Memorandum submitted by Julie Ukeje, Assistant
Director (Climate Services), Department of Meteorological Services,
Federal Ministry of Aviation, Abuja, Nigeria
THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
ON DEVELOPMENT AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: THE NIGERIAN SITUATION
Climate change and climate variability such
as failure of expected normal seasonal changes or extreme climate
conditions like drought, global warming, severe flooding and sea
level rise have significant impact on society particularly in
developing countries like Nigeria due largely to the limited resources
to mitigate these impacts or provide rapid relief when the associated
disasters occur. In addition, in a bid to counter poverty and
other socio-economic problems arising from their teeming populations,
rapid development and urbanization have become imperative and
these are often conducted in an unsustainable manner. In Nigeria
for example, the "oil boom" of the 1970s resulted in
massive movement of the populace to the urban areas in search
of white-collar jobs, giving rise to increased burning of fossil
fuels, large deforestation etc. that in turn aggravates global
climate change problems.
In Nigeria, the greatest impact of climate change
is in the areas of agriculture, fresh water resources, coastal
zone management, ecosystem, energy and human settlements as reflected
in decreasing agricultural yields, atmospheric and water pollution
and shortage of available fresh water. Other consequences include
environmental degradations such as loss of massive arable and
habitable land to coastal and gully erosions in the south and
to drought and desertification in the north, rendering thousands
of people homeless. These have adversely affected food, water
and energy supplies, thus slowing down and sometimes reversing
developmental processes. Mostly affected are the inhabitants of
the rural areas who depend mainly on agriculture for livelihood.
Climate change when related to the rapidly growing
population of the country could also result in serious socio-political
tensions, even leading to internal security consequences over
diminishing fresh water resources and fertile land for grazing
and agricultural activities. Common conflicts include fights between
cattle rearers and farmers in the north and inter-communal wars
in the south over fertile lands.
Apart from disasters arising from drought in
the Sudano-Sahelian regions, flood disasters are the most rampart
in the country in recent decades. In the Sudano-Sahelian drought
of 1968 and that of 1972-73, about 300,000 animals representing
13 per cent of the livestock population of the north-eastern Nigeria
were estimated to have died, and it reduced agricultural yields
to between 12 per cent and 40 per cent of the annual averages.
In the case of flooding at least 20 per cent of the population
is at risk from one form of flooding or another, ranging from
the rich urban residents of Victoria Island, Lagos to poor farmers
and fishermen in Benue / Niger trough and the coastal region of
the country. An average of about 100 people are killed and millions
of naira worth of property damaged by heavy rainstorm and flood
each year. Analysis of the reports of weather disasters from 26
states of the federation shows that about 70 per cent of the damages
incurred from weather disasters in 1993 (which totaled about 3.64
billion naira) was caused by rainfall-related hazards. The figure
rose to about 85 per cent in 1994 (with total loss of about 8.3
billion naira). Just as earlier stated, most of the disasters
have serious adverse impact on the nation's economy particularly
on food supply. The 1993 record alone destroyed 887 acres of farmland,
and 11,339 buildings. In 1999, the estimated cost of rehabilitating
or replacing damaged infrastructures resulting from just rainfall-related
disasters was put at about 50 billion naira. The destructions
include colossal losses in farm produce as 12 million hectares
of farmlands were washed away which was another catastrophe to
Weather extremes like severe storms, harmattan
haze and excessive heat have also caused a lot of havoc in the
country. Examples of these are the recent unusual wide spread
storm with maximum gust of over 90 knots on 27 March 2002 at the
Abuja airport which destroyed some parked planes and several buildings
and the poor visibilities arising from harmattan dust haze cum
dry spells which often result in cancellation of flights and sometimes
air crash and fire incidences from the dry harmattan winds. There
is also the belief that the last 27 January bomb blast at Lagos
was caused by chemical reactions, which could have been triggered
off by excessive heat and humidity over the years.
2. SECTORAL POTENTIAL
Areas that are most vulnerable to disasters
emanating from climate change in Nigeria include (a) the low-lying
islands, (b) the mangroves, (c) the coastal wetlands and grasslands,
(d) the semi-arid and arid areas, and (e) rivers, lakes.
