From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
According to estimates of the international experts, the Federal Government is currently leading a voluntary Carbon Market worth $1 billion on the continent, a novel and creative Climate Change solution that will, during the period of energy transition, create millions of new employment in Nigeria alone.
According to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is a member of the recently established international steering committee for the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI), it aims to promote the emergence and expansion of the market in Africa. He said this is part of the Federal Government’s efforts to achieve the global net-zero emissions target.
In a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, besides Osinbajo, other members of the Committee of the ACMI, which would be announced early in November at the COP27 meeting in Egypt are former President of Colombia, Ivan Duque Marquez; President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, among others, including officials of the United Nations, USAID, Gates Foundation and other international private sector players.
According to ACMI’s projections, Nigeria may create up to 30 million carbon credits yearly by 2030, which, at $20 per credit, would be worth more than $500 million a year.
ACMI further estimates that, “at this level of production, the industry could potentially support over 3 million Nigerian jobs. And Nigeria has only a portion of Africa’s total potential—the impact for the continent as a whole could be far greater.”
The jobs would span the period of the energy transition, starting from the time the market is able to kickoff, till 2060.
Also on the committee are the CEO of UN-based Sustainable Energy for All, Damilola Ogunbiyi; Deputy Director, Gates Foundation, Samuel Thevasagayam; Chief Climate Officer, USAID, Gillian Caldwell; Chair of Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets, Annette Nazareth; and CEO, Verra, David Antonioli.
In addition, the CEO, M-PESA Africa, Sitoyo Lopokolyit; Managing Partner, Hartree, Ariel Perez; Director, MENA Voluntary Carbon Exchange, Riham EIGizy; CEO Conservation International, M Sanjayan; Vice President, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), and Africa Director, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, Joseph Nganga, complete the list of distinguished personalities on the committee.
The Committee will be inaugurated at the forthcoming International Climate Change Conference in Egypt tagged COP 27, with the aim to lead advocacy for the realisation of the Carbon Credits initiative as an effective way of reducing emissions while financing green growth across Africa.
The Carbon Credit initiative gives the use of green energy for commercial and residential uses top priority. For instance, the conditional element of Nigeria’s and other African countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement could be supported by carbon credits.
Nigeria’s carbon credit potential is centered in household devices and forestry sectors, both of which would garner large benefits. While household appliances like solar lights and clean cookstoves help to increase energy availability and improve health outcomes, carbon forestry credits help to preserve Nigeria’s abundant biodiversity and encourage sustainable livelihoods.
As part of this vision, Nigeria aims to pioneer innovative climate solutions that will benefit Africa and the world. One of these solutions is the production and sale of carbon credits, which have enormous potential for Africa that is only beginning to be explored.
According to the statement, the Federal Government is actively looking into ways to help the domestic carbon credit market expand as well as plans for how carbon credits may best spur investment and economic expansion.
The statement added that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo’s ongoing climate leadership has won applause for Nigeria with FG’s policies in place to support the development of the industry. Building on Nigeria’s history of climate action, the President signed the Climate Change Act of 2021 providing a framework for national coordination on climate change issues.
Some of the efforts for which the Buhari administration is globally acknowledged include the creation of the National Council on Climate Change, which President Buhari inaugurated last month, with the authority needed to drive major emissions reductions.
Also, Vice President Osinbajo launched the Federal Government’s Energy Transition Plan in August 2022, a detailed strategy outlining how Nigeria will reach global net zero emissions by 2060 while eliminating energy poverty.
To further support the domestic production of carbon credits, the Federal Government is developing a carbon credit activation plan. This plan will clearly identify responsibility within the government for the regulation and promotion of carbon credits, and will outline a set of actions government can take to support the industry.