Global warming: How Nigeria can unlock opportunities for green growth – Mbah

By Juliet Umeh

As global warming persists, a climate change advocate, Grace Mbah, an Executive Director, Climate Change Africa, CCA, has identified the issues with Nigeria and how the country can tackle it.
More so, she itemized how Nigeria can tap from the opportunities the challenges have presented to achieve sustainable growth and reduce poverty.

As a climate change advocate, kindly tell us some of the climate issues bedevilling Nigeria and indeed the moonAfrican continent lately?

The climate challenges facing Nigeria and many African countries are indeed multifaceted. As highlighted by the United Nations Environment Programme, Africa’s vulnerability to climate change stems from its heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture and its limited adaptive capacity.

The alarming deforestation rates in Nigeria, losing an estimated 3.7 percent of our forests annually according to the UN, are deeply concerning. Deforestation not only leads to biodiversity loss but also exacerbates soil erosion and diminishes carbon sequestration. Similarly, desertification, affecting approximately 45% of Africa’s land area, poses a significant threat, especially to Nigeria’s northern region, resulting in the loss of arable land and livelihoods.

Moreover, erratic rainfall patterns and increasing flooding further compound the challenges faced by agriculture and infrastructure.

IMG 20240417 WA0031
Executive Director, Climate Change Africa CCA, Grace Mbah

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of the likelihood of more frequent and intense extreme weather events, including floods, exacerbating food insecurity and displacing communities across Africa.

The rise in temperatures, attributed to global warming, has profound implications for health, agriculture, and water resources. According to the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, temperatures in Nigeria have indeed risen, with 2023 marking one of the hottest years on record, underscoring the urgency of addressing climate change.

Please, identify how some of these issues can be addressed

Sustainable land management practices like agroforestry and conservation agriculture play a vital role in mitigating deforestation and soil degradation while simultaneously boosting agricultural productivity. Initiatives such as the Nigerian Conservation Foundation’s Green Recovery Nigeria project are actively engaging farmers to adopt these sustainable practices.

Furthermore, reforestation efforts are paramount in restoring degraded landscapes and capturing carbon. The Great Green Wall Initiative, a pan-African endeavour, has set its sights on restoring a staggering 100 million hectares of land across the Sahel region, including areas within Nigeria, through tree planting and sustainable land management techniques.

Investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, is pivotal in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, implementing climate-resilient agricultural techniques, like cultivating drought-tolerant crop varieties and implementing efficient water management practices, is critical for bolstering food security amidst the challenges posed by climate variability. Organisations like the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) are actively collaborating with farmers in Nigeria to promote and implement these climate-smart agricultural practices.

What is the role of the government, private sector or individuals in addressing the challenges?

The government undeniably holds a pivotal role in combating climate change through formulating and implementing policies. Take, for instance, Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, a strategic roadmap designed to steer the nation toward achieving net-zero emissions by 2060. This comprehensive plan targets significant emission reductions across key sectors such as power generation, cooking methods, oil and gas production, transportation, and industrial activities.

The private sector also plays a crucial role in driving innovation and investment in sustainable practices. Companies like Dangote Cement and Sterling Bank are exemplary in this regard, having embraced renewable energy solutions like solar power to not only cut down on carbon emissions but also to lower energy costs.

And let’s not overlook the power of individuals in contributing to climate action. Simple behavioural changes such as reducing energy consumption, minimising waste, and opting for public transportation can collectively make a substantial impact in lowering carbon footprints. Civil society organisations and social enterprises like Climate Action Africa are instrumental in mobilising young people to advocate for ambitious climate policies and promote climate justice on a broader scale.

Tell us some of the interventions Climate Action Africa has embarked on so far.

Climate Action Africa is deeply engaged in the climate action landscape not only in Nigeria and Africa but globally as well. Our initiatives span various sectors and communities, aiming to address climate change holistically.

For instance, our climate literacy projects have been instrumental in developing the Climate Story for Kids series, which serves as an educational tool to raise awareness among children about climate change. The launch of Climate Conversations for Africa has been pivotal in driving localised climate actions and fostering knowledge and capacity building within communities across the continent.

In terms of engaging faith-based organisations, our Faith for Climate Action program has collaborated with religious institutions to integrate climate change awareness into spiritual teachings, empowering faith-based organisations with skills in vertical farming and promoting sustainable agriculture practices. Our community empowerment projects, such as the Resilient Neighbors Program and the Community Engagement For A Cleaner Community (CEFACC) initiative, focus on enhancing climate change resilience in vulnerable communities through urban resilience planning and promoting effective waste management and circular economy practices, respectively.

In addition, the Climate Action Africa Forum serves as a platform for stakeholders to convene, influence policy, and foster climate action across the continent. Lastly, through our support for innovations via CMA Labs and our capacity building workshops, we aim to provide resources and expertise to drive climate change research, commercialization of innovative solutions, and capacity building among individuals and organisations involved in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Overall, our interventions are geared towards fostering collaboration, raising awareness, and driving tangible action to combat climate change on multiple fronts.

Climate Action Africa is about to hold the 2024 forum in June. What would this event address, what are your expectations, and who and who are expected in the event?

The Climate Action Africa Forum 2024 (CAAF24) serves as a platform for stakeholders to exchange knowledge, share experiences, and mobilise action on climate change in Africa. The event will feature discussions on pressing issues such as adaptation and resilience strategies, renewable energy deployment, and climate finance mechanisms.

Expectations for the forum include the formulation of concrete action plans and commitments to address climate challenges at local, national, and regional levels. The forum aims to foster collaboration and innovation in climate action by bringing together policymakers, scientists, business leaders, civil society representatives, and youth activists. Key topics on the agenda include promoting nature-based solutions for climate resilience, scaling up renewable energy investments, enhancing climate finance mechanisms, and empowering vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change impacts.

What is your special message as far as the climate change crisis is concerned?

The climate change crisis poses unprecedented threats to ecosystems, economies, and human well-being. According to the IPCC, urgent and ambitious action is needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to avoid catastrophic impacts. Nigeria and Africa have a critical role to play in global efforts to address climate change. Prioritising sustainable development pathways and investing in climate resilience means the continent can unlock opportunities for green growth, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.

As individuals, communities, and nations, we must prioritise climate action and advocate for transformative change. Working together across sectors and borders will ensure that we build a more resilient and equitable future for all, leaving a legacy of sustainability for generations to come.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button