The greater and faster these vulnerable areas
get impacted by climate change, the more the damages to the ecosystem,
the human societies and the social cum economic developmental
processes that depend on them. This is the case with the following
sectors of the nation's economy namely; the coastal zone resources,
agricultural and food production, water resources and energy sectors:
2.1 Coastal Resources
The Nigerian coastline forms an important base
of socio-economic development of the nation. The Nigerian coastal
zone lies within latitude 4º 10' to 6º 20' N and longitude
2º45' to 8º 35'E spanning about 850 km of low-lying
coastline, with estimated human population of over 20 million.
The zone consists of four distinct geomorphologic parts namely:
(a) The Barrier-lagoon system in the west;
(b) The Mahin transgressive mud coast;
(c) The Niger-Delta covering about 20,000
square kilometre which is the second largest delta in the world.
It spans a coastline of 450 km and has the largest mangrove swamps
in Africa estimated at 1,900 square km; and
(d) The Strand coast in the east.
The coastal zone encompasses more than six cities
including Lagos (the former capital of the country) and PortHarcourt;
both of which are main air links of the country to the outside
world. The zone houses about 50 per cent of the industries in
the country including the oil and gas industries, which represent
90 per cent of Nigeria's source of foreign exchange.
The oil investment in the Niger Delta has been
estimated to be in excess of 13 billion US dollars. The zone also
accounts for almost 50 per cent of the artisanal fishery resources
in the country. Other minerals in the coastal zone include sand
used for construction of houses and beach nourishment and bitumen
or tar sands.
2.1.1 Present and Projected Climate Change Impact
on the Coastal Resources
The main climate disaster that affects the Nigerian
coastline, ports and harbours activities is flooding from sea
level rise resulting from storm surges and changes in the wave
climate especially during the months of April to October which
coincides with the period of high spring tides. From 1985 to date,
there have been 14 cases of storm surges. Temporal distribution
of the sea surface temperature over the coast of Lagos in the
past one decade suggests an annual fluctuation with pronounced
warming of the sea in 1995 and 1998; corresponding to years of
global warming. Notable potential impacts of these are:
(i) Loss of farmlands and coastal infrastructures
to coastal erosion and flooding. For example, the Bar beach in
Victoria Island, Lagos (the most popular beach in Nigeria), which
was about 1,500 metres from the adjoining Ahmadu Bello Way (in
Victoria Island, Lagos) in 1964, was reduced to less than 200m
in 1976. The beach has virtually taken over one lane of the said
dual-carriage way due to coastal erosion. The estimated annual
rate of land loss at this beach is about 30 to 40 metres. The
other beaches at Mahin, Forcados, and Brass, respectively loose
about, 20 to 30 metres, 20 metres, and 16 to 20 metres of land
to coastal erosion yearly. In fact Nigeria has been identified
by UNEP and IPCC as one of the most vulnerable African countries
to inundation from sea level rise with serious environmental and
socio-economic impacts. This is further aggravated by the vulnerable
soil characteristics and low-lying topography of the coastal area
coupled with some anthropogenic practices like construction of
harbour protecting structures, oil and gas exploration and exploitation.
(ii) Decimation of the coastal vegetation
especially the mangroves and the recreational areas.
(iii) Increased salination of both ground
and surface water leading to deaths of plants and animals, thus
adversely affecting agriculture, water supply as well as coastal
industries especially fish production.
(iv) Considerable loss of coconut trees and
palm tress which in the past two decades dominated the bar beach.
(v) Displacement of coastal settlements,
particularly in August 1995 and 1999 when most people at the beach
had to be evacuated.
(vi) Loss of more than 200 industrial establishments
worth over 45 billion US dollars is likely, due to a projected
sea level rise of 0.5m from a temperature increase of 1.5ºC
to 2.0ºC which might result to inundation of 150 square kilometer
of land in the Eti Osa local government areas in Lagos state.
