Nigeria Climate Change Crisis

A recent report from Abuja-based think tank, Agora Policy, in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, underscores the urgent need for Nigeria to adopt a low-carbon, climate-compatible development path. Titled ‘Climate Change and Socio-Economic Development in Nigeria’, the report highlights the looming threat of climate change on the nation.

Nigeria is currently at risk of becoming one of the countries most adversely impacted by climate change, with the report indicating that the nation lost a staggering $100 billion annually due to climate change effects in 2020. Moreover, the report projects a potentially catastrophic 2.9- and 5.7-degree Celsius temperature rise across various ecological zones, leading to increased floods, droughts, erosion, and rising sea levels.

This dire situation threatens the loss of 75 percent of the delta, with profound consequences for agriculture, food security, health, water and energy supply, peace and security, and critical infrastructure longevity. The report emphasizes that climate change is a pressing issue that Nigeria cannot afford to underestimate.

Climate change is exacerbating poverty in Nigeria, making it challenging to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is already causing hunger, poverty, diseases, migration, conflict, and insecurity. Furthermore, it is damaging infrastructure, reshaping coastlines, promoting desertification, causing water scarcity, facilitating erosion, and reducing revenue for both states and the national government. Nigeria risks becoming a “stranded country” unless swift action is taken to address these challenges.

However, the report also identifies opportunities for economic competitiveness, energy security, and sustainable development through climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. It recommends investing in renewable energy, adopting climate-smart agriculture, encouraging green manufacturing, harnessing natural resources for adaptation, and strengthening disaster risk reduction systems.

Additionally, the report calls for strengthening national climate change frameworks, integrating climate change into development processes, building a climate-resilient and competitive economy, and enhancing the adaptive capacity of communities in different ecological zones. Other potential solutions include incentivizing investments in low-carbon industries, raising public awareness about climate change, advocating for a just energy transition, and adopting a collaborative approach to low-carbon development.

The report underscores the opportunity for Nigeria to leverage climate action to stimulate economic growth, create jobs for its growing population, and address poverty and inequality through a just transition. It emphasizes the global shift from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy and the need for Nigeria to align its national development strategies with a low-carbon economic future.

Waziri Adio, the founder of Agora Policy, stresses the importance of raising the policy profile of climate change in Nigeria, especially in light of its significant challenges and opportunities. Climate change, despite its gravity, has not been a major focus in recent elections or the priorities of the new administration, and Adio urges an urgent change in this regard.

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  • Samson Adeyemo

    An experienced broadcast and print media journalist with nose for news and proven track records of success without compromising objectivity.

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