As Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria has a critical role in solving these problems. With a population of 200 million, a full fifth of Africa is Nigerian, a number likely to increase given projections that it will become the third most populous country in the world by 2050.
Nigeria’s improved NDCs are significant given 2018 research findings that without more ambitious global NDCs, warming is likely to reach catastrophic levels of between 3 and 4ºC by 2100. Increasing the emission reductions in the NDCs while ensuring they’re achieved is a huge challenge for global south countries given the limited climate funding available.
One strategy for overcoming this challenge is for countries to integrate their existing development priorities— such as improvements in healthcare, decreases in poverty, and enhancements in food security—with climate change mitigation. These goals have significant overlap, particularly when it comes to SLCPs.
“Nigeria is committed to playing its part to mitigate global climate change,” said Halima.
Bawa-Bwari, Acting Director of the Climate Change Department in Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of the Environment. “However, it is important that Nigerians also benefit from implementing this commitment. The actions in the residential sector in particular can deliver tangible health benefits, especially for Nigerian children, which makes the implementation of these actions even more important.”
The fact that SLCP mitigation will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Nigeria’s Economic Sustainability Plan is attractive for a nation struggling with high poverty rates, massive youth unemployment, and an overburdened health sector. In 2017, there were 114,000 premature deaths from air pollution in Nigeria and about 70,000 of those were infant deaths.
If Nigeria achieves its NDC commitments, air pollutants would be reduced by 35 per cent, which could avert 30,000 premature deaths every year from issues such as heart disease, lung cancer, and asthma.
“Integrating climate change into planning and decision-making processes is a crucial tool to ensure climate change adaptation and poverty reduction,” said Bala Bappa, the CCAC’s National Planning coordinator in Nigeria. “Mainstreaming climate change into national policies, plans, and development projects contributes to reducing vulnerability to climate impacts and variability, increasing the adaptive capacity of communities facing climate impacts and ensuring sustainable development.”