Studies by the Nigerian Institute for Ocean
and Marine Research (NIOMR) reveal that the barrier lagoon coastline
in the western extremity housing the high real estate at Victoria
Island and Lekki in Lagos could lose well over 584 and 602 square
kilometre of land from erosion, and inundation could completely
submerge the entire Lekki barrier system. Such adverse impacts
will affect the residential, commercial and tourist facilities
(in these areas), which are valued at well over 12 billion US
dollars. Already, an occurrence of 0.2 metre of sea level rise
resulted to a loss of 3,400 square kilometres of landmass to flooding.
This is projected to affect about 18,400 square kilometres of
land with a 1m sea level rise.
The same study also shows that, with a sea level
rise of 0.3 metre, about 1 to 2 million people out of the total
population of 6 million in the Niger delta area of the coastal
zone will be displaced and require relocation, while a sea level
rise of 1 metre will affect 2 to 3 million people in the same
area. The Strand coast on the eastern extremity shares the same
fate, as about 400 square kilometres of its land would be lost
to inundation by the year 2100.
Given the dense population and the above suite
of socio-economic activities of the coast especially the billions
of US dollars worth of oil mining facilities, the potential loss
to Nigeria as a result of such climate extremities will be very
great and perhaps irreversible.
2.1.2 Mitigating and Combating Measures
To mitigate the negative impact of climate change
on the socio-economic activities in the coastal zone, the under
listed actions have been embarked upon:
(i) Provision of Early Warning System (EWS)
by the department of Meteorological Services through its Marine
unit in the following ways:
use of a parametric wave model
to predict five to seven days ahead the wave height and period
of any expected surge; and
use of a "Stati" package
which utilizes the existing pressure values and tidal gauge measurements
to determine the characteristics of these elements especially
before, during and after the surge.
(ii) About eight (8) sand nourishment projects
have been implemented on the bar beach since 1958 to act as a
stop gap combating measures to the fast deteriorating erosion
problem of the beach. In 1990, about 300 million naira was spent
to deposit sand on the Victoria Island beach in Lagos, and about
85 million naira sand filling and shore protection projects were
carried out at Aban-Ama and environs of Okrika in River state.
Due to ineffectiveness of these measure, the nation is considering
putting in place concrete wall structures as is being practiced
in places like the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. In this regard,
discussions are being held with some international consulting
firms on more effective shoreline protection technology.
(iii) Enactment of some conservation legislations
The exclusive Economic Zone decree
The endangered species decree
The natural resource conservation
council decree of 1989;
The Sea Fisheries decree of 1992.
(iv) Setting up of several national committees
on climate and environmental related issues eg the Ecological
committee, the national committee on Climate change, the national
committee on sustainability Science, the technical committee on
erosion and flood control and the Niger Delta Development Commission.
(v) Creation of the Federal Environmental
Protection Agency (FEPA) in 1988 (now in the Federal Ministry
of Environment) to inter alia maintain and improve the quality
of the unique environment resource endowment and physical characteristics
of the coastal areas and prepare ecological master plans to guide
the use of coastal areas for diverse and often conflicting individual
and social activities for the continuous viability of all aspects
of the ecosystem.
Nigeria is also actively engaged in global and
international efforts to ensure sustainable development in a bid
to mitigate these adverse impacts of climate change. She became
party to the 1958 Geneva Convention of territorial Sea and Continent
Shelf on 10 October 1964, and 28 May 1971 respectively. The United
Nations Law of the Sea was signed on 10 December 1982 and ratified
on 14 August 1986.
The agricultural sector is about the largest
sector of the nation's economy as it contributes about 37 per
cent of the GDP and provides employment for about 65 per cent
of the adult labour force. In addition to being the main food
source, it also provides raw materials for the agro-allied industrial
sectors and ranks next to the oil sector as a source of foreign
exchange earning for the nation. Thus any variation in climate
especially in rainfall is a potential threat to food security
and agro-allied industries as the nation's agriculture is mostly
2.2.1 Potential Climate Change Hazards on
the Agriculture and Food Sector
The potential impact of climate change on the
agricultural sector includes:
Reduction of soil moisture availability
Inadequate rainfall and sources of
Degradation of lands as a result
of drought and desertification, which subsequently become prone
to locust and pests invasion causing untold havoc to crops;
Loss of arable lands due to floods
and erosions especially in the southeastern part of the country
where there is severe cases of gully erosions. The main implication
of this is increased cost of transportation due to destruction
of the roads by the gully erosions, which in turn results in hikes
in the prices of foodstuffs.
