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Buhari inaugurates, sets agenda for council on climate change

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja inaugurated the National Council on Climate Change, charging its members to formulate appropriate policies toward achieving green growth and sustainable economic development for Nigeria.

The Council is chaired by the President, with the Vice President as Vice Chairman. The Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, is also a member.

According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in the brief ceremony before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting, Buhari said it marked the commencement of the implementation of the Climate Change Act 2021 and a new chapter in the renewed response to climate change in the country.

The President also directed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in conjunction with the Minister of Environment to initiate appropriate amendments to “noticeable implementation challenges” inherent in the Act.

Highlighting the losses and damages caused by the recent increasing floods in several parts of the country as well in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other parts of East and Southern Africa, the President described climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing humanity.

“It (Climate Change) is complex and dynamic; and requires multidimensional and multi-sectoral initiatives to address its impacts and avert its rapid advance.

“Updated data show increases in sea level rise, heat waves, wildfires, floods, desertification, drying wetlands and many more disruptive climate occurrences.

“The latest Intergovernmental Panel on climate change report warns that rising Green House Gas emissions could soon outstrip the ability of communities to adapt, and the window for taking decisive steps needed to spare our planet from the gravest impacts of climate change is rapidly narrowing.

“We cannot ignore what is happening in our local environment. The increasing re-occurrence of floods in several parts of the country is a wakeup call,” he said, lamenting the loss of lives, damage and destruction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and agricultural production.

President Buhari, therefore, reiterated the determination of his Administration to strengthen the national response to climate change and accelerate the implementation of decisive actions to reduce its impacts on the people and economy.

He reaffirmed that Nigeria is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is an established international treaty to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”, in part by stabilizing Green House Gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

“It is against this background that in November 2021, after COP 26 in Glasgow, I signed the Nigeria Climate Change Act despite noticeable implementation challenges inherent in the Act, to set the framework for mainstreaming climate change action, carbon budgeting and the establishment of the National Council on Climate Change.

“The council is tasked with the responsibility of formulating appropriate policies and other mechanisms for achieving low Green House Gas emissions, including green growth and sustainable economic development for Nigeria.

“In a clear demonstration of our commitments as enshrined in our Nationally Determined Contributions and the Net Zero-Target by 2060, I also approved, on 25th July 2022, the appointment of the Director General and Secretary for the National Council on Climate Change.

“It is imperative therefore that those lapses earlier alluded to – which includes the establishment of states and Zonal offices creating a huge and costly bureaucracy are not acceptable. The Act also takes out the Commissioners of Environments from the states as members of the Council, it also did not make transitional provisions capturing the work of the Inter-ministerial Working Group.

“This group was responsible for Energy Transition, the supervisory oversight of the Ministry of Environment and the establishment of an Executive Management structure at the secretariat level to support the DG in running the Council Secretariat.

“Accordingly, I hereby direct the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in conjunction with the Minister of Environment to initiate the appropriate amendment to reflect these observations.”

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