10th May 2024

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By Olumide Ogunlade


Germany’s Special Envoy for International Climate Action Delivers A Rousing And Remarkable Speech In Lagos.

Since independence and as a sovereign nation, Nigeria continues to enjoy blossoming and blissful relationship with like-minded and progressive allies around the world with results that are reassuring and rewarding. Being a respected and friendly country, with a foreign policy of ‘Friendship To All And Malice To None’, Nigeria carefully choses her friends and cautiously crafts her associations, a wise national decision that is boosting her domestic engagements and international involvements.

Germany is a strong, steadfast and strategic partner any country can desire, and Nigeria is blessed to have won its hands of friendship. Among Nigeria’s fondest friends, Germany ranks atop, and the enviable and enduring alliance fostered over the years between both renown sovereignties is waxing stronger daily. The European giant is a nation desirous and demonstrative of a better and greater Nigeria, and its contacts, communions and commitments over the years with the nation and people are enhancing desired developments and cordiality. Moreso, the conviviality and productive interactions between German citizens at home, abroad and those working, living and visiting Nigeria with Nigerians across the planet are hugely motivating and exemplary. Importantly too, the collaborative efforts of the countries’ leaders, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Ahmed Tinubu are fostering progress and promotions and strengthening Africa and Europe relations.

The climate crisis increases risks and costs, causes damage to the economy and destroys livelihoods. The longer we wait to change things, the worse it will get. The sooner we act, the better…. Jennifer Morgan

Both countries also have profound pacts in security and defence cooperation, socio-cultural development, trade & commerce growth, educational partnership, youth development, sports and media growth, climate change activities, energy and environmental sustainability, people-to-people ties, among others.  And, these great gaits and gains garnered over decades are seen growth models to many desiring true friendship.

Mrs Jeniffer Morgan delivering her public lecture

Kudos therefore to its diplomatic mission and formal representations in the country: the German Embassy in Abuja under the dynamic leadership of Her Excellency, Ambassador Annette Gunther, a woman of significance and salutary strides and the German Consulate General in Lagos, headed by a distinguished, dedicated and developmentally inclined diplomat, Mr. Weert Borner for their great jobs of deepening diplomacy and development, and for bolstering Germany-Nigeria Ties.

As climatic crises continue to cause disasters and devastations around the world sparing no nation, Nigeria is also not immune of its calamitous outcomes. Climate change is precipitating untold sufferings with profound effects in the country even as the Nigerian government and development partners are working round the clock towards mitigating these unsavoury impacts. The earth is faced with rising global temperatures, raging intensity of natural disasters, sea-level rise, coastal erosion, flooding, and displacement of heatwaves, droughts, and storms, extreme weather events, increased frequency and communities are disheartening issues to contend with. Water scarcity, changes in precipitation patterns and increased evaporation, loss of biodiversity; extinction of species and disruption of ecosystems, food insecurity: impacts on agriculture, fisheries, and food systems, human migration and conflict are also confronting issues staring us at the face. Sadly too, climate-related displacement and social unrest, economic costs, damage to infrastructure, increased healthcare expenses and loss of productivity are some of these climatic problems encountered in our country, continent and several territories of the world with the poor worst hit.

In addition to these precarious occurrences is a terrifying data presented by the World Economic Forum which showed that climate change is likely to cause an additional 14.5 million deaths worldwide by 2050 among dire economic loss. Something must therefore be done and quickly too in addressing these.

And, as part of efforts in providing solutions to the afore mentioned is the need for climate change awareness, education, actions, improvement and the energy transition pursuits and partnership with Nigeria. This is further boosted by the official visit of German State Secretary (Deputy Minister), Mrs. Jennifer Morgan, Special Envoy for International Climate Action at the Federal Foreign Office, Berlin, to Nigeria from 5th to 8th May 2024. Leveraging on this, the German Consulate General in Lagos in collaboration with University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos organised an eye-opening public lecture on the 7th of May, 2024, at the Tayo Aderinokun lecture hall on the very important and relevant topic: The Climate Crisis & The Global Energy Transition –Challenges & Opportunities.

Mrs. Jennifer Morgan is an erudite and globally celebrated German American climate change advocate, who has held various leadership positions, including being the Director of the Global Climate Campaign of WWF International, Director of the Climate Program of the think tank World Resources Institute (WRI). She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Council for Sustainable Development of the Federal Government among other public and private commitments on climate and environmental improvements. Like her country’s friendly dispositions, Jennifer Morgan is a pleasant personality, a much-loved guest, well-articulated and well-equipped with the requisite knowledge to deliver such remarkable lecture at this momentous time in the country.