Like most other developing countries, these
potential climate change hazards are further aggravated by some
environmental unfriendly anthropogenic practices such as:
Excessive use of fuel woods and charcoals
and bushfires which have led to rapid disappearing of tropical
forests resulting in deforestation, as the fuel woods removal
rate exceeds its replacement.
Urbanization and increased livestock
grazing activities, which have caused loss of arable lands thereby
moving the limit of production into marginal lands.
Over-use of fertilizers and pesticides.
Large-scale expansion of irrigated
agriculture has met with increasing problem of waterlogging and
salinization, further worsening the desertification problem.
Vegetation degradation due to persistent
bush burning from fires started in extreme dry weather conditions
and perhaps intensive grazing.
2.2.2 Mitigating Efforts
Some actions taken by the government to fight
the above problems are:
Raising agricultural productivity
to ensure food supply and keep in pace with increased population
and urbanization so as to achieve by year 2010, an average of
per capita level daily energy supply of 2900kcal. The nation's
agricultural productivity programs include:
(i) The Agricultural Development Programme;
(ii) The National Fadama Development
(iii) The National Agricultural Technology
(iv) The National Japanese Assisted Rice
Production Program and other related programmes.
Expanding the production of export
crops to increase and further diversify foreign exchange earnings.
Stepping up the harnessing of large
Undertaking large-scale capital construction
projects of farmlands.
Improving agricultural fields with
low grain production.
Undertaking comprehensive agricultural
Increasing the supply of agricultural
raw materials for domestic manufacturing activities.
Improving institutional and administration
The Meteorological Services Department has also
contributed to the support of food security in the nation through
expansion of her agricultural station network, development of
crop/weather models and indices in aid of the judicious use of
crops and ecology for sustainable agriculture, and establishment
of Agric. Meteorological Early Warning System (EWS). Some of the
information and products from the Agric EWS are onset and cessation
of the rainy season, outlook for onset of drought, vegetation
index maps, etc.
2.3 Fresh Water Resources
Fresh water resources in the country are quite
enormous; surface and groundwater resources of over 250 billion
cubic metres, with rivers Niger (the sixth largest and longest
river the world) and Benue as well as Lake Chad being the prominent
sources. There are also over 10 active River basins complemented
with increasingly vital exploitation of ground water nationwide,
particularly to meet the water needs of the rural communities.
Water is critically important for most socio-economic
development activities. Thus the impact from extreme weather events
like drought or from human induced climate change hazards eg pollution,
salinization and overgrazing could have far reaching consequences
on the nation's socio-economic development. For example, the Kainji
dam (mainly drained by the River Niger) which was hitherto the
best viable economical alternative means of electricity generation
since it is not restricted in purpose, is now threatened by variations
in rainfall and evaporation. This in turn affect hydroelectricity
generation leading to erratic power failures in the country.
2.3.1 Potential Impacts
Other impacts of climate change on this sector
Fast shrinking of lake Chad due to
desertification and aridity as well as the southward movement
of the sand dunes. Two thirds of the lake has shrunk over the
years from 25,000 square kilometre to 12,000 square kilometre
since 1972, thus making water resource management even more difficult
as river channels are also drying up. Consequently water availability
per inhabitant per year is expected to decrease from 3,100 cubic
metre in 1990 to 1,600 cubic metre by the year 2025. Other consequences
of this include reduction in fish catches.
Threat to the employment of more
than 5,000 farming families whom the lake provides source of water
for their over 50,000 tonnes of rice, 30,000 tonnes of wheat and
10,000 tonnes of seed cotton farmlands.
