EXPERTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE BRAINSTORM ON THE WAY FORWARD FOR NIGERIA
On Tuesday, 19th March, 2019, experts and professionals on climate change from across the globe gathered at Alex Ekwueme, Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, to brainstorm on implications of the Katowice Climate Package, for Nigeria. The event which took place at Needs Assessment Lecture Theatre of the University was organized by Centre for Climate and Development, AE-FUNAI, in collaboration with the Department of Climate Change of the Federal Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Declaring the workshop open, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba said that university exists to generate knowledge especially in active teaching and research and rendering service to communities. He noted that the university should not be different with the demands and change of time. “We are supposed to be the brain of our society. In AE-FUNAI, we do not only talk, we work the talk”, he enthused. He posited that AE-FUNAI had already planted about 4,981 ornamental and fruit trees between 2016 and 2018. The essence was to provide more generic platform for people to be carried along, thus AE-FUNAI has embarked on Hybrid power plant courtesy of the Federal Government of Nigeria under its Energized Education Programme. On completion, this programme will supply part of the required energy for powering and lighting machine and other equipment thereby building institution that will be part of the new centre for climate change and finding solutions to climate related issues. According to him, the creation of the Centre for Climate Change in the University under the leadership of Dr. Robert Onyeneke is an indication of the University’s interest and involvement in the climate change challenge which has become a global concern.
He further emphasized that the roundtable was basically to sensitize the participants and the entire Nigeria community on climate change, and possibly proffer solutions to its challenges and the effects of global warming in Nigeria and the world at large. The workshop is also intended to drive Nigerians and the Federal Government to queuing into the Paris Climate agreement of 2015.
The key facilitator at the workshop, Emmanuel Oladipo, a Professor of Climatology at the University of Lagos, led the discussion on the way forward for Nigeria after the Katowice Climate Package. While making his presentation on the topic: Implementation Process of The NDC and Practical Actions and Activities Needed to Enhance Its Implementation, he led emphasis on the fact that Nigeria’s first NDC outlines the country’s change priorities for post 2020 period including targets and strategies for addressing the causes of climate change and responding to its effects. He identified five (5) sectors that are critical for Nigeria to be able to contribute to the goal of keeping the global temperature increase to well below 20C. The five sectors according to him are: Agriculture and Land Use, Energy, Industry, Oil and Gas and Transport.
In his presentation, Prof Chukwumerije Okereke of the University of Reading explained that there is difference between weather change and climate change. He posited that weather could be hot or cold and can stretch for a day or two but climate change lasts for a very long period of time. He stated that the energy that comes from the sun is one of the reasons why we are alive but emission of gas, deforestation and burning of refuse has adverse effect on the ozone-layer. He pointed out that, “there is no end to climate change; we just need to understand it and know what to do at every level”.
Prof. Okereke,who is joining AE-FUNAI emphasized the need for a holistic understanding and approach to Climate Change in Nigeria and the world over during his key note presentation on the rationale for the establishment of the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable development (ICCSD) AE-FUNAI.
The presentations by the numerous scholars in attendance, highlighted the actions and inactions that constitute threat to our environment especially the gas flaring and emissions, indiscriminate felling of trees, use of generators, fossil gas, bush burning, and deforestation among others as these activities increase heat on the environment. They posited that to maintain the National Green Bond, all hands must be on deck as collective effort will underscore the relevance of fighting climate change globally.
Other facilitators at the workshop include Dr. Robert Onyeneke, who made a presentation on the Context and Justification for the Roundtable, emphasized that: “Collaborative efforts at all levels (International, Regional, National, Sub-national) and working in partnership with stakeholders, (communities, households, individuals, private sectors, civil society and the academia) are needed to address Climate Change”.
Dr. Yerima Peter Tarfa, Director, Department of Climate Change, Focal Point For UNFCCC, Federal Ministry of Environment, represented by Mrs Ann Umar, dealt on the topic, Nigeria’s NDC – Process of Formation and Key Features and pointed out that climate change is threatening national development at all sectors.
Prof. Emmanuel Nzegbule of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria, while making his presentation, provided answers and explanations to the question: Do strong political and fiscal commitment exists to achieve Nigeria’s NDC and Katowice Climate Package?
Paddy Ezeala, a Consultant with National Conservation Foundation, spoke on Deforestation in Nigeria: the Looming Disaster in South-East Nigeria. In his presentation, he revealed that:
- Deforestation is the biggest threat to biodiversity in Nigeria
- All measures put in place for the protection and sustainable management of our forest resources have been failing
- Only 4% of Nigeria’s original untouched forest cover is left.
- Annual rate of deforestation in Nigeria is 3.5% approximately 350,000 hectares of forest out of 7.3 million hectares lost globally, according to FAO.
- 5 million trees are felled daily due to illegal logging in Nigeria.
In his vote of thanks after the reactions, opinions and exchange with the participants on the subject, Dr. Robert Onyeneke, the Acting Director of the Centre for Climate and Development AE-FUNAI and host, thanked the Vice-Chancellor for the great opportunity and the facilitators and participants for giving out time to brainstorm on this very topical and yet, technical subject. He stated that achieving success in addressing this phenomenal issue of climate change is a collective responsibility.