Explainer: Facts to know about Nigeria’s updated climate change commitments


In a bid to foster low carbon emission practice, the Nigerian government submitted its final updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) document to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 2 July.

This is a component of the Paris Agreement under the UNFCCC, which was endorsed during the 21st UN Climate Change Conference also known as Conference of the Parties-21 (COP21), held six years ago in Paris.

The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change that covers climate change mitigation, adaptation and finance, was wholly adopted by 196 countries participating in the COP 21 that year.

The treaty became globally effective on 4 November, 2016, but was ratified and approved by the Nigerian Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2017.

Following the approval, Nigeria submitted its first Intended Nationally Determined (INDC) document to the UNFCCC on 16 May, 2017 in demonstration of its commitment to the success of the treaty.

The document was later updated on 27 May this year before the final submission last month.

The NDC is a document that embodies efforts being made by all parties (countries) that signed the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

Nigeria’s updated NDC

The recently submitted NDC document shows that Nigeria has proposed a stronger NDC than it last did in 2015.

In the updated NDC, the Nigerian government has proposed to mitigate four greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), as against the three GHG (CO2, CH4 and N2O) proposed in the previous NDC submitted.

GHG is explained as any gas that has the property of absorbing infrared radiation (net heat energy) emitted from earth’s surface and reradiating it back to earth’s surface, thus contributing to greenhouse effects.

“The GHG mitigation assessment has been expanded to cover 11 pollutants in total, including short-lived climate pollutants (black carbon) and their air pollutants (PMs, NOx, SO2,NH3, OC, NMVOCs and CO) to evaluate the co-benefits of mitigation measures in reducing these substances, alongside GHGs,” Nigeria’s NDC final document states.

According to the submitted NDC, Nigeria recommits to its unconditional contribution of reducing carbon emissions by 20 per cent below business-as-usual by 2030, while it increases its conditional target to 47 per cent as against the 45 per cent captured in the 2015 NDC.

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The updated NDC also includes an enhanced contribution by the waste sector, which was not included in the 2015 NDC due to lack of reliable data, the Nigerian government said.

“The 2021 NDC update also covers the water resources sector, and articulates other nater value-based solutions not included in the 2015 NDC,” the NDC document noted.

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