The Nigeria Climate Change Act of 2021 came into effect with the aim of mainstreaming climate action and stimulating the growth of the green economy in Nigeria. Nigeria like every other country faces the imminent threats of climate change and the need for a shift in a way of doing business for a transition to a zero-carbon economy. Following the publication of the ten-year climate change policy which provides a vision for the country’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, the climate change act as a piece of legislature provides the institutional framework for the creation of policies and interventions to slow down the emission of greenhouse gases while driving development. In this article, we want to delve into the nitty-gritty of this act and its bearing on the future of the green business in Nigeria.
- The National Council on Climate Change (NCCC)
Policies are the fulcrum of sustainability and effective sectoral transformation; therefore, the provision of the establishment of the NCCC through the act is imperative. In the provision of the act, the NCCC is saddled with the power to make policies and decisions on all matters relating to climate change in Nigeria. The NCCC in partnership with other MDAs will now coordinate the development of a periodic Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan which will last for 5 years will lay out the blueprint for Nigeria’s carbon budget essentially capping annual GHG emissions for different sectors of the economy while providing incentives for compliance with the set targets in line with the NDCs of Nigeria. As part of its oversight functions pertaining to the Action plan, the council will facilitate programs and policies geared toward climate planning, vulnerability assessment, and technical assistance for the implementation of related interventions across the country.
Policies are the fulcrum of sustainability and effective sectoral transformation; therefore, the provision of the establishment of the NCCC through the act is imperative.
- Carbon Tax & Carbon Trading
Carbon taxing is becoming a standard practice globally as part of efforts to slow down global CO2emissions therefore it is impressive that carbon Taxes have been embedded in the new act. In Nigeria, the Carbon Tax Act was enacted on the 1st of June 2019, however, this act has been largely docile due to the lack of a body to enforce it, now with the NCCC Carbon Tax can be effectively levied. While carbon taxes are primarily designed to slow down carbon emissions, they have been leveraged to generate revenue and provide additional inflow for funds like the Climate Change fund which is part of the provisions of this act. While carbon taxes are laudable and necessary, they call for a high level of accountability, and transparency in reporting from all sectors. For this, to work, the NCCC will have to mobilize and develop a robust framework to monitor, audit, and ensure compliance in reporting and payments of these taxes.
- Annual Sustainability Reporting
Going forward according to the provisions of the act it is now mandatory that private entities and public institutions set up a climate change desk to be managed by a climate change or sustainability officer. The job of the climate change/sustainability officer will be to document and report on the organization’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. What this means is a surge in demand for sustainability experts and an avalanche of green jobs across various sectors. There will also be a need to intensify the training of new professionals who will take up these green roles as they become a standard in the country.
One of the most important provisions of the Climate Change Act is the establishment of the Climate Change Fund
- Climate Change Fund
One of the most important provisions of the Climate Change Act is the establishment of the Climate Change Fund which is put in place to amongst other things fund innovative climate mitigation and adaptation projects, support climate advocacy and information dissemination and incentivize private and public efforts towards the transition to clean energy and sustaining a reduction in GHG emissions. This fund will be made accessible through grants and donations to critical stakeholders and actors in environmental space. The fund will also serve as reposit for intervention funds coming from international donors and partners to fund several climate change-related programs in the country.
The enactment of this policy is a positive step and a significant gain in the efforts to tackle climate change in Nigeria. With proper implementation, this policy will create a new vista of opportunities for actors in the green economy. It is therefore important that attention is given to implementation efforts to get this policy off the ground. Amongst other things partnerships will play a key role in the success of this policy hence the need for the NCCC to create a framework for attracting and aggregating local and international partners. As a regulatory body with the power to enforce compliance, the NCCC must create a set of metrics that mirror global standards and uphold these standards at every cost knowing that climate change is a social and existential issue. There will also be a need for intense knowledge sharing and capacity building across different sectors to help stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities in the new business landscape as provided by this act. The climate change fund as a vehicle of climate financing is an excellent means of accelerating green growth and sustainable development, it is essential therefore that the NCIC engage with stakeholders especially the people on the frontline of climate vulnerabilities to ensure that funds are allocated to projects and programs that align with the needs of people who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially women and youths.