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New IPCC report wake up call for Nigerians, say environmentalists

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PHOTO: Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP

Hundreds of millions of people living in world’s coastal areas, from villages to megacities are likely to experience diverse weather disasters by 2050, going by the recent report by the United Nation.

The implication is that low –lying areas like Lagos, Portharcourt and other low-lying coastal cities in Nigeria are vulnerable to the impending disaster if emissions are left unchecked.

According to the latest special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by 2050, many coastal regions will experience once-a-century weather catastrophes every year, affecting millions and causing devastation.

The latest special report found that by 2050, many coastal megacities and small island nations would experience once-a-century weather catastrophes every year.

Consequently, urgent action to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving rising temperatures will limit the damage to the oceans and frozen areas and the people and wildlife that rely on them, experts behind the report said.

There is also a need to focus on helping people and natural systems adapt to the already inevitable changes, such as rising seas, the latest report from the IPCC found.

Saudi Arabia had been obstructing the process by taking issue with the inclusion of a report which predicted the effects of a 1.5°C (34.7°F) average global temperature rise.

More than 100 scientists from around the world have assessed the latest science about the role of climate change on ocean, coastal, polar and mountain systems, and the human communities that depend on them.

Sea levels could rise by around 30cm to 60cm by 2100 even if greenhouse gases are rapidly cut and global warming is kept to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, but around 60-110 cm if emissions continue to increase, the study said.

Speaking on the impact on Lagos and other coastal cities in Nigeria, an environmentalist and Professor of Ecotoxicology and Pollution Management in the university of Lagos, Adebayo Otitoloju said it was just reminding us the obvious truth that we have to start doing our own adaptation strategy to avoid any catastrophe since most of our cities like Lagos, Calabar and Portharcourt close to the coast are low lying.

According to him, there an increase in the ocean rising temperature and level that will affect all the areas that are low lying.

Prof Otitoloju said, “we can always to do our own part to reduce the level of emission to eliminate those aspect that are human induced because that is what everybody is saying all over the world now, so we have to contribute our own bit in terms of reducing emission, planting more trees which are going to carbon traps that is those that will capture a lot of carbon dioxide that are in the atmosphere and probably re-afforestation particularly in the areas we have desertification.”

Also, environmentalist activist, and former chairman of Friends of the Earth International, Nnimmo Bassey said the report is a wake up call because it is just what we have been suspecting all along.

He stressed that when IPCC released their report on last year they told the world to take serious climate action to avoid a real climate chaos now that it is 11 years to go, the new coastal region has indicated that the world have to shift totally from fossil fuel in 2050.

According to him, if we have to do something dramatic to remove fossil and if we have that kind of projected sea level rise , it means that the entire coastal cities are in danger.

“ Many of our major cities are on the coast line from Lagos to Calabar, Portharcourt, Warri , it means that all these places and all the infrastructural investments , every thing will be under water the way things are going.

In fact there are more alarming report that we should works hard because if we are going to have some sea level height we cannot imagine in land cities that are up to 100 to coast line will be impacted, really this is serious emergency and require urgent action .

For the President, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation, SETPOM, Dr. Funmilayo Doherty, Dr. Funmilayo Doherty , government should take immediate actions to curtail climate change, because there is already rise in atmospheric temperature which may affect coastal region like Lagos.

According to her, we have a lot of development alone the coast line and the government is not doing much about environmental issue because when it distorts the natural environment , the disaster will likely occur.

“We need to understand the causes and address those problems like air pollution in our country, we definitely use alternative means of electricity that contribute to carbon monoxide, which is the major green house gas. We need to address the problem first and let environmental impact assessment should be done when estates and properties are being built along the coastline region”, she added.


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