Positive signals in Nigeria’s interim update, but significant uncertainties remain
Nigeria submitted its interim NDC update in May 2021, indicating that its final 2021 NDC update is forthcoming. The government provided updated historical emissions data and a substantially revised business-as-usual (BAU) projection for 2030. The revised BAU projects that emission levels by 2030 will be half of what was projected in Nigeria’s first NDC submission. It is not clear what these revisions mean for Nigeria’s NDC targets.
The government reaffirmed its commitment to its unconditional and conditional targets of 20% and 45% reductions below BAU made in its first NDC, but noted that the mitigation level of its updated NDC still needs to be decided. If these reduction targets are applied to the revised BAU, Nigeria’s targets, including the land sector, would be substantially stronger. The picture is less clear excluding the land sector, but may also represent an improvement, at least for the unconditional target.
Nigeria has also expanded the gas coverage of its NDC and proposes to undertake abatement measures in more sectors than covered in its first NDC.
We have provisionally classified the interim update as Nigeria proposing a stronger target based on these positive developments, though significant uncertainties remain. The government has indicated that it will submit a final NDC report soon. We will update our analysis as more details become available.
The CAT does not currently rate Nigeria’s NDC, but will start doing so when we launch our new rating system later this year.
CAT analysis of interim NDC submission
In May 2021, Nigeria submitted an interim updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and indicated that a final report is forthcoming.
The interim update does not include a revised NDC target. Rather, it reiterates the government’s commitment to its original unconditional target of 20% below business as usual (BAU) and a conditional target of 45% below BAU by 2030. The update does provide revised historical data with a significantly lower BAU; about half the level of the original.
The relationship between the reduction targets and this revised BAU is not clear, as the government indicated that the Federal Executive Council will ‘approve the level of mitigation ambition’ of the update in due course. We have assumed that the reduction target represents the floor of ambition; however, our analysis is provisional and will be revised as more details become available.
Applying the original reduction targets to the revised BAU yields a significant drop in total emissions (including the land sector). The unconditional target would be 362 MtCO2e (incl. LULUCF) compared to 718 MtCO2e under the old BAU. This emissions level is about 4% higher than today’s levels. The conditional target drops to 248 MtCO2e (incl. LULUCF) compared to 494 MtCO2e under the old BAU. The conditional target is 28% below today’s levels.
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) compared to 318 MtCO2e under the old BAU; however, the conditional target may actually increase to 214 MtCO2e (excl. LULUCF) compared to 193Mt under the original target.
There is a high degree of uncertainty in these estimates due to a lack of information on projected land sector emissions in 2030 and the extent to which this sector contributes to the NDC target. Nigeria has indicated that it is working on revising emissions projections and data for its forestry sector and we look forward to seeing that information in its full NDC report.
Nigeria’s updated NDC expands the target’s gas coverage to include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The government also indicated that it will include abatement measures in the waste sector, which was not covered in the original NDC.
Nigeria does not have a net zero or other long-term target. However, the government is in the process of developing a long-term vision to 2050. Vice President Osinbajo has stressed the need for a just transition as the world transitions to net-zero emissions, emphasising the role of natural gas in the transition, which the CAT has cautioned against as it may lock-in higher emissions and increases the risk of stranded assets.
The interim report outlines additional enhancements being carried out with support from the NDC Partnership, UNDP and other partners, including updated electricity sector mitigation analysis, assessment of increasing access to off-grid electricity, analysis of nature-based solutions, green jobs assessment, and review of clean cooking solutions.
The interim update report provides revised historical emissions for 2010 and 2018. We did not attempt to construct a completed time series from these two data points and thus have not provided a comparison to 1990 and 2010 emissions levels.
The 2018 sectoral data provided by the government slightly differs from third party estimates (PRIMAP); however, we assume that the government’s estimate is likely more accurate as PRIMAP is based on country reporting and thus based on outdated government estimates.
CAT methodology excludes both land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions and removals (sinks) from its calculations.
Historical & BAU estimates
In its updated NDC, Nigeria provided a sectoral breakdown for its revised historical and BAU projections; however, LULUCF emissions were reported together with agriculture emissions (AFOLU). To estimate 2018 agriculture emissions, we applied the ratio of agriculture to energy/industry/waste emissions in the PRIMAP database to the government’s data. LULUCF emissions were estimated to be the remainder of AFOLU emissions. This estimate (15 MtCO2e) is lower than other international estimates (e.g. FAO estimates Nigeria’s land sector emissions in 2018 to be 46 MtCO2e). It is also significantly different from the data reported in Nigeria’s Third National Communication (307 MtCO2e in 2016). However, having compared the data provided in the NDC update to this and previous national communications, we suspect that Nigeria may have revised its land sector emissions significantly compared to the Third National Communication.
To estimate agriculture emissions in the 2030 BAU projection, we applied the 5-year historic trend. The remainder is taken to be from LULUCF.
For the original NDC, we take the land sector estimate from the Third National Communication as this seems to be more consistent with the BAU provided in that submission.
The interim update provides no information on the extent to which Nigeria intends to rely on reducing land sector emissions to meet its targets.
In its original submission, it included a pie chart of the sectoral contribution to meetings its conditional target. Electricity generation would provide the lion’s share. Using a data reader, we estimated the AFOLU contribution to be around 17% and have assumed an equal share coming from agriculture and the land sector.
In the absence of other data, we have applied this share to the unconditional target as well as the interim update.
It must be noted that the Third National Communication identified significant abatement potential in the land sector, though its estimation of land sector emissions may have been high (see above).
Overall, there is significant uncertainty in the land sector emissions and our estimates are best guesses based on the available data.
Global Warming Potential (GWP Values)
The interim update did not specify the GWP values used; however, as the first NDC used values from the IPCC’s fourth assessment report, we assumed those continue to apply.
Nigeria has expanded its gas coverage. The interim 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).