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Climate change refers to an increase in average global temperatures. Natural events and human activities are believed to be contributing to an increase in average global temperatures. This is caused primarily by increases in greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Nigeria is experiencing adverse climate conditions with negative impacts on the welfare of millions of people. Persistent droughts and flooding, off season rains and dry spells have sent growing seasons out of orbit, on a country dependent on a rain fed agriculture. Alarm bells are ringing with lakes drying up and a reduction in river flow in the arid and semi arid region. The result is fewer water supplies for use in agriculture, hydro power generation and other users. The main suspect for all this havoc is Climate Change. Scientific studies show snows are disappearing rapidly. Climate Change has been confirmed following release of the 4th IPCC Assessment report. Africa will be worst hit by the effects of Climate Change which Nigeria is part of it.

The agricultural sector contributes some percentage of the Nigerian Gross National Product and majority of the rural populace are employed in this sector. The dominant role of agriculture makes it obvious that even minor climate deteriorations can cause devastating socioeconomic consequences. Policies to curb the climate change by reducing the consumption of fossil fuels like oil, gas or carbon, have significant economical impacts on the producers or rather the suppliers of these fuels. Nigeria is the eighth largest oil supplier in the world and the ninth largest deposits of gas. The Nigerian national economy would be massively affected by a sustainable reduction of fossil energy consumption. Nigeria is practically a monoculture: about 80% of the government income, 90-95% of the export earnings and more than 90% of the foreign exchange revenues evolve from the oil sector. However, during the last years the government of Nigeria tried to diversify. Special attention is nowadays paid to gas which emerges in the joint-production of oil. So far the gas has mainly been flared (75%), simply due to the lack of technical facilities to make use of it.

A study commissioned by the World Bank in 2007 Nigeria accounts for roughly one-sixth of the world-wide gas flaring which in turn, spews some 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, the World Bank survey has listed Nigeria and 15 other oil producers, as countries that have progressively reduced gas flaring. Following the Kyoto-Protocol is a double-edged sword for Nigeria: The probably positive long term effects on the climate change are opposed to the negative short term effects for the economic development. Observing the Kyoto-Protocol would reduce the income of the OPEC – States, amongst them Nigeria, about 25% until 2010. This would be a catastrophe for the Nigerian development plan.

The countries politics and public discussions are barely addressing the mentioned problems. The last two years were so much dominated by the internal questions of power that political issues as regards content or even specific problems like the climate change would not have attracted real attention outside the circle of environment experts or NGOs. In terms of short term development policy more urgent worries exist and strategic foresight is not a fixed part of politics in the country. Furthermore, the climate change and its problems and solution strategies do not generate great publicity effects as they are too complex for rather superficial political talks. Nigeria’s development plan does not recognize the economical threat caused by the climate change nor the menace of declining oil prices which could result from a reduced consumption of fossil fuels.

In the arid zones, droughts are getting worse and climate uncertainty is growing, Climate change is an unprecedented and threat to food security. Arid and semi-arid areas in northern Nigeria are becoming drier, while the southern part of the country are getting wetter, Global warming means that many dry areas are going to get drier and wet areas are going to get wetter. They are going to be caught between the devil of drought and the deep blue seas of floods. However, “great tragedy” and Nigeria had played virtually no role in global warming; a problem was caused by economic activity of the rich, industrial countries. Unless climate change was tackled all the “best efforts” to help this great country could come to nothing.  One of the biggest threats is growing climate unpredictability, which makes subsistence farming difficult. But a better planning to reduce the risk from disasters, together with developing agricultural practices that can withstand changing climates, have been shown to work and could help mitigate the impact if use more widely.

The impact of the change will be difficult to handle and it will be potentially very long lasting. “It is very serious,” Two things, the scientific evidence on global warming is strengthening daily, and there are risks over and above those that are usually considered.  The disproportionate impact on Nigeria will be for a combination of reasons. Global warming will be greater over land than over sea because land retains heat more than water. There is also increasing evidence that it will be particularly hit by the effect of vertical rises and falls in air currents. Climate change often appears very esoteric but in Nigeria, it’s real. We already have an increasing incidence of disease, declining agricultural productivity, and a rising number of heat waves. There is glaring evidence that climate change is not only happening but it’s changing our lives. Declining rainfall in already desert-prone areas in northern Nigeria is causing increasing desertification, the former food basket in central Nigeria is now empty, and people in the coastal areas who used to depend on fishing have seen their livelihoods destroyed by the rising waters. Adapting to climate variability and mitigating its impacts is something that we do in our everyday lives, but we have to understand what climate change is, that we contribute to it, and how we can adapt and reduce our vulnerabilities.

