13 December 2017

Nigeria, 149 Others Get U.S.$4.5 Billion to Tackle Climate Change

Paris — The World Bank disclosed yesterday that it is partnering with the Global Covenant of Mayors to lend $4.5 billion to ensure Nigeria and 149 other countries get the funds to implement initiatives to increase sustainability and resilience in the fight against climate change.

This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Paris declared that some fundamental restructuring of the economy is required to fight climate change.

He appealed to the international community to support Nigeria's commitment to reducing the negative effects of climate change.

Buhari spoke at the One Planet Summit in the French capital attended by over 60 heads of state and governments, as well as representatives of non-governmental and private organisations, with the theme, 'Climate Change Financing'.

At the Summit, the World Bank noted that its investment of $4.5 billion would ensure cities battling the increasing threats of climate change have the required funds to implement sustainable initiatives and climate resilience programmes.

According to the global bank, the partnership will help countries leverage the private sector by developing bankable business plans, structuring public-private partnerships to crowd in private sector investment, monetizing increases in land values, and designing and implementing credit enhancement mechanisms to allow commercial financing to cities.

The partnership brings together the largest global alliance of cities committed to tackling climate change with the world's leading development institution to design and structure climate resilient investments and to catalyze new sources of capital to finance them in cities across the globe.

The bank noted that the lending will occur over the next three years under the umbrella of the World Bank's City Resilience Programme (CRP), and will draw on resources from IFC and MIGA to provide financial and technical assistance to 150 cities, including current and future Global Covenant cities, to drive climate ambitions forward and upwards and build greater resilience to climate and disaster risks.

The partnership will be inclusive and open to the full spectrum of investors, from multilateral development banks and international financial institutions, to institutional investors, private investors and local commercial banks.

Ultimately, this collaboration between the Global Covenant of Mayors and the World Bank will help ensure cities realize the investment potential of their climate action commitments, and will have the ability to contribute to their government's NDC investment plans in order to meet their Paris Agreement targets.

The World Bank also disclosed that to align its support to countries to meet their Paris goals, it will no longer finance upstream oil and gas after 2019.

It however said in exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to financing upstream gas in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit in terms of energy access for the poor and the project fits within the countries' Paris Agreement commitments.

The World Bank stated: "The World Bank Group will continue to support investments highlighted at the One Planet Summit which demonstrate opportunities to crowd in different kinds of finance in transformational areas. This includes accelerating energy efficiency in India; scaling up solar energy in Ethiopia, Pakistan and Senegal among other countries;

"Establishing a West Africa Coastal Areas investment platform to build resilience for coastlines of West African countries (partnering with WAEMU, NDF, GEF, GFDRR, AFD, AfDB); and introducing the City Resilience Platform (partnering with the Global Covenant of Mayors) so that up to 500 cities will have access to finance for resilience to climate change.

"Similarly, 237 companies with a combined market capitalization of over $6.3 trillion have publicly committed to support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

"This includes over 150 financial firms, responsible for assets of over $81.7 trillion. The TCFD announced the growing support at the One Planet Summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron celebrating the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

The Task Force, led by Michael R. Bloomberg and established by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which is chaired by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, developed voluntary recommendations on climate-related information that companies should disclose to help investors, lenders, and others make sound financial decisions".

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday in Paris that some fundamental restructuring of the economy is required to fight climate change.

He appealed to the international community to support Nigeria's commitment to reducing the negative effects of climate change.

In a submission to the One Planet Summit at the French capital, the president said, "We cannot implement our Nationally Determined Contribution without adequate financial, technical and capacity building support from the developed countries."

"Since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, we have been strengthening our national efforts towards the implementation of the Agreement and the Marrakech Call for Action, and Nigeria had already ratified the Paris Agreement in May 2017".

President Buhari, however, said the country's nationally determined contribution to reduce emission by 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030," cannot be attained alone.

According to him, having wriggled out of recession recently, Nigeria is under no illusion of the challenges that it faces.

"Nigeria recognizes that ensuring sustainable funding is a major constraint in efforts to implement the Nationally Determined Contribution", Buhari stated, adding that "to respond effectively to climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges, critical mass of financial resources beyond what we can provide from our national resources will be required".

On steps Nigeria has taken to meet its national goal in this respect, he said the country has "embraced the issuance of the green bond as an innovative and alternative source of projects funding that would help reduce emissions and provide robust climate infrastructure, such as renewable energy, low carbon transport, water infrastructure and sustainable agriculture in line with the Paris Agreement".

In furtherance of efforts to deliver on the country's pledges, the president said the government is "tightening the existing governance structure in Nigeria for more effective implementation of climate change activities, including the additional responsibilities that are consequent on the adoption of the all-encompassing climate change treaty",

He also stated that the Nigerian government is actively promoting technologies and practices such as sustainable land management, climate resilient agriculture, water efficiency, clean energy, and skills for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, among others, noting that sustaining these efforts will also require external support.

Other measures required, he said, included "accelerating Research and Development on facilitating Access to Climate Friendly Technologies, through technology pooling and collective approach to financing Research and Development, regulating restrictive practices in licensing agreements and anti-competitive uses of Intellectual Property and International Declaration on Climate Technologies".

Buhari continued: "In Nigeria, we are looking at insurance-based proposals to deal with loss, damage and adaptation to the poor, vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups. Risk mitigation through insurance must benefit those groups who currently have negligible access to any form of indemnity coverage.

"Vulnerable groups will also benefit from new technologies and ways to make insurance schemes affordable, including through long term premium support".

Recognising the fact that "the adverse impacts of climate change such as temperature rise, erratic rainfall, sand storms, desertification, low agricultural yields, drying up of water bodies like Lake Chad, gully erosions and constant flooding are a daily reality in Nigeria", President Buhari admitted that highly vulnerable communities lack the capacity to cope.

He said Nigeria would require external assistance in the following areas: A long term solution for a source of clean power, which can be achieved through private investments to create economic competitiveness for industrialization, job creation and agricultural programmes throughout the country; and the inclusion of Nigeria in Climate Regional Programmes, especially strong financial support to our planned project for the replenishment of the Lake Chad.

The president noted hat "this long term solution will ensure sustained livelihood for rural and urban communities, and permanently address the conditions conducive to the spread of violent extremism and terrorism, and stem illegal migration especially of" Nigerian youths abroad.

President Buhari had before the summit, attended a luncheon hosted by his French counterpart in honour of visiting Heads of State and Governments at the Elysee Palace.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has lamented that countries are not yet winning the war on climate change.

Describing climate change as "a defining challenge of our time", he said the Paris Agreement lays the basis for ambitious action.

He stated: "We are not yet winning the war on climate change -- the defining challenge of our times. But we know that current commitments will not get us there.

"Every day, in every region, the front pages are dominated by weather-related disasters - storms, floods, droughts, fires".

He observed that the past five years have been the hottest period on record, saying "we are in a war for the very existence of life on our planet as we know it, but we have an important ally - science and technology".

He pointed out that all around the world, cities, regions states and territories are taking climate action and setting their own ambitious targets.

He noted that finance could be, should be and will be the decisive factor in terms of the difference between winning and losing the war.

According to him, today's global financial system is awash with funds, noting that tens of trillions of dollars are earning low or even negative interest rates.

He said, "But the opportunities for productive and profitable, low-carbon, climate-resilient investment are vast. Renewables are now cheaper than coal-powered energy in dozens of developed and developing countries, creating the basis for sustainable energy for all.

"It is also a fact that fossil fuels remain heavily subsidized - meaning we are investing in our own doom. I have heard it said that the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones".


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