Coping with effects of climate change!
Soaring temperatures, arguably, occasioned by climate change, which has been a subject of intense debate for sometime could unleash havoc on peoples’ livelihood system across the world.
It is inescapable and so humanity is faced with the challenge of taking necessary measures to save modern civilisations from the blind forces of nature.
It has been on the table that the impacts of global warming could be catastrophic if unchecked.
This phenomenon has been at the centre of several climate negotiations since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), otherwise called the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992.
The Conference, which produced the treaty referred to as the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aimed at stabilising the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.
The blazes in Greece that killed 91 people in July was followed by at least 14 active wild fires that burned through southern California and another four deadly wildfires that erupted in central Portugal have been ugly fallouts of supposedly uncontrollable rising temperatures.
Thousands of acres of woodlands in the affected regions were destroyed along with billions of dollars worth of property.
Hundreds of fire fighters battled the infernos as thousands of people were evacuated from their homes. The impacts have been horrific and pathetic, to say the least.
The Japanese government had in the wake of the soaring temperatures declared a national disaster as death toll rose to above 80 while another 22,000 people were treated in hospitals. Japan’s weather agency described the sweeping heat wave as unprecedented.
Virtually, all countries in the hitherto cold countries experienced the summer heat wave to different degrees.
The development cast a shadow of gloom on the usual summer outdoor activities with its holidaying and picnicking. People are more occupied with looking for shelters under the scorching heat instead.
The other extreme of weather gone awry came in the form of floods induced by torrential rains wrecking havoc in some countries.
From Africa to Europe, Asia and America, the story is the same about unprecedented floods swallowing peoples, property and infrastructure.
In late June through mid July, successive heavy torrential downpours that induced devastating floods and mudflows ravaged Japan with Typhoon Prapiroon ploughing the western areas of the country.
Some 225 people were confirmed dead across 15 prefectures while another 13 were reported missing. The estimated damage to property was put at $6.6 billion.
Countries in south Asia that are usually bombarded with floods during the monsoon season are reeling in pain and agony from unusually ferocious torrential rains.
India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are taking the worst deluge from these climatic anomalies.
For instance, the unusually heavy rains in Kerala State in India, led to severe floods that burst dams.
The floods described as the worst in nearly a century caused the death of over 350 people within a fortnight, while more than 82,000 were rescued from different districts. About $3 billion worth of property were destroyed.
These unfolding scenarios show the extent to which humanity is vulnerable in the face of blind forces of nature.
It is not that the issue of climate change is new. Since the debate on the understanding of climate change began some 200 years ago amongst 19th century scientists, skeptics have continued to advance contrary views in an attempt to disprove the phenomenon as a ruse.
The skepticism may account for the failure of the world to forge a consensus on how best to stem the tide of climate-induced catastrophe wrecking havoc across the world.
Thus, rather than abating, climate change is unfolding with furry. Everyone feels the impacts.
Nigeria is having her fair share of the disasters linked to climate change. Severe desertification in the North; ravaging floods particularly in the South and accelerated erosion in many southern states are some of the impacts – that are not unexpected, anyway.
The likelihood of a possible submergence of Nigeria’s oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta area in the event of a sea level rise ought to evoke concern.
Who can fathom what the country stands to lose in the event of such a disaster occurring? Obviously, Nigeria lacks the capacity to deal with a major natural disaster. We have never been able to prepare the nation for any serious science and technology issues.
What is worse, most of the country’s tertiary institutions and even research institutes are poorly equipped and so can’t be relied upon for advisories and warning signals.
However, with a new irresistible desire to save humanity from the ravages of climate disasters unfolding across the world, an agreement was finally reached and signed in Paris in December 2015.
Known as the Paris Climate Agreement, the development was hailed by peoples around the world.
Most world leaders with the curious exception of the United States called it, “a major leap for mankind.”
But the withdrawal of America has cast a shadow on the agreement.
The withdrawal of the United States from the first-ever landmark agreement adopted by 195 countries on this important issue of climate change is a great disappointment but not altogether unexpected given that America under President George Bush, vehemently opposed any action that would interfere with America’s over-consumptive lifestyle.
While snubbing the agreement and announcing America’s withdrawal from it, President Donald Trump described the pact as “an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries.”
This is ridiculous considering that America, on yearly basis, suffers from some of the worst disasters linked to climate change in the form of hurricanes.
If, for nothing else, America ought to be in the forefront of the global action to stem the impacts of climate change.
It is gratifying to note, however that some private citizens including Michael Bloomberg, a media mogul has filled some financial gaps to the United Nations in this regard on behalf of his country, the United States.
As climate change appears inevitable, Nigeria should be more proactive. Research should be given priority.
Climate change should not be treated as an afterthought. Tree planting campaigns should be mounted. The people should be involved without waiting for government directive.
The matter should be taken as a national priority and not taken for granted. Resources should be channeled into unraveling how the country would be affected in the worst-case scenario.
The sporadic attitude towards climate change should change. The global climate change issue is too important to be left to governments alone.
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