Climate change: Govt moves to reduce emission from ships
Environment Minister, Mr. John Odey, said in Abuja over the weekend, at an awareness conference on climate change to mark this years’ World Maritime Day, that one way they could reduce emission from ships was through the use of renewable energy sources that are climate sensitive and environmentally friendly. The conference was organised by the country’s maritime administration, the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The minister also called on the International Maritime Organisation to maintain its leading position in developing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) strategies and mechanisms for international shipping besides co-operating closely with other relevant United Nation bodies to avoid unilateral action on a global, regional or national level.
The minister also called on the IMO to formulate maritime policies that would further enhance with climate consciousness just as he implored it to set a measurable, verifiable and reportable emission reduction target at a considerable date to save the climate and humanity from its negative consequences.
“I am particularly more impressed by the willing demonstration by the maritime sector’s exhibition of readiness to combat it (climate change). The acknowledgement of the devastating and cross-cutting nature of climate change and the desire shown in creating awareness in today’s celebration is one evidence that the entire globe have woken up to the clarion call to consider integrating issues of climate change into all spheres and sector of human existence,” he said.
Odey lamented that developing countries including Nigeria already have some challenges, including diseases, drought, poverty, flooding, desertification, population growth, and lack of access to clean water among a handful of others, adding that climate change as additional problem would only exacerbate and complicate these problems.
“Climate change and our response to the multi-faceted problems it represents has really become the defining challenge of our age in the 21st century… climate change is a challenge not only to IMO but also to all sectors of our national and international economies.”
Transport Minister, Alhaji Ibrahim Bio, who used the occasion to campaign for Nigeria in her bid to return to the council of International Maritime Organisation in category C, said it would place the country in a good position to contribute to the process of decision making on matters relating to safety of shipping, efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly shipping activities.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Barrister Raymond Omatseye said Nigeria as a member of the IMO was aligning with the theme of IMO by organising a special National Conference on the challenges and consequences of climate change in Nigeria.
According to Omatseye, scientists have proved beyond doubt that climate change was affecting patterns of life and general living conditions of people all over the world.
Most importantly, the changes have had effect in availability of water, food production, health, cultures, economic well being, recreation and tourism among others, he said.
Painting a glooming future, if proper adaptation was not worked out, he said, “Millions of people especially in developing countries, including Nigeria would be confined to perpetual poverty and precarious condition of living as a result of food and water scarcity, coastal flooding and extreme change in weather due to global warming as the likely symptom of climate change.
He said the talk on climate change was real, adding that the devastating consequences have started to feature all over the world. The consequences, he said, could be evident in desertification and land degradation.
“It is a global issue that requires local solutions. We must therefore, as a nation, build a strong partnership and collaboration in our efforts in combating this menace. Permit me to inform you that as a major stakeholder in the fight against global warming, NIMASA has entered into collaborative efforts on climate change with a number of organisations, and academic institutions, while also considering the elimination of unseaworthy vessels from our waters.”
The Director General of Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET), Dr. Anthony Anuforom attributed the current rainfall pattern in the country to the effect of Climate Change, which he said has affected all Socio-Economic Sector.
“NIMET, as the authoritative voice on the nation’s weather and Climate, has been observing the nation’s weather for over 100 years and as such has in its custody these invaluable climate facts and figures. Yes indeed, Nigeria’s climate is warning, resulting in variabilities and changes in the rainfall patterns, which is affecting almost all our socio-economic sector especially agriculture, water resources and marine sectors,” he alarmed.
The NIMET boss said his Agency and NIMASA have been collaborating to put in place a framework that would strengthen early warning services on the various hazardous weather events along the nations coast for safety of lives and sustainable maritime activities in the country.
To mitigate and evolve a strategies against the impact of Climate Change, Dr. Victor Fodeke of the Federal Ministry of Environment, said there was need to use newer and energy efficient engines, use alternative energy than fossil, ensure commitment towards the reduction of emission from ships, and development of maritime policies that would enhance climate change consciousness. He also emphasised the need for developing countries to step up action by taking their differentiated responsibility, technological potential and economic capability into account.
The university don said the impact of climate change in Nigeria would include shifts in the boundaries of major ecological zones, alteration in animal and plant composition, greater soil erosion and flooding in areas of higher rainfall.
In her paper on “Climate change: A global challenge, Mrs. J. A Gunwa, director Marine environment management department of NIMASA, said progress had been made in developing technical and operational measures to address emission from ships by developing an energy efficiency design index for new ships and an energy efficiency operational indicator, with associated guidelines for all ships, and a voluntary code on the best practice in energy efficient ship operations.
She said that Nigeria, through NIMASA had responded to the global climate change by collaborating with NIMET and OAU in establishing climate observatories, making concerted efforts towards the ratification, an aspect of MARPOC which deals with air pollution and above all, ensuring the elimination of un-sea worthy vessels from waters besides the abolition of single hall tankers.
By David Ogah