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Climate change: Time for actions

The global temperatures are rising. Climate crisis is real. It is no longer a future concern. This is the time for actions. In many parts of the world, the climate change crisis has begun. From America to Canada, and from Europe to Africa and the Middle East, temperatures are rising. You may wish to recall, that world leaders made pledges at the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change to reduce carbon emissions globally. But not much has been achieved. So, in 2021, world leaders assembled again to take stock of their performance on climate change.

About 200 nations with over 30,000 delegates attended the just concluded United Nations (UN) Climate Change Summit COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland. However, activists were quick to point out a promise made by developed countries to deliver US$ 100 billion a year in what they referred to as climate finance to poorer nations. This is where the global politics of climate change starts.

Climate change does not respect either poor or rich nations. It is not funny talking about a world with millions of people living with extreme temperatures, facing a rising threat of flooding, pollution, food insecurity, excessive snowfall, glacier and sea ice melting, and wild fires. Can we imagine living in an environment where the temperature is about 50 degrees Celsius?

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Some people are already living in extreme weather conditions both in summer and winter. When we were kids, it was not like this, a friend told me. A heat wave is sweeping across many parts of the world. Of the many risks that climate change represents for humanity, those faced by island nations are severe. Fiji, Kiribati and Tuvalu, the Marshall Island and Grenada are a few of the islands affected by climate change. As the sea level rises, land territory is being submerged where there was vegetation and agriculture. So, food security and fisheries have been threatened in these islands.

Climate change has had devastating impact in Africa. Like other nations, most African countries are blessed with natural resources especially fossil fuel. But overgrazing, desert encroachment, widespread desertification of forests, soil erosion and excessive mining of resources caused by overpopulation constitute the driving force behind Africa’s environmental change.

As Africans plan their mode of survival, other industrialized nations have released a joint pledge to cooperate on all matters concerning climate change

With Western capitalist knowledge, the world has been taught that production is the key to prosperity. So, if a nation wants its people to be prosperous, production is the way to go as we have been educated. But scholars have observed that the production system has been the source of environmental threat to global security. We observed that it has become normal for commentators to label Africa as a site of overpopulation, poverty, human misery, and conflict. Although these views cannot be ignored, they have shifted the blame for environmental insecurity to Africa with little reference to external agents that deepen the contradictions within the continent. Yet, most African countries are not industrialized.

There was a debate some years ago, where eminent scholars conceded that the image of Africa as a source of environmental degradation, overpopulation and conflict has much wider implications when one considers the trends in global environmental change, development and security studies. On many international security issues, Africa is wrongly pictured as an identical whole. Perhaps, that is why there is hardly any a unified response to the debate on the implication of global environmental change for global security.

In the case of global warming, does Africa have a unified response? Even with AfCFTA, most African countries are yet to develop industries on a wider scale. African nations in general, and Nigeria in particular, have not been transformed significantly from an agrarian economy to that based on manufacturing of goods and services. So, as Africans plan their mode of survival, other industrialized nations have released a joint pledge to cooperate on all matters concerning climate change. While some countries have expressed their desire to gradually phase out the use of coal.

Although, climate archivists and researchers have stated that burning of coals is the single greatest contributor to climate change, some countries have come to agreement as to modalities to end the use of coal. This group of countries, we were told will commit to ending all investments in new coal power generation domestically and internationally. South Africa has promised to phase out the use of coal. As the COP 26 deals were concluded, oil-rich nations have agreed in Abu Dhabi to pump more crude oil in order to achieve energy security. This is expected for oil-rich nations that depend on sale of crude oil for their economic survival.

Nigeria’s President has signed a bill on climate change into law. The bill titled “The Climate Change Act” we were told, provides for among other things, the mainstreaming of climate change actions and the establishment of a National Council on Climate Change. It will also pave the way for environmental and economic accounting and a push for a net – zero emission deadline plans in the country. This shows that Nigeria is willing to take steps towards having a net – zero emission by 2060.

What is of concern to this writer is how Africa and indeed Nigeria wants to scale up rapidly the deployment of clean energy. The concern is due to the politics behind climate change. Rich countries have their domestic issues which require funding too. As poor nations, particularly those in Africa make efforts to reduce carbon emissions to zero; they should not expect a dime from developed countries.

For Nigeria, the concern expressed is due to the soaring prices of cooking gas, kerosene and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). What the country gained by having a subsidized energy regime is now being eroded gradually as most people have started going back to the forests to cut down trees for their domestic use. If appropriate net zero strategy is not formulated and carefully implemented, it is expected that deforestation will rise in Nigeria. Any politician who is interested in elective office in Nigeria by 2023 must be prepared to tell Nigerians on how he or she intends to reduce greenhouse – gas emissions to net zero in the next 40 years stating the milestones. Thank you.

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