Climate change, simply put change in global weather patterns, is unarguably the biggest environmental issue of our time. Climate change is global in its causes but its consequences are far more reaching in developing countries particularly Nigeria whose biodiversity and ecosystems are already faced with other threats like habitat degradation, ecology-economics mismatch and escalating population growth.
NCF acknowledges that climate change is the most important human-induced environmental challenge that could exacerbate biodiversity loss caused by habitat destruction, invasive alien species and the like. We have therefore put in place 5-point mitigation and adaptation strategies to combat climate change in Nigeria. These are enlightenment campaign, mitigation strategy, adaptation initiatives, policy and advocacy, and carbon finance.
1. Enlightenment Campaign
Results of climate change awareness survey recently conducted by British World Service Trust revealed that an average Nigerian is not aware of climate change despite its impact on our day-to-day activities. Little or no attention is paid to alarming change in weather pattern such as excessive flooding experienced in different parts of Nigeria in 2008, increased aridity and intense desert encroachment witnessed in northern Nigeria in the past one decade or the dwindling flow of Niger Basin and other major waterways corroborating poor agricultural yield, communal clashes over natural resources management and siltation of the river basin.
NCF therefore has in its on-going climate change enlightenment campaign strategies to sensitize Nigerians, particularly youth across the country and women in rural environment who are the most vulnerable groups to climate change and its attendant impact. The enlightenment campaigns will contribute to climate change adaptation strategies and address what Nigerians can do as a citizen to lessen the impact of climate change.
The pilot phase of the enlightenment campaign started in 2008 with the annual celebration of World Environment Day (WED) 2008 tagged CO2: Kick the Habit. In tandem with the celebration, the enlighten campaign was also mainstreamed into the toolkit of NCF facilitated School Conservation Clubs. The School Conservation Clubs spread across the country is an arm of Education Unit of NCF instituted to reach out to and empower secondary school on environmental sustainability issues.
2. Mitigation Strategy
Tropical forests accounts for 15% of the earth land cover and contains not less than 25% carbon stock on earth surface. Despite the significant role of carbon storage among other vital benefit to man’s existence, they are daily unsustainably deforested with little or no regeneration plan. Deforestation thus leads to emission of carbon dioxide, major constituent of Greenhouse Gases into the atmosphere making change in land cover second largest contributor to global warming.
Although Nigeria may not have the finance resources or sophisticated technology to mitigate climate change, the country is endowed with mosaic of natural ecosystems that have the capacity for carbon sequestration. NCF therefore plans to combat climate change in Nigeria through:
i) Implementation of Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) for Protected Area management;
ii) Development of REDD Action Plan (REDDAP) for Nigeria in collaboration with relevant Government agencies, private sector and civil societies;
iii) Engaging in climate change policy discussions especially on REDD;
iv) Scientific research on carbon stock assessment/forecast.
3. Adaptation Initiatives
Climate change poses development setback to Nigeria. With increasing global warming impact, wet areas are experiencing intermittent flooding and dry areas getting drier. Consequently, ecosystems and biodiversity which underpin biological productivity and socio-economic development, through the provision of many goods and services to people and the manufacturing sector will eventually be degraded if urgent steps are not taken.
Ecosystem services produced by ecosystems and biodiversity such as food, water, timber, fuel and fibre, particularly food are one of the key drivers of inflation rate. Scarcity of or shortage in supply to the food market due to poor agricultural yield triggers high cost of essential commodities which has significant impact on the nation’s economy. It will suffice to say climate change will exacerbate the dwindling inflation rate of essential commodities required for daily living.
NCF climate change adaptation initiative therefore seeks to assist communities especially those around our intervention sites to increase their resilience to climate change induced challenges such as food security, agriculture, watershed management, and natural systems (i.e. ecosystems and biodiversity) conservation
4. Policy Advocacy
Nigeria is yet to be at the forefront of climate change policy forum at regional and international levels despite the alarming effect of changing climate on lives and livelihoods across the 6 geo-political zones of Nigeria. We are constrained by resolution of international agreement that we are party to despite little or no technical input to adopted positions.
Hence, NCF plans to gather relevant technical information required for holistic climate change policies in Nigeria and also support Nigeria’s position at regional and international climate change forums.
5. Carbon Finance
Several funding schemes have been adopted globally to support climate change mitigation and adaptation such as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under Kyoto Protocol. Nigeria however is barely able to benefit from these global resources due to several factors such as stringent CDM funding guideline and inadequate private sector engagement in climate change programmes.
Going forwards, NCF plans to raise funds to support climate change projects through 1% support for climate change campaign. The campaign seeks Government injunction for private sector to contribute 1% net profit to fund climate change agenda in Nigeria. Individuals will also have opportunity to offset their carbon footprint and join the global league of carbon neutral scenario.
NB: Press Cutting Service
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-HABITAT.