Climate change and its management
Climate change as a whole takes place in the environment. The adverse effects of climate change on health, agriculture, economy etc all takes place in the environment thereby giving those in charge of managing the environment the automatic mandate to lead all assaults against climate change. Some of the negative consequences of climate change on the environment include: Drought: A massive reduction in average rainfall and surface water resulting in prolonged periods of dryness which is becoming very pronounced in Northern Nigeria.
Bush fires: The increasing uncontrollable fires that sometimes destroy farm settlements are as a result of increasing global warming and climate change.
Reduction in soil moisture: Global warming results in reduction in soil moisture as a result of increase in the temperature of the soils.
Reduction in agricultural production: This is as a result of multifaceted issues ranging from variation in pest and diseases to increase in temperature and dryness of agricultural farms. Even the entire economy of a nation especially if it is agriculture-driven is at the mercy of climate change.
The issue of awareness and education campaign should be taken more seriously. Setting up climate change clubs in primary and secondary schools, extensive radio and television jingles on climate change, use of local and rural community leaders to educate their subjects, use of religious leaders to sensitise their followers and motivation to climate friendly individuals are low hanging fruits that the Ministry of Environment should explore to advance the war against climate change.
The policy focus here should be to make the campaigns and education on climate change sustainable. It should not be a one week, one month or one year campaign. Emphasis should be laid on setting the framework that can see the campaign last for decades and then be reviewed from time to time as the need arises. The Ministry of Environment should partner with the ministry of education so that climate change clubs can be set up in schools. Ministry of Environment should also partner with Ministry of Agriculture so that afforestation and reforestation campaigns can be carried out to boost agricultural production and simultaneously fight climate change. The partnerships should be extended to civil society organisations and other non state actors to ensure that everybody is carried along.
The issue of clean cook stoves should be taken more seriously. Majority of women in rural areas who cook with fire woods and other ecosystem-unfriendly ways usually run risks of developing eye, respiratory tract and other health challenges in the long run. This is aside the challenges of climate change which the traditional firewood system presents. The financial cost of cooking with these clean cook stoves is lower than the financial cost of cooking with the conventional kerosene stoves meaning that the project will even help families to save cost in the long run. These ecofriendly cleancook stoves will play a huge role in fighting climate change as one can only imagine the difference between it and massive ecosystem-unfriendly cooking by numerous rural women across the 36 states and FCT on daily basis for very many years. The Ministry of Environment therefore has no need to delay this overdue programme on fighting climate change.
The Ministry Of Environment should buckle up in its regulatory mandate and support regulatory authorities like SON (Standards Organisation of Nigeria) and NESREA (National Environmental Standards Regulations and Enforcement Agency) adequately through legislative bills or any other way that will assist them in their regulatory mandate. In developed countries, automobile companies whose products pollute the environment are compelled to recall such products from the market even though they have already being sold to consumers. The companies also pay fines for manufacturing products that hurts the environment.
Nigeria has over the years being a dumping ground for substandard products that hugely pollute the environment with green house gases which speed up climate change hence the need for the ministry of environment and other regulatory authorities to sit up.
Illegal mining of minerals across the states of the federation is also something the ministry of environment will have to take more seriously if Nigeria must make progress in the fight against climate change. Policies should be enforced such that whoever mines illegally and pollutes the environment would be dealt with. Government should also ensure that Nigeria’s delegation to climate change conventions would be dominated by climate change experts who are on the fieldrather than politicians whose relevance in the national fight against climate change expires once the tenure of that government comes to an end.
Eke is the programme officer, Environment at Center For Social Justice.
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