Towards the Paris agreement… a race for the nations

Paris 2015 - COP 21 CMP 11 (PHOTO-ClimateReporters: Atâyi Babs)
Paris 2015 – COP 21 CMP 11 (PHOTO-ClimateReporters: Atâyi Babs)

By Bamidele Oni

The lead up to the next conference of parties to the UNFCCC (COP21) coming up later in the year in Paris is gradually gathering a level of momentum which on the scale of measure could be ascribed as tilting towards been significantly ambitious with regards to the responses of countries to the submission of their respective Intended Nationally determined contributions (INDC).

Following the  rather low spirited outcomes of the Lima negotiations and the optimistic expectations from the  much anticipated Paris  negotiations in December, member countries to the UNFFCCC have  agreed on a predefined course of action in the regards of  submitting nationally defined goals and targets  as their relative intended contributions towards the global agreement in Paris and in the obvious turn, the industrialized nations are excepted to lead the rest of the world in coming up with substantive and clearly  defined goals such that an advantageous clear cut edge is established to facilitate the Paris treaty.

So far in the records of the UNFCCC, 35 countries have submitted their respective intended nationally determined contributions with submissions from 32 developed countries covering about 80% of the total emissions from industrialized nations while Mexico led up on the listing of the developing countries and Gabon has responded as the first African country to make available their respective submission.

While the final synthesis of submitted intended nationally determined  contributions would be produced in November just in time for the climate convention, a timely response from every concerned member  country is however expected to ensure the well oriented delivery of  the Paris treaty which would largely dwell on the following objectives: a global peaking of emissions in the next decade, a deep  de-carbonization of the economy world-wide and climate neutrality in the second half of the century at the latest.

These are quite necessary to ensuring global warming does not exceed the already marked out 2C degree.

Gabon’s rather swift response is rather a call out to the other African countries to speed up on their relative drafting in time for a due submission and this is quite a  challenge to the big brother nations of the continent, most  especially, Nigeria, a country in the process of leadership transition.

Nigeria is obviously yet to make a submission of the intended nationally determined contribution as a developing country and as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in West Africa.

A piece of opinion to the emerging leadership team of the nation, a  great deal of attention must be given to the environmental sector  such that economic values do not outweigh the necessary responses needed as interventions for the sustainability of environmental  values.

Conservation should be given a well-defined priority, while there must be an end to gas flaring which clearly represents the  notable channel of the nation’s greenhouse gas contribution. A  timely intervention is however needed in the Niger Delta region of the country while alternative energy sources must be given clear-cut considerations.

Lastly, Nigeria needs to move from the era of pronouncements to actualization in the respect of creating a workable scenario in laws and regulation geared towards protecting the future of our environment.

Oni, Executive Director of Green Impact International, writes from Abeokuta, Nigeria