Climate change law: My expectations are limited — Nnimmo Bassey

POPULAR environmental activist and Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey has reacted to the signing of the climate change act into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that his expectations regarding the implementation of the law are limited.

Recall that a week ago, President Buhari has signed into law two bills recently passed by the National Assembly into law.

They are the Climate Change Act and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act.

However, responding to Nigerian Tribune’s question on the development, Bassey said, “Signing the Bill into law is a good thing.

The challenges are now around the issue of implementation. My expectations are limited by the philosophical backbone of the
law and subsisting practices in the nation on the issues of climate change.

“The basic underpinning of the law is acceptance that the basic challenge is one of fixation on the carbon molecules in the atmosphere. This is the global trend. This is what was elevated at COP26 in Glasgow.

“The Act requires the government to set emissions reduction target aimed at attaining a net zero carbon emissions by 2060.

“Now, the fossil fuels industry is the major champion of the net-zero concept. This concept is merely a glorified name for carbon offsetting which will rely on means such as direct carbon capture/storage and having trees, soils and oceans serve as carbon sinks.

Unfortunately net-zero doesn’t. It is not equal to zero.

“Beyond the carbon in the air, we should be concerned about the carbon in the ground. Can we afford to keep pumping out
the carbon and then go chasing after it in the atmosphere?

“The Act requires the setting up of a council headed by the President and populated by ministers and other top government officials.

Having a president head that council is a good idea and could really aid action.

“A problem would creep in if a president in office is indifferent to the climate crisis.

“There is critical need for the government to take urgent climate change actions that can build public confidence. In 2019 the president pledged to plant 25 million trees in Nigeria. What’s the scorecard on that?

With the Great Green Wall alone, that target can be met. But it must be planted with indigenous tree species and not water
sapping exotic trees like eucalyptus or even genetically modified ones.”

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