Threat to the 260 million US dollars
yearly revenue usually generated from agricultural, animal and
fish production at this area.
Likelihood of an intensification
of the global hydrological cycle that can affect the frequency
and intensification of floods and drought.
2.3.2 Mitigating Efforts
Channeling of water from the Congo
River in the Democratic republic of Congo through the Ubangi River
in Central Africa Republic which drains into the River Congo and
Chari River which in turn enters the lake as the best option for
replenishing the dwindling resource of lake Chad. This will be
through joint efforts of the members of the Chad Basin Commission
made up of Nigeria, Niger Chad and Cameroon.
Ensuring comprehensive assessments
of water resources with a view to arresting water pollution and
enforcing standards and regulations.
2.4 Health Sector
In Nigeria, extreme values of weather parameters
such as temperature, relative humidity, and rainfall have led
to severe human health problems. For example there is now expansion
of vector-borne diseases like malaria and cholera due to frequent
flood episodes and outbreaks of Cerebro-spinal Meningitis due
to heat stress from the rising temperature profile.
Again, some of the environmental unfriendly
human practices such as air and water pollution have also resulted
to other health problems such as respiratory diseases. It has
been observed that health hazards resulting from such problems
have increased since over the last 10 years due to rapid industrialization
and its consequent emissions, effluent and waste management.
There is also the "poverty factor"
(ie sicknesses following undernourishment from food shortage);
the poverty level increased from 42.7 per cent in 1962 to 65.6
per cent in 1996, with the number of people in poverty increasing
from 39.7 million in 1992 to 67.1 million in 1996 (ie using two
third mean per capita household expenditure to indicate poverty
2.4.1 Mitigating Efforts
Nigeria is actively involved in many of the
global health programs like the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) programme,
the Immunization program, etc. The country has also launched the
National Poverty Alleviation Program (PAP).
This sector controls almost all facets of the
country's economic and developmental activities particularly through
the provision of electricity and fuel supply for residential and
commercial uses, transportation, agro-processing industries and
large and small-scale industries. Although Nigerian is endowed
with a wide range of both non-renewable and renewable energy resources,
most of the above energy requirements are met by the non-renewable
sources especially the fossil fuels which pose serious threat
to the atmosphere and sustainable development through their emission
of Green House Gases (GHG). Moreover there is a lot of pressure
on this sector due to the increasing population. It has been estimated
that the demand for energy in the country could increase by 20,000
MW in the next decade.
2.5.1 Potential Climate Change Hazard
Apart from the damages to electrical power installations
due to severe thunderstorms and lightning, water shortage in the
hydropower sources as a result of drought, and over flow of the
hydropower dams in the event of floods, the concern here is how
the subsequent environmental pollution and increased GHG from
the above anthropogenic practices in this sector result in and
exacerbates climate change hazards as shown below:
Increasing use of woodlands for fuel,
which in turn lead to large-scale deforestation; it is estimated
that over 90 per cent of rural households and the poor urban households
depend on fuel wood for domestic energy needs. Although there
is a considerable uncertainty with regard to the quantity of wood
consumed in the country, some estimates put it at about 51 to
88 million cubic metres per annum with about 80 per cent of this
being consumed as fuel wood. It has also been estimated that about
15 per cent of Nigeria is being besieged by severe deforestation
as about 92,000 hectares of woodlands in the northern part of
the country and about 350 thousand hectares in the entire country
are deforested annually. The value of the lost forest has been
conservatively estimated at 750 million US dollars annually. Consequently,
the nation's 15 million hectares of forest and woodland reserves
could be depleted within the next 50 years if the current trend
is not checked.
Gas flaring of over 70 per cent of
the associated gas produced in the oil fields (more than about
26 billion cubic metre of natural gas is flared annually amounting
to loss of billions of US dollars in the past 30 years); this
has been identified as the major contributor to environmental
pollution and source of GHG emission.
Oil-spillage in the oil-producing
areas; about 155 incidences of this involving 21,448 barrels of
oil was reported in 2001 alone. These have resulted in destruction
of land cum vegetation and water leading to loss of biodiversity
eg declining agricultural yields / qualities, pollution of streams
and rivers and loss of jobs for fish farmers.
