Climate change has become not just a global issue but a developmental one at that. As a result, many initiatives have been created to try to give a common attention to the problem in that last couple of decades. The 24th session of the Conference of the Parties, COP24 under the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC kicked off in Poland at the weekend. President Muhammadu Buhari led the country’s delegation to the event. Thus,it is time Nigeria began to pay critical attention to the distribution of weather patterns also known as climate change and when that change goes on for over a period of time. Media reports indicate that in 2018, Nigeria experienced flood disasters affecting more than ten states and 327,000 people, as well as over 60 hectares of farmland across the states.
To be more direct, in many parts of southern Nigeria where Harmattan should have ceased around this time, nothing like that has happened instead what we have is more heat. This is ominous. Nevertheless, the primary cause of global warming is attributed to some human activities such as deforestation in massive proportions, bush burning, and carbon monoxide emission, among others. Again, more cause for concern is the report suggesting that the country’s Guinea Savannah is equally depleting as a result of logging and over dependence on fire wood for domestic activities. And in many parts of the South East and South South, there have been reports of gulley erosion which has destroyed several communities and farmlands.
The rising sea levels caused by global warming which has led the icebergs of the northern articulated circle melt are also threatening the country’s coastal regions. We cannot forget the vital issue of the drying up of Lake Chad. This situation alone is serious because of its palpable economic and security implications. Reports by the United States of America National Agency for Space Administration (NASA), Global Climate Change, warned that Lake Chad is slowly being transformed into a desert landscape. It was said to be about the size of Lake Erie in the mid-1960s. However, the report states that persistent drought conditions, added to increased demand for freshwater for irrigation, have reduced Lake Chad to about five per cent of its former size. “As the waters receded, the silts and sediments resting on the lakebed were left to dry in the scorching African sun”, the report concludes.
The Lake Chad Basin area of which Nigeria is part of (as Lake Chad is mostly in the far west of Chad, bordering on North eastern (Nigeria) is also said to be facing one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises as a result of attacks by the Boko Haram sect in Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.
The less attention paid to global warming in Nigeria, in our opinion has led to all of these issues which must be addressed through preventive and adaptive measures. To this end, more research and studies should be carried out on ways to tackle global warming in Nigeria. With knowledge of key theories, methods and sources of information, an agenda can be set for this administration to fully engage in fighting this scourge.
More awareness and Nigeria’s participation in the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, (IPCC) assessment framework and risks to better set the pace for government agencies on Climate change is required as global warming affects all. One of such programmes already exists in Nigeria which is the strengthening of stakeholders’ capacity towards mainstreaming climate change into state development plans organised by Department of Climate Change under the Federal Ministry of Environment and National Planning Commission, NPC, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.
The Paris Agreement’s long-term goal is to guard against the increase in global average temperature to below 2°c above pre-industrial levels and to limit the rise to 1.5°c, since this would substantially reduce the risks and impact of global warming. Again, the primary causes of global warming should be addressed and controlled to preserve not just Nigeria, but the entire planet. To prepare for the effects of global warming, adaptation is key. Adapting to global warming in a way that recognises the varying needs and vulnerabilities of all sections of the society should be targeted. This matter is not politics, it’s science. If scientists can find the cure for malaria, or invent the telephone or aeroplane then we should better take their word for it where it concerns climate change. Let’s not be like President Trump who lives in denial yet has look for fire fighters to put out fire in parts of his country. We must go beyond conference attendees to drawing and following an action plan. The time is now.