“We now have a target, backed up by a series of laws and policies, of 80 percent renewables in the electricity sector by 2030, and we want to be climate neutral by 2045. And according to our independent Environment Agency, we are on track”...Morgan

The Special Envoy assertively and expertly delved into many aspects of the subject matter to the admiration and applause of the attendees. She began her oration by acknowledging the vibrant and prosperous City-State with its abounding development prospects, urging the arrays of participants particularly the students and youths-audience to seize prevailing opportunities and inspirations Lagos offers for their personal, national and global advancements and impacts.

She noted that amidst multiple challenges of debt, pollution, development, energy, climate, food, security, violence, criminalities, drug and migration issues, there is also the possibility and blessedness of a rising economic transformation that must be collectively embraced and pursued. The ‘Green Economy’ she posited is one that is: increasingly based on clean, renewable energies: solar, hygienic and safe societies; a departure from the dangers and demands of fossils fuels, a new global human health realisation occasioned by a sharp decrease on carbon pollutants and clean air emergence for the environment and its inhabitants. She encouraged a shared vision and collective actions on green economy promotions and  sustainability and why it is a faster and surer pathway for better life, a diversified, more social justice and equitable development.

Prof Chukwu (R) moderating the event while Consul General Borner (L) listens with rapt attention.

Buttressing on its inherent benefits, the Special Representatives shed more light on Germany’s energy transition efforts, explaining with proven statistical data on the Deutschland Republic (and Europe) transformative direction that is now heading towards an expected, enduring, and exponentially rewarding future. She alerted that it has become a risky economic strategy for global economies to be reliant on fossil fuel as their national production drivers and determinants, citing that lessons should be learnt on the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, and why heavily dependent nations on Fossil Fuel should start thinking on expanding renewables as part of their national planning, societal protection and energy security pursuits. She commended the determinations of Chile to end carbon energy, transits to renewables and achieve the net-zero goal, and South Africa activities and partnership to make renewable energies, its value chains and green Hydrogen production soonest realities and benefits.

Indeed, Nigeria already has an ambitious Energy Transition Plan. Your country is well placed to both meet national energy access goals and also remain a central player internationally over the years through renewable energies and hydrogen, in particular from renewable sources. Nigeria is also rich in critical raw materials, like Lithium, which are in high demand in the renewables-based economy…. Mrs. Jennifer Morgan

“Mrs Morgan also elicited the interests of many at the event (and in the country at large) on the need to continually stand up and be counted as advocates of climatic change and global environmental improvements promoters. For her, we can’t look away from this crisis, because of its enormous negative implications. Keeping the global average temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees C above preindustrial levels; halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050 are realisable targets with developed countries and key stakeholders taking the lead and showing stronger commitments. Furthermore, she emphasised on the promotions of strong infrastructures, resilient agricultural practices, low carbon world economy, multilateral cooperation, intentional investments on training and vocational efforts on building of batteries, solar power, electrolysers, or electric vehicles, climate financing, international funding, adopting decisions made at COP28 in Dubai and removing barriers and bottlenecks to energy transition among others as core necessities for climatic change challenges solutions.

As fossil fuel (Oil & Gas) and coal usage gradually thins out, making right decisions and the courage to act towards transiting are key proactive considerations among user nations. The speaker therefore used the opportunity of her lecture to urge Nigeria to quicken her steps and direction towards energy transition: this she assures is the best navigation to a quicker, better, safer and liveable country. She listed the demerits of Fossil Fuel usage and also the vast merits and transformations abounding in the new energy usage stressing that doubling down on ‘Renewable Energy’ investment is the correct pathway to national prosperity and peace of mind.

Cross-section of guests the event

Speaking on the gains of Nigeria-Germany Energy Partnership and Progress, she stated that Germany has had an energy partnership with Nigeria since 2008. Quoting her, “I came here to talk with the Nigerian government on how we can advance this energy partnership as an instrument for effective dialogue on cooperation on energy but also on climate change action” The Special Envoy lecture was greeted with a rousing ovation from guests comprising energy experts, environmental advocates, students, diplomatic corps, private sectors, media and friends of the UNILAG and German Consulate, Lagos.

For the transition to get traction in Africa, we need to bring the investments, the capabilities and the capacities to the places where they have to be – in a just and inclusive way…Africa is a powerhouse of untapped potential, eager to engage and fairly compete in the global markets. ”….JM

The event which was moderated by Prof. Lucian Chukwu of the Department of Marine Sciences had a Q & A session, free distribution of educative publications/materials from the Consulate, and a meet & greet and photo session. Thereafter, the Special Envoy proceeded for another insightful interview on her visitation and activities in one of the nation’s leading Television Stations, Arise TV in Lagos.

ANIM Editor-in-Chief, Mr Olumide Ogunlade at the event

Kudos to the University of Lagos under the distinguished Vice Chairmanship Professor Folasade Ogunsola and Consul General Weert Borner of the German Consulate General Lagos for successful hosting a memorable and life-changing lecture and engagement.

Acclaim Nigeria International Magazine was there and covered the event.


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