By Uchegbulam Eleazer Ngozi…
In line with the United Nation’s resolution in Paris concerning Climate Change, the whole world has embarked on an intensive movement to tackle the fossil fuel carbon emission which has caused harmful effects and deteriorations to the climatic change experienced in our time. Despite the importance of energy to the economic development of a society which is as vital as the need of air to sustain life since every single activity is more or less dependent on energy, yet there has been a current global shift of energy generation from fossil fuel projects which is drastically harmful to the climate to a more cleaner, reliable and affordable energy generation source.
This current global shift has triggered a great need for international and national economic adjustments. In this regard, countries that are banking on their fossil fuel for development lack the capacity to assess carbon risks and may be left behind by shifts in investment and credits. Several questions comes to mind when comparing countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, Mali etc who solely depend and hope on fossil fuel discoveries for economic developments and transformation. What will be the state of these countries in the nearest future?
It is in this respect that the World Bank and other international Agencies have resolved to fight and dissuade these countries on fossil fuel projects. Speaking at the One Planet Summit at Paris, Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank said that the Bank will no longer fund oil and gas projects in 2019 thereby signaling and inducing a global shift in funding towards a cleaner energy. Also, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FOEN)Executive Director, Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo, has asked the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other international financial institutions to stop funding fossil fuel projects.
In his speech, he said “In as much as we want to see the World Bank Group go beyond words and follow through with concrete actions, other financial institutions must desist from fossil fuel oil projects”. He noted that sustained funding on oil and gas projects would obstruct the pace for a cleaner and safer world. The solution as opined by him would be to invest in an alternative renewable energy.
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In addition, the Global Initiative for Food, Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) and other related organizations within Africa have called on the African Development Bank (AfDB) to stop financing coal power plants in Nigeria and other African Countries. They stated in their protest letter of May 28th, 2018, that the AfDB in line with its “Light Up Africa Vision” should redirect its funding towards a universal assessment of renewable and modern energy in 2023. The GIFSEP Coordinator, David Michael urged the Bank, Nigeria and other African countries to work towards a cleaner, more efficient and sustainable energy with solutions to control pollution and mitigate climate change than coal.
In the face of all the global efforts to stop funding fossil fuel, we tend to ask ourselves this question and answer it accordingly. What will be the fate of the Nigerian Government where sole dependency on fossil fuel is swinging towards a catastrophic disaster? What should be done to provide a stable ground for our economy and nation? In view of the above, forces and efforts should be unified to dissuade full dependency on fossil fuel projects and aim at 20C UN Climate Regulation adopted in the Paris Agreement. Sub-Saharan developing countries like Nigeria should intensify efforts to enhance renewable energy development and suspend fossil fuel projects.
Based on observations and research, the transition of Renewable Energy and its funding to a stable standard that may supply energy to our primary needs will practically demand three key players which are: the national government, international bodies/agencies, and the corporate/individual organizations. Firstly, the Federal Government should prepare , motivate and fully fund renewable energy projects and its models of development. The fossil fuel sector should be prepared to join in every transition movement thereby setting the right agenda and incentives for its economic transition.
Also, the energy and industrial development policies should be adopted and fully implemented with energy efficient and flexible technologies based on international standards (COP Paris Agreement) towards 20C decarbonization Climate Regulations. Moreso, the shift to a decarbonized economy and the narrowing windows to wealth creation from the sector increases the importance of effective revenue management and accountability for the sector’s impact. Also, broadening the country’s tax base, increasing professionalism and diversifying the economy will reduce the funding of fossil oil sector and increase resource for the renewable energy funding.
Secondly, correspondences have been sent by the MDBs and the donor countries to international bodies reflecting internal differences and what they should support . The general result of such reaction was a withdrawal from coal, rejection of support for gas to be chosen as a bridge towards lower carbon and total avoidance on oil ambiguity. All these are directed in conformity with the World Bank’s declaration to stop funding fossil oil sectors in 2019. Also, the renewable energy projects are massively capital intensive thereby preventing individuals and low-capital establishments from full participation. Therefore, international bodies and agencies have heavily funded the Renewable Energy Plan thereby beating beyond Nigerian boundaries to effect anti-fossil fuel policy.
The German Consulate has attracted the attention of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce thereby extending funding to the sector with a scheme made open to Nigerian Renewable Energy business groups provided such groups are into partnerships with any German business company. Also, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) are inviting applications for Renewable Project funds in developing countries. The IRENA/ADFD Project Facility Fund of $350 million fund aims at accelerating Renewable Energy deployment in developing countries which gives access to energy development , creation of job opportunities, economic growth and welfare.
The Bank of Industry, on its own plan has shown a considerable interest in the transitional movement to renewable energy. The Bank’s focus and interest is drawn towards strengthening the MSME. In this regards, it is obvious that there is a major gap in Nigeria which has been the high cost of the Renewable Energy. Therefore, for Nigerians to achieve its objective of sustainable development, there is an urgent need to increase the supply of modern and affordable energy services.
The Africa Renewable Energy Fund (AREF)has voluntarily offered opportunities to invest into hydro, wind, geothermal, and solar business projects across Sub-Saharan countries. All these are directed to encourage the developing countries to invest in Renewable Energy. Also, the GEEREF which is a Fund-of-Funds Agency has offered access for Africans to invest into cleaner energy projects. It opined opportunities for public sector funds to catalyze private sector projects. It aimed at providing access to funds within the sustainable energy, combat climate change, and deliver compelling financial returns. Lastly, the USAID has donated its generous quota towards the Nigerian Renewable Energy Sector (The USAID/Power Africa Renewable Energy Efficiency Project).
The Group noted that the constant funding to the Agency is directed to the MSME. This will help to restore many MSMEs that are struggling to maintain their financial stability within the Renewable Energy Sector. Therefore, all corporate organizations, individual establishment are requested to participate in this global transition to Renewable Energy for a better and safer climate.
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