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Environmentalists urge actions against climate change

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To mitigate the negative impact of continuous hotness of weather on biodiversity survival, environmentalists have advocated planting of provenance trees, criminalization of indiscriminate tree felling as well as effective design of urban. The call was sequel to recent report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which rated 2019 as the second or third warmest year on record. With about 24-hours to close of the year, WMO, which consolidates leading international temperature datasets, will confirm the final ranking in January 2020.

According to the reports, the outgoing year has enjoyed long-term warming trend with temperatures for the five-year (2015-2019) and ten-year (2010-2019) periods almost certain to be the highest on record. WMO in a provisional statement on the state of global climate in 2019 which was presented at the just concluded UN Climate Change Conference said, “The average global temperature has risen by about 1.1°C since the pre-industrial era and the ocean by half a degree”.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas told the high-level segment of COP25 that, “The Arctic continues to melt and we have seen a boost in the melting of Greenland ice sheet which contributes to sea level rise in the southern hemisphere. Changes in the Arctic have an impact outside the Arctic in terms of cold patterns and heat waves in the northern hemisphere. We have broken records in the three main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. CO2 is the most important of these. We are heading towards a temperature increase of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of century.”

But Speaking in an interview with The Guardian on the way forward for Nigeria as the new year sets in, an environmentalist, Prof. Edem Eniang said the solution to mitigating the hotness of the weather is to drum it to the ear of all and sundry to plant more trees. Prof. Eniang reinforced that there was need to plan urban centres effectively by calling on urban regional planners, the architects and the environmentalists to come on board and design the future cities for the development of Nigeria

“If you are in Maiduguri, plant the trees that were originally in Maiduguri from ancient time. The same should be done in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State and others. Don’t bring foreign trees that we do us more harms. We should do this at the individual level too. Until we do this, we might continue to suffer the negative impact of the weather changes that conglomerate to form the climate change. Weather is changing and the sum total of the changes in weather condition of any environment makes up what we call climate change and climate change is a product of global warming. The mountains don’t have the ice caps anymore which are immediate evident of global warming. This on regular basis makes us to experience the disruption of the cycle of rain and so many discrepancies.”

He further said, “The desert up north is encroaching into areas that we never know the Sahara will get to. In Borno state, Lake Chad is drying. If you go to Kano and Katsina, even riding bike on the street, you will feel the air, so hot close to 40 degree Celsius or more and we are gradually heading to protoplasm break down point which is dangerous. Despite the trees in places like Abuja, the hot air is really severe.

“In all the regions of the world, countries that used to have ice cap, the ice caps are melting. The result is the level of increase in the sea level causing floods. We have lost many localities like in Akwa-Ibom state, lost some villages at the shoreline areas. Water levels have gone too high and those villages have been displaced. It has happened in Bayelsa and River states of Nigeria and other areas like Mount Cameroun”.

For the technical director, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr. Joseph Onoja, the society collectively needs to take immediate action by planting trees to reduce the current heat index from communities to urban locations to serve as shields.He said, “What you finds this days especially for developers is that when they want to develop an area, they will clear all the greeneries around and put concretes everywhere. Once you have concrete everywhere, once the sun heats it, there is no absorption of the heat, rather it is reflected and the heat index increases leading to increase in urban heat”.

“As government, we need to put policies in place that would ensure that tress are planted and criminalise indiscriminate tree clearing. The president talked about 25 million trees but if measures are not put in place to nurture them into maturity, we might continue to have high heat index in Nigeria.”
Historically, from 1980s each decade has been warmer than the previous one and the trend is expected to continue because of record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The past decade has been characterised by retreating ice, record sea levels, increasing ocean heat and acidification, and extreme weather. These have combined to have major impacts on the health and well being of both humans and the environment, as highlighted by WMO’s provisional statement on the state of the global climate in 2019.Official release by the UN National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed that January-November was the second hottest such period on record (behind 2016). The September to November season and the month of November were also the second hottest on record.


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