Nigeria submitted its updated NDC in July 2021, strengthening its 2030 target, but uncertainty around the extent to which the land sector will contribute to meeting the NDC makes quantification challenging.
The update also included a substantially revised business-as-usual (BAU) projection for 2030, half of what was projected in Nigeria’s first NDC submission. Gas coverage and the number of sectors with mitigation measures has also increased. The update outlines Nigeria’s vision to cut current emissions by 50% by 2050 and achieve net zero emissions ‘as early as possible in the second half of the century’. (UPDATE: At COP26, President Buhari further committed to net zero by 2060.)
CAT analysis of NDC
In July 2021, Nigeria submitted an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The update reiterates the unconditional target of 20% below BAU by 2030 submitted in the 2017 NDC and increases the conditional target from 45% to 47% below BAU by 2030.
While the reduction targets have changed little, the update represents a significant increase in ambition as the BAU (incl. the land sector) against which the targets are applied has been revised downward and is about half the level of the original.
Estimating the emissions level of the targets excluding the land sector is much more uncertain (see assumptions below). The unconditional target drops from around 398 MtCO2e (excl. LULUCF) under the old BAU to 321 - 348 MtCO2e under the revised BAU. Despite increasing the percent reduction in the updated NDC, the conditional target may actually increase to 213 – 276 MtCO2e (excl. LULUCF) compared to 193 MtCO2e under the original target.
Lack of clarity on projected land sector emissions in 2030 and the role they are expected to play in meeting Nigeria’s targets results in a high degree of uncertainty for these estimates. Nigeria’s recently approved REDD+ Strategy includes the medium-term goal to reduce forestry emissions 20% by 2035; however, it also identifies their REDD+ vision as achieving 20% emission reductions by 2050. Nigeria should aim to provide further detail on the extent to which it intends to rely on the land sector to meet its NDC targets in future communications.
The final NDC update mentions Nigeria’s aim to cut current emissions by 50% by 2050 and achieve net zero emissions ‘as early as possible in the second half of the century’.
(UPDATE: At COP26, President Buhari went further, announcing the target for net zero by 2060. The target is not yet enshrined in law; however, the latest version of the climate change bill approved by Nigeria’s National Assembly in October 2021 includes a carbon budget with the goal of achieving net-zero emissions between 2050 and 2070. It needs to be signed by the President before it becomes law. Further, Nigeria is in the process of developing a long-term vision to 2050 and has developed an Energy Transition Plan. While the plan is not yet available online, the President has said it provides a roadmap to reach net zero and states an additional USD 400bn over 30 years is needed to achieve it.)
The government has also improved the architecture of the NDC in the update, and provides details on implementation strategies. Nigeria has expanded the target’s gas coverage to include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and now includes actions in the waste sector to reduce emissions, which were not covered in the original NDC.
The updated NDC also includes additional enhancements including a green jobs assessment, analysis of nature-based solutions and review of clean cooking solutions. The update estimates that full implementation of the conditional target will require about USD 177bn from 2021 to 2030.
Having in place the necessary climate governance frameworks is a critical element to being able to deliver on NDC targets and transition to a zero emissions society. The CAT will be releasing its assessment of Nigeria’s climate governance soon. For more detail, see the CAT’s Climate Governance Series.
Global Warming Potential (GWP)
Nigeria’s final NDC update uses global warming potentials (GWP) values from the IPCC’s fifth assessment report (AR5). CAT using GWP values from the fourth assessment report (AR4) to ensure comparability across countries.
The NDC provides a sector-by-sector breakdown of emissions in 2018 and 2030. We have converted from AR5 to AR4 using the gas-by-gas breakdown for each sector from PRIMAP for the year 2018. We have not converted HFCs as we do not have information on individual gases; however, these gases represent only 1 MtCO2e in 2018.
The final NDC update provides LULUCF emissions for 2018 and AFOLU emissions for the 2030 BAU. To estimate LULUCF emissions in the 2030 BAU, we applied the same ratio of LULUCF/AFOLU as in 2018.
The update provides no information on the extent to which Nigeria intends to rely on reducing land sector emissions to meet its NDC targets. However, the update does estimate the potential of nature-based solutions as about 115 MtCO2e. Of these solutions, the top three are identified as agroforestry, improved forest management, and forest restoration, making up about 89 MtCO2e of the total potential. We use the 89 MtCO2e estimate as the upper bound of our estimate for the contribution of the land sector in meeting Nigeria’s conditional target (and a proportional share of the 89 MtCO2e estimate for the unconditional target). We assume this estimate is all CO2 and thus no need to convert from AR5 values.
For the lower bound, we assume the land sector contributes a equal share as remaining sectors for both targets.
The Third National Communication identified significant abatement potential in the land sector, though its estimation of land sector emissions may have been higher than what is now reported in the final NDC update. Overall, there is significant uncertainty in the land sector emissions and our estimates are best guesses based on the available data.
Nigeria has expanded its gas coverage. The updated NDC covers HFCs, while the original NDC only covered the three main gases (CO2, CH4, N2O). We have not accounted for this difference when comparing the two targets as the contribution from HFCs is small (0.3% in 2018, based on PRIMAP data).