Nigeria recognized the need for an extensive clean energy transition while providing sufficient energy to meet the needs of the 92 million Nigerians without access to electricity and the 175 million Nigerians without access to clean cooking solutions.
Consequently, in 2021, Nigeria became the first African country to design a detailed Energy Transition Plan to tackle the dual crises of energy poverty and climate change and deliver universal access to energy (SDG7) by 2030 and net-zero by 2060. Our plan details pathways for significant low-carbon buildout of energy systems across 5 keys sectors: Power, Cooking, Transport, Industry, and Oil & Gas, and within its scope, 65% of Nigeria’s emissions are affected.
Although our plan recognizes the role of gas as a transition fuel for delivering clean cooking solutions and baseload power capacity, renewable energy is the bedrock of our transition pathway. Nigeria is set to deploy an unprecedented amount of renewable energy capacity to deliver the energy access and climate goals of our transition plan. For example, the plan calls for the deployment of about 5.3 Gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity every year till 2060 with the inclusion of storage and hydrogen. The plan envisions vibrant industries powered by low-carbon technologies; streets lined with electric vehicles and livelihoods enabled by sufficient and clean energy; this is an exciting vision.
We have developed this audacious plan and adopted it as a national policy, but the critical thing now is delivering the plan’s targets. Our analysis shows that Nigeria would need to spend about $410 billion above business-as-usual spending to deliver our transition plan by 2060. This translates to an additional $10 billion in annual spending, and we need support from international partners to mobilize this level of resources. In this regard, we are engaging the G7 to request the inclusion of Nigeria in the G7’s Climate Partnerships List for the co-creation of a Just Energy Transition Partnership.
Between 2000 and 2020, just $3 billion per year was invested in renewable energy in the whole of Africa. This was barely 2% of global renewable energy investment in the same period. A balanced and just approach to the clean energy transition must recognize that finance is key and currently skewed away from the developing nations that need it most. Making capital available in Africa for the buildout of clean energy systems is central to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. In addition to conventional capital flows from public and private sources, it is also essential that Africa can participate more fully in global carbon markets and pioneer innovative instruments like debt-for-climate swaps.
For our own part as developing economies, we are undertaking strategies and reforms to create the enabling environment for the needed investments. In Nigeria, we have implemented several sector reforms such as the Power Sector Recovery Programme; put in place enabling incentives like the three-year tax holiday for independent power generation; and made investment-grade data and tools such as the Nigeria Integrated Energy Planning Tool publicly available to demonstrate our investment readiness and commitment to the transition. We are updating our Mini-Grid regulations to be flexible to private sector induced investments, raise the licensing cap and developing the policy for the integration of utility-scale solar into our grid to advance a shortlist of identified energy transition projects including Renewable Solar Independent Power Plants (IPPs), and scaled Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) projects, to name a few.
In closing, I thank partners such as Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) and Bloomberg Philanthropies that have shown support for a clean energy transition in Nigeria, and I call on investors and the global community to recognize the immense investment opportunities and potential for impact in Nigeria and the Global South at large. We thank Bloomberg for understanding the situation as ‘a do nothing scenario’ will be a major draw back towards a global net zero ambition. Let’s come together at this crucial time in the world’s history to deliver a just, clean and thriving world.
Thank you for your kind attention.