Increase of pollutants in the atmosphere
especially at the oil-producing areas, which in turn lead to acidic
and highly polluted rainwater. This is evident from the surface
ozone record at a background pollution station located at Oshogbo
(near Lagos), which gave the pH value of rain as 5.6 to 6.0 (less
than 7.0, which is the value for a neutral solution).
High values of total ozone observed
in the stratospheric ozone station at Lagos, (253 Dobson unit
(DU) as compared with the mean value of 240DU over the equatorial
belt) could pose a potential threat to the preservation of the
stratospheric ozone in the area.
2.5.2 Mitigating Efforts
The country in a bid to mitigate the above impact
has taken some measures, which include:
Ensuring regular supply of alternative
to fuel wood by way of enhanced supply of coal popularization
of biogas and biofertilizer plants, promotion of the use of wood
shaven, agricultural wastes and / sawdust as briquettes and the
support and development of other renewable energy sources.
The use of solar power for pumping
water and lighting in rural areas.
Introduction of Liquefied Petroleum
Gas (LPG) and Kerosene stoves as alternatives to fuel wood in
rural and urban areas.
Removal of subsidies on petroleum
products with a view to enhancing growth of renewable sources
Increased awareness of energy-related
environmental degradation cum climate change, which is believed,
will cause a shift to market development of renewable energy resources
and promotion of the use of abundant natural gas. Fallouts of
this include the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, the West
Africa Gas Pipeline project and the Associated Gas Utilization
Fiscal Incentive (AGUFI).
Government ultimatum to stop gas
flaring by year 2008.
Introduction of energy efficiency
programmes namely (a) the industrial energy efficiency programme,
(b) the energy efficiency in building and (c) the energy efficiency
in the transport sector.
Shift from high carbon to low carbon
fuels and improved productivity.
The energy and industrial sector is one area
most affected by the United Nation Framework on Convention for
Climate Change (UNFCCC) (ratified by Nigeria in 1994), the Kyoto
Protocol on Climate Change and the Montreal Protocol. Issues on
the implementation of the convention is merely that of GHG emission
which are principally from the use of fossil fuels while their
sinks (particularly carbon dioxide) are considerably being lost
via land use changes (deforestation). It is envisaged that reduction
in the consumption of fossil fuel by developed countries (the
main thrust of the Kyoto protocol) will adversely affect the country's
economy being largely dependent on fossil fuel production for
its revenue. This will also hamper her efforts to achieve the
"first and overriding priorities of eradication of poverty
and achievement of socio-economic development. . ." as expressly
recognized by the convention.
The issue of concern here is meeting the obligation
of providing carbon sinks and at the same time improving her fragile
economy by promoting both agro forestry and non-economic forestry.
For the project on alternative to fuel wood,
there is dearth of trained personnel to handle the design, manufacture,
marketing and operating and manufacturing of the renewable energy
system with abundant sources of renewable energy (solar, wind,
biomass, small scale hydro etc). The Energy Commission of Nigeria
(ECN) in cooperation with UNESCO started the training of technicians
and artisans on the installation and maintenance of solar power
system in 2001. A Country Service Framework (CSF) is also being
implemented for small and medium scale industries on energy efficiency
by the ECN, UNIDO and the Federal Ministry of Industries.
The Environment Monitoring body (ie the Federal
Ministry of Environment) is also making efforts to effect a downward
trend of the above environmental hazards from this sector in accordance
with the UNFCCC requirements especially through improved fuel
efficiency and reliance on carbon intensive fuels which requires
technology transfer. Thus bringing to the fore the relevance of
the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of article 12 of the Kyoto
Protocol. Already the country has a joint project with Canada
on Climate Change capacity Development.
