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Climate coalition calls for Nigeria blueprint for Copenhagen talks

By Guardian Nigeria
30 September 2009   |   5:29 am
GIVEN the mounting global concern over the Earth's changing climate, a coalition of civil society group has warned of the possibility of a backlash on the nation's economy, if the Nigerian government fails to take action to pursue a national blueprint for the Copenhagen talks.

The group, Nigeria Climate Action Network (Nigeria Can) gave the warning at one -day workshop on Climate Change Negotiations for Environment Editors organised by the network in partnership with Christian Aid and Voluntary Service Organisation (VSO) in Lagos.


The workshop sought to keep the media abreast of negotiations and issues with a view to empowering practitioners with the requisite knowledge and skills to better present to the public the pressing challenges of climate change and Nigeria’s response to them.

The event was also part of a project entitled “Copenhagen and Beyond”, which goal is to use evidence-based arguments to lobby for equitable emissions reductions from industrialized countries and for international support for mitigation and adaptation in poor countries, while taking steps to demonstrate the potential of a low carbon economy, nationally and regionally.

Nigeria Can Coordinator, Mr Ewah Eleri, who doubles as the Executive Director, International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) disclosed that the country could face serious impacts on its economy and needs to articulate its positions on international issues on climate change and to engage the private sector to douse tensions arising from the global debates.

Among the issues under negotiation are adaptation to climate change, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation, financing adaptation and mitigation measures and technology transfer to developing countries.

The likely impacts of international policy measures on Nigeria, Ewah said, include the long-term reduction in demand for crude oil, projected lower crude oil prices, reduction in government revenue, balance of payment crisis and long-term, economic adjustment problems.

Eleri lamented that three months to the December talks in Copenhagen, government is yet to toe the line of other nations to inaugurate a negotiating team and drive the process of arriving at a national position on some of the key issues and interests like protection of its oil-dependent economy, adaptation to impacts on climate change, and ensuring a just transition to a low carbon economy that stimulates growth and reduces poverty. Others are increasing financial flow from new sources of finance from the climate treaty and, ensuring market expansion for clean energy technologies to boost power supply.

Nigeria Can argues that government being a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol has taken the back seat during negotiations and lacked broad participation by stakeholders in the preparatory process. He added that officials attend most negotiating meetings without clear Nigerian positions on the key issues. The group further noted that the excuse of having an African position at the summit should not overide having a country position, which will form the main ground for the continental submissions.

“Nigeria requires powerful coalitions to promote development of policy instruments, increase access to climate change information and forge clearer positions on international negations. This will form the basis for climate change adaptation and mitigation at individual, social and corporate levels, and better position Nigeria in the international climate arena.

“There must be a framework for consultation with all stakeholders. Nigeria must develop clear positions based on our national interests and obligations to the international community. Our positions must be in the public domain and we must have an identifiable negotiating team,” he said.

Head of Internews Network, Nigeria, Josie Kamara noted that the media can play the role of a socialization agent to shape and influence public actions and attitudes towards environmental and climate change issues, but noted that there are limitations having to do with making stories more relevant to audiences, raising the profile of adaptation and the perspectives of the poor, and reporting on ways to address climate change that bring additional benefits.

By Chinedu Uwaegbulam, Assistant Housing & Environment Editor