Net zero targets
We evaluate the net zero target as: Average
In November 2021, Nigeria passed the Climate Change Act that seeks to achieve low greenhouse gas emissions, green and sustainable growth by providing the framework to set a target to reach net zero between 2050 and 2070 (Okereke & Onuigbo, 2021). The Act includes provisions to adopt National Climate Change Action Plans in five-year cycles (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2021). The Action Plans, implemented by the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) established by the Act, are meant to ensure national emissions are consistent with a carbon budget. The carbon budgets are to be set by the federal ministries responsible for the environment and national planning and periodically reviewed.
The government has not met the initial deadlines set in the Act. Under the Act, the pilot Action Plan and first carbon budget should be published by November 2022; however, the Director General of the NCCC, who is expected to drive implementation of the Act, was only appointed in July 2022, and former President Buhari only approved the NCCC’s work plan in February 2023 (Adebote, 2022; Ailemen, 2023).
At COP26, former President Buhari further committed to net zero emissions by 2060, which would be in line with the Climate Change Act (Lo, 2021). Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, released August 2022, was developed to serve as the pathway towards achieving the 2060 net zero target (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2022). In February 2023, former President Buhari approved the integration of the Energy transition Plan and Office into the NCCC to ensure continuity of the plan with the Climate Change Act. Nigeria has also launched a long-term vision to 2050, which is expected to inform the development of their Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy (Akinola, 2021).
As the Act only sets the framework for adopting a net zero GHG target between 2050 and 2070, the final net zero target could improve on several elements as discussed below. In particular, the government should clarify emissions coverage and the role of carbon removals in achieving the target.
CAT analysis of net zero target
Ten key elements
- Target year – Nigeria’s Climate Change Act seeks to achieve low greenhouse gas emission, green and sustainable growth by providing the framework to set a net zero GHG target between 2050 and 2070 (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2021). Nigeria’s NDC update mentions aiming to reach net zero as early as possible in the second half of the century. At COP26, President Buhari committed to achieving net zero by 2060, also included in Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2022; Lo, 2021). We take Nigeria’s target year to be 2050-2070 as the Act is enshrined into law.
- Emissions coverage – The target covers all Kyoto gases except NF3 (Art. 35 of the Act). No data is available for the level of NF3 emissions, but other F-gases represent less than half a percent of Nigeria’s emissions. The Act does not specify sectoral emissions coverage, but as the corresponding carbon budget should be set ‘for Nigeria’, we assume the target is economy-wide.
- International aviation and shipping – The Act does not include any information on international aviation and shipping.
- Reductions or removals outside of own borders – The Act applies to entities within the territorial boundaries of Nigeria and the environment ministry is required to set a carbon budget for Nigeria. We interpret these provisions to mean that Nigeria’s target is focused on cutting emissions within its own borders. The government should clarify its intent to achieve net zero emissions domestically.
- Legal status – In November 2021, Nigeria passed the Climate Change Act, which seeks to achieve low greenhouse gas emission green and sustainable growth by providing a framework to set a net-zero GHG target between 2050 and 2070 (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2021). The carbon budget and Action Plan, required within a year of the adoption of the Act, have not yet been released. Nigeria has not submitted a long-term strategy (LTS) to the UNFCCC as of June 2023, though it has launched its Long-Term Vision meant to inform the development of their Long-Term Low Emissions Development Strategy (Akinola, 2021).
- Separate reduction & removal targets – Nigeria has not provided any information on whether it will establish separate emission reduction and removal targets.
- Review process – Nigeria’s Climate Change Act includes detailed provisions for periodically revising its carbon budget as well as its Action Plan. The federal ministries responsible for environment and for national planning are required to present a carbon budget and determine the budgetary period one year after the act was signed into law, by November 2022; however, as of May 2023, we have not been able to identify a carbon budget. A new carbon budget must then be produced one year before the end of the current carbon budget cycle. The Secretariat of the National Council on Climate Change must also produce an Action Plan to ensure national emissions are consistent with the carbon budget every five years. The Action Plan must include a carbon budget in line with the five-year cycle and annual carbon budgets for each year in the cycle.
The Secretariat must also regularly report to the National Assembly on the state of implementation of the Plan. The Act also establishes obligations on public and private entities to achieve targets and consequences for failing to do so.
The Act does not, however, specify a process for reviewing the net zero target itself.
- Carbon dioxide removal – Nigeria’s Climate Change Act does not provide any information on its intention to communicate transparent assumptions on domestic carbon dioxide removals to meet its net zero target (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2021). The act, however, includes text on the promotion of nature-based solutions, the establishment of a REDD+ Registry and development of natural capital accounts to be used by government bodies in policy and action plan formulation in line with the carbon budget.
- Comprehensive planning – Under the Act, the federal ministries responsible for environment and for national planning are required to set a 1.5°C consistent carbon budget. Nigeria is also working on developing its long-term strategy (LTS). The Act includes provisions to develop National Climate Change Action Plans every five years to be ratified by the Federal Executive Council that will be overseen by the National Council on Climate Change. The Action Plans aim to ensure national emissions are consistent with the carbon budget and should include annual carbon budgets for each year in the five-year cycle. A pilot Action Plan should have been adopted by November 2022; however, as of May 2023, a plan has not yet been presented (Ailemen, 2023).
Nigeria also released its Energy Transition Plan in August 2022. The plan is expected to serve as Nigeria’s pathway to achieve its 2060 net zero target (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2022).
- Clarity on fairness of target – The Act does not include any information pertaining to the fairness of Nigeria’s target.
The Climate Action Tracker has defined the following good practice for all ten key elements of net zero targets. Countries can refer to this good practice to design or enhance their net zero targets.