An urgent attention or something needs to be done about global warming and climate change. First, there is a need to suggest a mechanism for tackling climate change and global warming, the idea of using Carbon Sinks to soak up carbon dioxide. For instance reforestation or planting of new forests, this is a popular strategy for the logging industry and nations with large forests interests like Nigeria. Climate change is a global phenomenon, and is evident in Nigeria. The negative impacts of climate change such as temperature rise, erratic rainfall, sand storms, desertification, low agricultural yield; drying up of water bodies and flooding are real in the desert prone eleven front line states of Nigeria. Environmental degradation and attendant desertification are major threats to the livelihoods of the inhabitants of the frontline states of Nigeria. This leads to increasing population pressure, intensive agricultural land use, overgrazing, bush burning, extraction of fuel wood and other biotic resources. Women and children are particularly the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Climate change is really of great concern to our Nation. Government should improve their financial status towards the solution of findings on this issue. Inadequate funds hamper progress in achieving Nigeria’s objectives on climate change. The Nigerian Government and all the stakeholders involves in the global phenomenon needs to increase public awareness, promote research and establish a commission or an agency that will handle issues related to global warming and climate change. The Federal, State and Local Government, International agencies and other development partners are required to funds climate change projects in Nigeria for sustainable solution.

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22 thoughts on “THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN NIGERIA

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  4. I’m an undergraduate student of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, a final-year of Environmental Management Technology Programme and I’m using your write up as answer to “THE IMPACT OF NATURAL & HUMAN ACTIVITIES AS THEY AFFECT THE WEATHER IN REACTION TO AGRICULTURE IN SEMI ARID ZONE OF NIGERIA”. Your material is so resourceful. Thank you!

  5. i found this article very educative. we recently treated a similar topic in my school and I have learnt so much on climate change.

  6. The effects of climate change which is as the result of human activities and moreso, in Nigeria all the region have be affected. With so many climate change challenges like in south- south and south East gas flaring Northern part with drought and desertification both arid and semi arid desert shortage of water and so on. For instance, india that account for 7.3% global fauna and are trying to restored their lost. Finally, how can Nigeria have a sustainable programmes that wil address the issue of climate change.

    • Climate change issues are global and it doesn’t have a boundary. therefore, as it is, it has to be gradual and holistic approach. the only solution for now is adaptation and mitigation measures because is already happening, so, we can’t stop it for now. In Nigeria, Flooding is one of the effect of climate change. therefore, flood control measures needs to be put in place (guardrails, drainages, canals etc). awareness programmes on the causes, impacts and effects is also important.

  7. I am impressed with your article on effect of climate change in Nigeria. Your reply posted on June 24th in response to Nkpane’s question was also well thought out. I would like to contribute that given the impacts from extreme climate events are transboundary, hence, decision makers in Nigeria must act fast. The ages of development agenda, budget allocations + finances by geopolitical zones or senatorial districts are no longer fashionable with best world’s development practices. It is a reality that climate change is a threat to Nigeria economic transformation programme, oil dependent economy. If Nigeria is to achieve its small term plan by 2015 and medium term plan by 2025 to reach its MDG goals, thus still retain its 2nd largest economies in Africa behind South Africa, national policies must be environment’s compliant and shift focus on “climate-resilient development” across all sectors. Vision 20: 2020 seems like a journey too far, without regret-free climate adaptation and mitigation actions, supported with strong legistlation.

  8. I commend the write up and see it as brain storming and thought provoking. It gives an insight into the much talked about global warming.

  9. I’m an MSc student in the department of Geography, NSUK where Dr Nasiru lectures. Writing an exam on climate change was my singular objective within 24hrs and this material was my night in shining armour. Thank you sir.

  10. Good material for reading this should have being made available for climate change reading material for the 2014

  11. I enjoyed reading your article especially as it appears to be for the interest of the public (not so academic) and the simple way you approached the subject. However, I felt I should also state that not every disastrous climatic effect/impact can be truly linked to climate change. We should also note that, while global warming is the chief process by which climate change occurs (has occurred), it is not same thing as global climate change. While the factors and processes involved in creating current global climate change are sufficiently clear, the results of these process at different scales are not so distinct. Although, there has been an upsurge in research geared towards understanding climate events-whether extreme or not- that can be attributed to climate change, at present, little is still understood about it. It may be misleading therefore to plug every climate and climate-related events to climate change.

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