Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council of Ministers approves National Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Action Plan to improve air quality and fight climate change

The 22 mitigation measures endorsed in the plan would reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, other air pollutants and carbon dioxide, leading to an estimated 7000 fewer premature deaths from air pollution exposure in Nigeria every year by 2030

Nigeria has a population of 190 million people, many of whom are exposed to levels of air pollution that exceed World Health Organisation guidelines (WHO). This exposure is estimated to have resulted in 290,000 premature deaths in 2016, including 98,000 child deaths from respiratory infections, according to the WHO.

At the same time, Nigeria is experiencing the effects of climate change through increased droughts and heatwaves, and has committed to an ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% compared to a business as usual scenario in its Nationally Determined Contribution.

The Federal Ministry of Environment of Nigeria has developed an ambitious plan to simultaneously deal with these two issues, to improve air pollution and reduce Nigeria’s contribution to climate change, through 22 specific mitigation measures in 8 source sectors.

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A consultation workshop on the National Action Plan was held in August 2018

On 20th May 2019, the Honourable Minister of Environment, Surv. Sulelman Hassan Zarma, presented Nigeria’s National Action Plan to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) to the Federal Executive Council of Ministers, which formally endorsed the plan.

SLCPs are a group of pollutants, including black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone and HFCs, that have direct effects on air pollution and human health, but also warm the atmosphere. The major sources of SLCPs in Nigeria include transportation, cooking and lighting in households, industry, waste, oil and gas and agriculture. These sectors are also large contributors to emissions of other air pollutants and of carbon dioxide.

When developing the National SLCP Plan for Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Environment identified the key mitigation measures in these sectors to reduce SLCPs. In total, 22 mitigation measures were included in the plan. Full implementation of these measures would be effective in reducing SLCPs, with an 83% reduction (see Table S.2.) in black carbon emissions by 2030 compared to a business-as-usual scenario, and 61% reduction in methane emissions.

However, the measures are also effective in reducing other air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, and also reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This means that the implementation of these measures could reduce exposure to air pollution across Nigeria by 22% in 2030, while reducing Nigeria’s contribution to climate change.

“Nigeria’s National Action Plan to Reduce SLCPs is an ambitious plan that can deliver real health benefits to Nigerians through improved air quality, while helping Nigeria meet its international climate change commitment” said Dr Peter Tarfa, Director, Climate Change Department, Federal Ministry of Environment. “The Federal Executive Council is made up of all Ministers. The significance of the Council’s endorsement is that it shows there is strong support across Government to take actions that have multiple benefits, for climate change, air pollution, human health and sustainable development. This will be essential for the plan to be effectively implemented.”

The National Action Plan was developed in Nigeria as a collaborative process involving all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“The engagement of stakeholders from across Government throughout the development of the plan was essential. The Action Plan targets multiple sectors and it is the sectoral MDAs that will be responsible for its implementation, and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning that are responsible for public finances”, said Asmau Jibril, from the Climate Change Department.

The actions included in the National Action Plan include regulation and enforcement of vehicle emission standards, switching to cleaner fuels for cooking, eliminating gas flaring, reducing emissions from crop burning and livestock, and eliminating consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Nigeria is one of 12 countries that is developing a National SLCP Action Plan as part of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Supporting National Action & Planning (SNAP) Initiative. The planning process in each country identifies the most effective actions that can be taken to simultaneously reduce air pollution and mitigation climate change.

“Nigeria has provided an excellent example of how national SLCP planning can engage a wide range of stakeholders due to the multiple air quality, climate and sustainable development benefits of the actions identified.” said Helena Molin Valdés, head of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat. “The political endorsement of this plan is a major milestone and we look forward to see the progress made in Nigeria as the planning phase transitions to implementation”.  

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