On 26th August, the Climate Parliament and UNIDO co-organised a national virtual parliamentary roundtable with parliamentarians from Nigeria. This roundtable was supported by the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) and co-sponsored by the Pan-African Parliament. It was an opportunity to discuss with parliamentarians which measures could be implemented in Nigeria that would help reduce the carbon footprint.
Nicholas Dunlop, Secretary-General of the Climate Parliament, presented a series of action ideas that parliamentarians from Nigeria could carry out to advance the renewable energy revolution at the scale and speed needed to avoid a climate catastrophe. Legislators could inform colleagues, ministers or other relevant stakeholders of regional or national reports on climate impacts or ambitious NDCs commitments adopted by specific countries for the UN climate summit (COP26). They could share examples of well-designed auction programmes that could be replicated in Nigeria or other well-designed policy instruments such as feed-in-tariffs, resource mapping, green bonds or carbon taxes for facilitating large-scale renewable energy. Legislators could also encourage their government to take a lead in promoting green grid initiatives and clean energy corridors for cross-border trade or establish regional electricity markets to ensure cheap, reliable renewable energy for all. Finally, legislators have the opportunity to contribute by sharing successful examples of policy frameworks on sustainable transport, rural electrification and energy efficiency. This could be examples of vehicle and public transport electrification programmes, community mini-grids for affordable and stable household electrification, projects for electrifying health clinics in rural areas, research and programmes on sustainable space cooling, household air conditioning, energy efficiency in buildings and smart grid implementation.
Legislators from Nigeria welcomed these proposed action ideas and highlighted some of the challenges they are facing. Some rural areas still don’t have access to the national grid. It is a critical issue, especially for rural health clinics, which requires public funding to ensure access to electricity for all. Grid infrastructure is crucial for developing the huge potential of renewable energy in Nigeria. The government should create the right framework for investments in renewable energy infrastructure. Regarding sustainable transport, legislators stressed out the cultural connotations behind driving a car or a motorcycle. There is a need to switch to more environmentally-friendly transport and this requires educating people on the threats related to climate change. Another challenge pointed out is the division of power between the executive and the legislative, which restricts the extent to which parliamentarians can influence legislation or NDCs. This requires a constitutional amendment. Parliamentarians were keen to collect examples of good practices from neighbouring countries to help them move policies forward.