Climate Change – The Bomb That Exploded while we Slept - By: . | Dailytrust

Climate Change – The Bomb That Exploded while we Slept

By: Ahmad Rabiu Musa & David Omisore

Nigeria, compared to other countries has been fairly insulated from the stint of climate change that has and is still rocking the world. Never in the known history of man has the climate ever exhibited such features as it does in contemporary times. According to the World Meteorological Organization, each decade since the 1980’s has been warmer than the previous one, and this is expected to continue. The past seven years have been the warmest ever, with the top three being 2016, 2019 and 2020. It is becoming increasingly impossible to predict what the climate throws at us and this has left us at its mercy. Consider one of the most unpredictable weather events in the U.S. history, Superstorm Sandy, which occurred on October 29, 2012 and killed more than 100 people with damages to the toll of more than $70 billion. This happened seven years after the Hurricane Katrina, a storm dubbed by the U.S. National Weather Service as “A Storm Like No Other.”

In the summer of 2010, Russia was hit by a heat wave, the most lethal in human history, that killed at least 55,000 people and caused a 40% loss of her wheat crops. The then head of the Russian Meteorological Center pointed out the vagaries of climate change despite having a record stretching a thousand years on abnormal weather situations and the dangers it posed to the nation. In the year 2018, Cape Town experienced an unprecedented water crisis; the city’s water consumption was nearly halved in a space of three weeks, from about 780 liters per day to under 550 liters, eventually sinking even lower. “They built us some toilets here, but we can’t use them because there is no water.” The lamentation by Eisle Hanse, an Eastern Cape province resident suffering from a seven-year long drought of her land to the BBC describes how genuflecting we have truly become to climate change. All this begs the question of whether Nigeria is truly insulated from the menacing climate or are we just still asleep.

According to a paper titled Climate change in Nigeria: impacts and responses, authored by Haider and Huma, “Nigeria’s climate has been changing, evident in: increases in temperature; variable rainfall; rise in sea level and flooding;

drought and desertification; land degradation; more frequent weather events; affected fresh water resources and loss of biodiversity. The duration and intensities of rainfall have increased, producing large runoffs and flooding in many places in Nigeria.” In 2019, floods in Nigeria displaced approximately 1.9 million Nigerians according to the National Emergency Management Agency. Excess rain and drought associated with climate change has caused a redistribution of crops in Nigeria and reduced their production in large quantities. “Consider Northern Nigeria, where crop production is heavily affected by drought. Crops are mostly flooded and are rendered less productive by flood. Major crops cultivated in the region include groundnuts, beans, cotton, sesame, cashew nuts, mango, cassava, yam, plantains, rice, and soybeans. Major soybeans-producing states such as Kaduna, Niger, Borno, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Kwara, Jigawa, Taraba, Benue, Bauchi, Sokoto, and Abuja FCT are now facing yield depreciation. As rainfall becomes more variable, farmers are no longer able to rely on their knowledge of the seasonality of climatic variables”; as documented by Toungos Mohammed and Hassan Tanko. Drying of Lake Chad has affected the economic lives of people in the Northeastern parts of Nigeria and further aggravated poverty, and insecurity in the region. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, the lake shrank by as much as 95% from about 1963-1998 due to the surge of chronic droughts caused by global warming. For Nigeria, a country where agriculture contributes significantly to its GDP, this is alarming.

The Niger Delta, one of the major drivers of the Nigerian economy through its numerous oil wells, is feeling the effect of being the breadwinner of the Nigerian family. In the year 2015, Nigeria was the world’s 17th biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, and majority of those gases were emitted in the Niger delta region. The practice of illegal oil mining and gas flaring has made the environment practically unhabitable. In some parts of the city of Port Harcourt, it is difficult to breathe clean air because of the level of soot contamination of the atmosphere. This air pollution by soot has been listed by the United State’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a very deadly form of air pollution.

In the year 2018, Port Harcourt was rated by Air Visual as the worst polluted city in the world with an air index of 188, followed by Beijing and if not properly managed could become a hub for adverse respiratory diseases, skin and reproductive conditions, heart problems and cancer. The Ogoni land area of the Niger delta has been credited as one of the most polluted places on earth. In the fifteen years between 1976 to 1991, the Ogoni land was polluted by over two million barrels of oil spillage. According to a study by Oyinlade and Vincent on The Ogoni of Nigeria, “Ogoni land had abundant, fertile soil prior to the oil drilling in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The extraordinary fertility had previously enabled the Ogoni to make a good living as subsistence agriculturists. At the height of its agricultural production, people came from all over to buy Ogoni-produced and processed food.” However, this prime Ogoni land is far cry from where it presently is. The land has been darkened by the recurring oil spills and the rivers, which once was the pride of the Ogoni fishermen and contributed to economic growth, have been reduced to a project stuck in bureaucracy, stealing from the very people it once empowered.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s remark at the recently concluded UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) held in Glasgow stating, “The climate crisis will not be fixed by causing an energy crisis in Africa”, however true, does not help the problem we are facing at hand. Scores of people have been killed by this very climate and to further make excuses for its causes is unbecoming. Health disorders in the past two decades have been on the increase, with Port Harcourt alone boasting of about 22,077 persons that have suffered from respiratory related ailments in the past five years. Our rivers have become more acidified and less hospitable to aquatic life. Crop production in Nigeria is suffering from the epileptic climate. Nigeria is at world’s end and thinking we have till 2060 to make ends meet truly depicts how slumbered we have become.
It is time to act, the global Paris Agreement goal was to keep global warming ‘well below 2°C’ and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C this was reiterated at the recently concluded COP26. To achieve and contribute to tackling climate change and reducing effects of its risk on our dear world, we need to invest in

sustainable energy transitions and climate resilience, set realistic and achievable greenhouse gases (GHG) emission targets.
The mining and construction sector should imbibe best sustainable practices, the government needs ensure GHG emissions checks and regulations on related industries; promote green investments through financial institutions and development agencies; knowledge base expansion efforts to learn and understand more about the climate system; invest in research and scientific assessments.
Technological development can help reveal risks and opportunities associated with the climate system and support decision-making with respect to climate change risk management, adding a price to greenhouse gas emissions, which creates incentives to reduce emissions broadly. Adding a price to greenhouse gas emissions is a particularly noteworthy policy option because it would be expected to have a broad-reaching impact on emissions; it has received a great deal of attention from the research community; and it has been a focus of policy discussions since climate change emerged as a public issue.
Finance is also key in addressing Climate Change. In the recent AFDB (African Development Banks) 2022 annual meeting in Accra, Ghana a commitment pledge of $25B was made by the bank to double finance and green investments on tackling climate change. The World Bank earlier pledged $22B towards the same cause from the year 2020 to 2025, other financial institutions and DFIs should follow suite so that significant impact can be made towards tackling the unceasing consequences of the bomb that exploded while we slept – Climate Change.

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