Published On: Sat, Jul 15th, 2017

Global temperature: Reason Nigeria needs to stay below the 1.5ºC limit

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By Ojo Babatunde

States, Least developed countries and many others have been calling for limiting global temperature rise to below 1.50C above pre-industrial levels. Placing the 1.50C limit alongside the legally binding goal to hold global temperatures well below 20C above the pre-industrial levels in the Paris Agreement was a major victory for vulnerable countries like Nigeria.
Evidence from around the world confirms the uneven and localized impacts of already occurring climate change. This evidence also considers the rising temperatures, sea level rise and shift in the trend of rainfall patterns and extreme events and other impacts such as floods, droughts and heat waves. The ultimate objective is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. This level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow the ecosystem to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure food production is not threatened and to enabling economic development in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The Nigerian government must note that the later we take to limit climate change to 1.50C the steeper and the faster the transition will have to be completed because when actions are delayed, various options to achieve stringent levels of climate protection are increasingly lost. Nigeria run the risk of irreparably damaging her ocean, the longer she continues on the current path even if the CO2 emitted could somehow be absorbed in the future.
The government needs to enforce immediate reduction in greenhouse gas emission in sectors and infrastructures such as the electricity generation, transportation, heating/cooling industry and agriculture. There should be a transition from fossil fuel like oil, gas and coal to clean renewable energy like wind, water and sunlight (WWS) the last two which are already in use in Nigeria should be encouraged by government by creating a conducive environment so that stakeholders can invest in these forms of energy. This renewable energy forms would eliminate air pollution morbidity and mortality and global warming.
The implementation of these road map by government agencies will create jobs, stabilize energy prices, reduce international conflict over energy use because Nigeria will be energy independent and will reduce terrorism risk (like the Niger Delta Militants) by significantly decentralizing energy generation. This transition would save 27.9% of the energy needed due to greater efficiency of electricity over combustion, of importance is considering the life, health and well-being, as well as workers productivity.
The government should also enforce the restoration of forests, Savannah, grasslands and keeping (mitigating) climate change to 1.50C which will ease pressure on the food supply system. As mentioned earlier, extreme events such as floods common to Nigeria will put a significant danger on disadvantage populations in mega cities like Lagos, people whose livelihoods are dependent on natural resources such as agriculturists and pastoralists are at risk from conflicts over scarce resources between them and people who are displaced or forced to migrate.
In conclusion, the government must be swift to engage global cooperation and institutional agreements and also invest massively in decarbonizing the global economy with zero net emissions particularly carbodioxide removal strategies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS). Although this CCS strategies are technologically not yet available in the country because it is too costly and too risky or not ready to be scaled up. Delaying action will substantially increase costs, with mitigation costs already highest in Africa.
Ojo Babatunde is a Public Policy Analyst

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