Carbon Credit Watch

Lagos eyes financial boom from climate doom

(February 14, 2011) This article from the Daily Independent in Nigeria explains how governments can profit from the panic over climate change.

The Lagos State Government may be strategising towards reaping financial gains from the potentially catastrophic climate change threat. But officials hint that the bulk of the funds will go into financing climate adaptation and mitigation activities.

Apart from leveraging funds from public as well as private sources, a gathering of stakeholders suggested at the end of a three-day forum last week in the nation’s foremost business hub, that projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) were veritable avenues to generate direly-needed funds.

A main feature of the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM aims at assisting developed nations to achieve compliance with their quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments, otherwise called the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission caps.  This is achieved by allowing such countries to meet part of their caps using “Certified Emission Reductions” from CDM-emission-reduction projects in developing countries.

The participants, who observed that the CDM can help clean up the environment, generate clean energy while doing so and earn revenue to underwrite the projects, want the authorities to dialogue with businesses and international institutions with a view to develop a carbon stock exchange mechanism and policies that put effective price on carbon.

This, they believe, will make investors re-assess investment values and direct their investments appropriately.

Apart from setting short and long-term emission reduction targets to be incorporated into Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) for Nigeria, the collaboration, they added in a communiqué after the 3rd Lagos State Climate Change Summit, would likewise put in place energy and transportation policies that will encourage energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy while creating jobs.

The state was also urged to consider the adoption of the functional assessment framework approach to climate change actions as a way of facilitating the implementation of adaptation strategies. To avoid or minimise the consequences of human rights violations from climate change effects, the state was similarly charged to strengthen stakeholder consultation while taking actions to combat climate change’s impacts.

Underlining the need for a new legal regime in the country for dealing with intra-national migrations and population displacements, participants noted that such legal regime should be built upon existing human rights laws and principles.

State officials were further called upon to take advantage of the high job creation potential of clean energy systems by training or retraining the citizenry in clean energy technologies. They were also asked to take climate change scenarios into account in planning and budgeting for disaster response.

If the recommendations at the summit eventually see the light of day, Lagos State would adopt a participatory and multi-dimensional approach to climate change risk assessment in its development programmes and include appropriate climate change insurance mechanisms in order to hedge against the impact of climate change and also be able to decide on the right mix between mitigation and adaptation.

In the area of climate change actions, the Lagos State Government would likely devise a long-term strategy for building the capacity to: link knowledge of climate change to action; develop and implement a plan of action; and, deliver on its development objectives.

On a capacity-for-climate-change agenda, the state government was charged to build the multi-disciplinary communities of practice to assess GHG emissions, climate-related risks and vulnerabilities, and mitigation and adaptation options.

Besides providing conditions for enhancing the scientific and technical capacity of researchers to help understand climate change adaptation and vulnerability, it would also develop and make widely available participatory approaches to vulnerability assessment, while encouraging broad dissemination of indigenous knowledge on climate change.

Further, the capacity-for-climate-change agenda will strengthen climate change centres of excellence; acquiring the knowledge  and developing methodologies for incorporating mitigation and adaptation strategies into the planning process; enhancing the capacity to develop specialised adaptation and implementation tools that can be applied at community, local and state levels; strengthening core coordinating institutions to enhance oversight of planning  and implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation actions; strengthening critical environmental and sectoral ministries to be able to participate fully in the planning process; and ensuring maximum awareness to climate change issues in all other ministries and departments.

The communiqué added: “Lagos State Government should strengthen its Early Warning System as an adaptation strategy against climate change effects. The government should enhance the capacity of local institutions to promote the adaptive capacity of indigenous people.

“The government should promote research into farmers’ buffer capacity/resilience for the purposes of designing appropriate adaptation interventions in the area of agriculture, and partner with the Federal Government to expedite action on the development of a national climate change policy and put in place clear enforcement mechanisms for climate change litigation within the legal system. Lagos State Government should mobilise its faith-based organisations for climate change action by mapping these organisations, and strengthening the participation of faith-based organisations and other CBOs and NGOs in its climate change programme.

Moreover, the summit also advised the Federal Government to ensure the effectiveness of the national Climate Change Institution through adequate funding, and putting in place a mechanism for enforcing climate change laws and regulations.

The participants also urged federal authorities to encourage the states and local governments to set up their own focal authorities for climate change activities.

Fifteen papers were delivered through 11 technical plenary sessions by experts invited from Nigeria, Brazil, USA, Canada, Ghana, Germany, Kenya, Cameroun, Indonesia and India. The summit had “Charting a Road Map for Combating Climate Change in Nigeria” as its theme, and brought together a broad spectrum of about 750 stakeholders comprising traditional rulers, senior civil servants, political office holders, members of the academia, private sector players, national and international experts in climate change, NGOs, environmentalists and the media.

Declaring the summit open, the Lagos Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, emphasised that everyone – including governments at all levels – must be actively involved in the fight against climate change. While making references to the previous editions of the forum and the usefulness of their outcomes, he shed light on how the state was able to address the issues of the recent flooding in Ikorodu by being forward-looking and building a relief camp for displaced people before the disaster occurred.

He added that the Eko Atlantic City project was planned to permanently address the effect of sea level rise, ocean surges and flooding that threatens Victoria Island and Ikoyi areas of the Lagos metropolis.

Referring to civilisations which once existed but now no longer exist, the governor demanded: “Is it that the earth or human civilisation is coming to an end?”

Daily Independent, Feburary 13, 2011

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