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WTO, US urge Nigeria, others to fast-track renewable energy transition

Ebuka Daniel

The World Trade Organisation and the United States have advised Nigeria and other developing countries to work towards a quick transition into renewable energy as trade rules were changing to favour climate laws.

The US Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry said this at the virtual opening session of the International Energy Agency “Net Zero Summit.”

He blamed developed countries for the delay in transition to renewables since the past 221 years.

He admitted that the US and other top countries were responsible for most of the carbon emissions in the world.

He said, “We don’t want developed countries repeating the mistakes we have made since the 1800s. But the reality is that none of us can get there alone.”

Also speaking at the summit, the Director General of the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala noted that climate change remained a global public issue that undermined not just trade, but the effort of poverty reduction across the globe.

In Nigeria, the Federal Government recently launched its transition to a decade of gas, saying it has no capacity to transit into renewables in near future.

But the Nigerian born WTO boss said the bloc was working on an initiative to encourage international trade on renewable sources of energy to combat carbon emission.

The WTO DG said, “Take renewable energy for example, it’s being talked about and in just a decade, solar, biotech and wind power have become the cheapest sources of electricity in many markets.

“The cost of solar energy, for example, has decreased by 80 per cent since 2010, jobs in the renewable energy sector was around 11 million worldwide in 2018 and are expected to quadruple in 2050.

“Trade has played a key role in turbo-charging these developments by unlocking investments, fostering innovation and allowing the movement of goods and services around the world.”

She insisted that international trade and WTO rules must support effective action on climate change.

“We need members of the WTO to converge on their positions as we move towards the 12th ministerial conference where a lot of decisions will be made.” she added.

The DG who advocated for the scaling up of investment to accelerate the dissemination of climate technologies to lower global carbon emissions, also said that the WTO had started an initiative on plastic pollution.

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