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How Nigeria can overcome climate change crisis, by experts

By Olayide Soaga
02 May 2022   |   4:00 am
As countries move to limit the impact of climate change, experts have expressed worries over ability of Nigeria to get out of the climate crisis due to lack of financial, technological know-how, over dependence on fossil fuels...

Climate change is aggravating erosion crisis in Nigeria, wrecking buildings, roads and farmland.

As countries move to limit the impact of climate change, experts have expressed worries over ability of Nigeria to get out of the climate crisis due to lack of financial, technological know-how, over dependence on fossil fuels and continuous use of generators, which worsen carbon emissions.

The experts, however, said Nigeria can only achieve net-zero emissions with her status as an oil-producing country through determination, transitioning to renewable sources of energy, reduction or banning diesel-propelled trucks and cars in the next 10 years and out law use of generators among other measures.

Climate change is an existential global crisis caused by human activities. Nigeria is one of the highly vulnerable countries, where climate change is ravaging the environment and posing challenges to the lives with negative impact that include flooding, drought, health complications and others.

The crisis cuts across borders and has been caused by historical emissions of carbon by developed countries since industrial revolution.

Nigeria’s northern regions infamous for their arid nature are experiencing a frequent increase in temperature coupled with desertification, droughts and land degradation. All of these affect the herdsmen domicile in the north, who have had to migrate to the Southern regions in search of pasture for their herds. Asides, the climate crisis exacerbates gender and socioeconomic inequality.

About 60 million Nigerians rely on generators to provide electricity for their homes and businesses. Generators provide 48.6 per cent of electricity in Nigeria, while the amount Nigerians spend on generators and fuel is pegged at $14 billion yearly.

Last year, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari made a declaration that Nigeria will reduce net-zero carbon emissions by 2060 during COP26 as a means of ameliorating climate change and the crisis that are associated with it, but this is not the first of such declarations regarding eradicating the climate change crisis.

The President, also, signed the Climate Change Act 2021, which seeks to provide a framework for achieving low greenhouse gas emissions and mainstream climate change actions, national plans and programmes into law.

The Guardian, found out that between 1971 and 2020, Nigeria’s carbon dioxide emissions increased yearly. In 2020, Nigeria produced 126.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

In terms of waste management, Nigeria produces 32 million tons of solid waste yearly with plastic waste constituting 2.5 million tons, making it one of the highest waste producers in Africa. While waste production can be channeled into generating wealth, Nigeria’s recycling industry is still in its infancy stage compared to what is obtainable in other countries of the world.

Speaking on the issue, the Director-General of Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, said many Nigerians cannot afford gas cookers or other forms of renewable energy for domestic use, hence, they rely on traditional means of cooking and other unfriendly enegy source.

According to him, most developing nations, including Nigeria do not have the financial capacity and technological means to cope or combat climate change.

He said: “Nigeria is in a tight corner being an oil producing country with crude oil generating up to 95 per cent of her foreign exchange. As the world is trying to transition from fossil fuels, this has serious consequences for economic development of the country and poverty index. It can throw a lot of Nigerians even deeper into poverty. Ninety-five per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange is threatened.”

A professor of Geography with specialisation on climatology, Emmanuel Oladipo, observed that the climate crisis is a global issue as the earth’s climate is governed and generated by complex interactive systems that do not recognise any political boundary. He added that it is why climate change is the most environmental challenge that the world recognises the need to tackle collectively.

According to him, the activity that contributes mostly to the climate crisis is deforestation and the use of wood for cooking.

Oladipo said: “Nigeria must realise that the world is moving toward less and less dependency on fossil fuels. Some countries are moving in the direction of drastically reducing or banning diesel-propelled trucks and cars in the next 10 years, most vehicles produced may be electric vehicles.”

The President, Nigerian Environmental Society, Dr. Dorothy Bassey, said Nigeria needs proper implementation of policies on climate change for it to get out of the crisis.

Bassey said: “It is possible for Nigeria to meet her climate change obligations only if urgent concrete action is taken. It is one thing to sign agreements, another to implement action plans. There are very clear strategies to be adopted by countries so the question is, are we ready to. It is the actions taken in addressing climate change that matters.

“Focusing on mass transportation particularly in the major cities of the country and adopting smart agricultural methods is the way to go. In almost all areas of man’s existence, there has to be a shift in the way we live if truly we are to meet set targets.”