The new political status of the country especially
in her determination to achieve economic growth and poverty eradication
surely contributed to this positive development. Some of the achievements
made in this aspect include:
Organization of seminars and workshops
on building capacity to Facilitate CDM projects in the Oil and
Gas and Manufacturing sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Development of a country program
for the implementation of the Montreal Protocol for the phasing
out of the Chloroform Carbon (CFC); over 10 private companies
have benefited from the retrofitting of their factories for refrigerant
manufacture, human resources development and funding of CFC phase-out
programmes under the Multilateral Fund (MFMP) while 10 companies
were supported to retrofit foam manufacture.
Establishment of pilot and demonstrative
projects on solar-PV, biogas improved wood stove, solar drying
and other thermal application being carried out by the government
in various states of the federation with allocation eg 2 tonnes
per cycle Ada Rice Solar dryer project in Enugu / Anambra state,
the solar PV water pumping sheme, the Kwalkwalewa village solar
PV lighting system project in Sokoto state and the Ojokoro cooperative
Agricultural Multipurpose Society 20 m3 Biogas project in Lagos
Setting up of a CDM center at Ibadan,
and joint establishment of a 5-year framework (Country Service
Framework (CSF)) for technological assistance for industrial development
in the country by UNIDO and Nigeria. The CSF includes a programme
on Environment and energy whose objective includes (a) the energy
management in industry and mobilization capacity to enable industrial
projects under the CDM, (b) creating enabling environment necessary
for CDM projects namely the Industrial Policy with the focus on
Public Private Partnership.
Establishment of more poverty alleviation
projects to further reduce the dependency on the forests for the
livelihood of the rural populace.
(i) Vienna Convention for Protection
of the Ozone layer: A National Action Plan was developed following
its ratification on 17th February 1967.
(ii) Convention on Biodiversity: In
addition to the development of the National Action Plan, projects
on the identification and inventorisation of flora and fauna in
all Nigerian ecosystems and increasing the network on protected
areas are being embarked upon. The convention was ratified on
29 August 1994.
(iii) Convention to Combat Desertification:
Also apart from the development of National Action Plan, there
are tree-planting campaign, and establishment of shelterbelts.
Other projects include afforestation and fuel substitution programme,
harmonization and integration of sectoral programmes. This was
also ratified on 29th August 1994.
(iv) United Nations' Framework on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) & The Kyoto Protocol: Most of the actions
taken in these two areas have been mentioned under the energy
sector, which as a matter of fact is the main focus of the convention
and the protocol. With respect to the convention which has already
been ratified since 1994, a National Communication is being prepared.
The nation is also developing her national Agenda 21 which is
taking cognizance of both the global and specific needs of the
country including actions for sustainable development. Though
the protocol is yet to be ratified, efforts are being made on
the identification and inventorization of emission sources of
Green House Gases. There are also a few projects on how the nation
can fulfill her UNFCCC commitments and also benefit from some
mechanisms of the protocol such as the Clean Development Mechanism
(CDM), and Emission Trading (ET).
(v) Montreal Protocol on Substances that
Deplete the Stratospheric Ozone Layer: This was ratified on
23rd July 2001. Actions taken in this regard are the identification
and inventorization of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and phase-out
programmes on ODS (as already mentioned above) including technology
transfer and capacity building.
4. IMPACTS OF
The issue of energy is the main problem generating
controversies in negotiations at the UNFCCC meetings and delay
in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol by most countries including Nigeria
with some developed countries like the USA still dragging their
feet in ratifying the protocol. Though climate change naturally
affects the output of hydro dams adversely especially during drought
and sometimes paralyses socio-economic activities as a result
of storm and flood damages to electrical installations, the impact
of response-measures (ie via the implementation of the convention
and protocols) would be very much felt by the country. This is
largely due to the fact that the country practically depends on
fossil fuels-driven energy generating technologies, with oil and
gas constituting about 80 per cent to 90 per cent of her foreign
earnings. Other impacts of the response measures are on the rural
area dwellers who live in abject poverty partly because of little
or no energy supply ie commercial energy consumption perception
which has been known to affect life expectancy, infant mortality,
literacy and total fertility.
5. BENEFITS OF
Despite the above adverse impact of global climate
change, a few benefits can be identified as follows:
(a) The present challenges to the energy
sector with regard to embarking on projects that would improve
the energy system as enumerated earlier can be seen as positive
effects of climate change in the country.
