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Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari attends a COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, November 2 2021. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ADRIAN DENNIS
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari attends a COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, November 2 2021. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ADRIAN DENNIS

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude producer, joined some of the world’s largest energy exporters — Saudi Arabia and Russia — in pledging to eliminate planet-warming emissions by 2060. 

The West African nation vowed to unconditionally cut emissions by 20% below the “business-as-usual” levels by 2030. The reductions can be increased to 47% if the country gets “financial assistance, technology transfer and capacity building from the more advanced and more willing international partners”, President Muhammadu Buhari said at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, according to a copy of his speech. 

“We are looking for partners in innovation, technology and finance to make cleaner and efficient use of all available resources to make a more sustainable transition in energy markets,” Buhari said. 

The challenge for Nigeria will be funding. Buhari earlier this year said that the nation will need more than $400 billion, mainly to build electricity generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure in a bid to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. On Tuesday, he said gas will play a role in the transition while requesting developed countries to finance projects using transition fuels.

“Nigeria can continue to use gas until 2040 without diverting from the goals of the Paris Agreement,” he said. The country has huge reserves of the fuel, about the ninth largest in the world, that remains largely untapped. 

“Gas will be key for addressing the clean cooking challenge, which is also a challenge of deforestation, and for giving our electric grid the stability and flexibility to integrate renewables at scale,” Buhari said. “Nigeria will need to integrate an unprecedented 7GW additional renewable capacity each year to achieve net zero,” he said.

While the West African nation’s pledge aligns it with Saudi Arabia, China and Russia, the time frame lags behind other large economies such as the US, the UK and EU, which all aim to be net zero by 2050.

But it’s still a decade earlier than India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday vowed that the world’s third-biggest emitter will reach net zero by 2070.

Africa’s most populous country does not need to be persuaded to take urgent action to save the environment as the country faces the impact of desertification, floods, pollution and soil erosion, Buhari said. “For Nigeria, climate change is not about the perils of tomorrow but what is happening today,” he said. 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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