(b) Such projects are also envisaged to provide
job opportunities like is the case in Brazil where the preparation
of ethanol from sugar cane created 700,000 jobs in the countryside.
(c) The longer dry spells within the rainy
seasons as a result of recent variations in rainfall amount and
distribution especially in the south now allow exhibitions and
other outdoor jobs cum activities which are often disrupted by
rain particularly in Lagos to thrive better.
On the other hand the northern areas seem to
have been enjoying gradual increase in rainfall both in duration
and spread particularly within the past 5 to 10 years. This has
given rise to more agricultural production especially for crops
like the normal beans specie which hitherto was not planted due
to inadequate rainfall but are now being cultivated. This normal
specie of beans is usually preferred because of its greater yields
than those of the climate-adapted (only 45-days) specie (developed
for the shorter rainfall duration).
Climate change impact is very rapid over the
country and thus makes adaptability very difficult considering
also the fragile economy of the nation. The earlier mentioned
record of socio-economic losses incurred as a result of extreme
weather conditions shows increasing trend in the financial losses.
From just 650 million naira in 1988, through 3.64 billion in 1993,
and 8.3 billion naira in 1994, the losses rose to 50 billion naira
in 1999. The implication of this on the nation's poverty level
becomes more terrible when compared with the nation's GDP especially
for 1999 when these losses accounted for about 41 per cent of
the GDP. This in fact is the main problem ie inadequate resources
to cope with climate change impact whereas this poses little or
no problem for the developed countries like the USA whose losses
from weather and climate disasters last year though was as high
as 9.8 trillion dollars only translated to 0.08 per cent of her
No doubt, climate sits at the nexus of the two
principal development concerns namely; poverty and sustainability
development. Efforts to better understand the role of the climate
on society and to develop ways to manage climate impact especially
through improving climate prediction techniques must therefore
contribute to key development objectives. Enhancing developing
countries' capacity especially Nigeria's for research and systematic
weather observation thus forms one of the focal points of negotiation
at the several meetings of the convention on climate change. The
current step by the Federal Government to grant autonomy to the
Nigerian Meteorological Services Department could not have come
at a better time as this will considerably enhance the Department's
performance in the area of acquisition of the modern technologies
and capacity building particularly in the development of Local
Area Model (LAM) which has a higher resolution that is able to
capture the small-scale weather motion which are the most important
weather features over the country, but which are usually filtered
out by the global Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models currently
Judging from all the earlier stated national
actions taken, it is apparent that Nigeria is very concerned about
the safety of its environment. In fact, Nigeria more than any
other developing country is very anxious to mitigate climate change
as it has a lot at stake particularly in the area of reduction
of consumption of carbon fuels which is its main source of foreign
exchange. With over 25 billion barrels of national oil reserves
and about 23 million barrels per day production capacity, the
nation (which ranks among the world's top 10 oil producing nations)
should be able to cope with her population by effectively financing
her development programmes and alleviating poverty.
However it is sad to note that because of lack
of adequate gas utilization, most of the gas produced in association
with this oil is flared. For example each barrel of oil produced
is just a tenth of the gas equivalent, which as earlier stated
contributes to climate change via pollution and emission of greenhouse
gases. Though several schemes on oil utilization have been initiated
to realize the 2008 deadline on gas-flaring, the country needs
further assistance from the developed countries not only in this
regard but also on other energy efficiency programmes.
From the above issues raised, the country has
no doubt fared reasonably well in the management of global climate
change problems despite her fragile economy and poverty level.
It is for this latter principal developmental concern (ie poverty)
that the country will have to reflect critically on whether or
not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. It has to consider the potential
economic losses that may arise from the full implementation of
the protocol as discussed above as against the environmental gains
or safety from climate change mitigation. In effect, Nigeria has
to strive a balance between her socio-economic interests and protection
of her environment.
Assistant Director (Climate Services),
Department of Meteorological Services,
Federal Ministry of Aviation, Abuja, Nigeria
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