Higher temperatures, rising sea level, changing rain and snow patterns, more droughts and wildfires, warmer oceans, stronger storms, changes in animal migration and life cycles, wilder weather and shrinking sea ice are amongst the many signs that suggest the world’s climate is changing, posing potential dangers to both human and animal existence.
Characteristic of man, attempts are being made to check and/or control these natural forces and, for Lagos State government, the attempts are all-encompassing and go beyond mere control to exploring and exploiting the positive and business side of climate change which it has recognised as a phenomenon seen as an asset rather than a liability.
Climate change generally manifests as shifting weather variations or patterns involving unprecedented and overall changes in weather patterns, rain yield or precipitation, temperature, density or cloud look, propelling significant changes in different parts of the world, as the human race strives to adapt to the new change.
Gradually but steadily inflicting its impact on several sectors of the world’s economy, environmentalists have insisted that humans themselves are among the major causes of this climatic liability – through excessive and “uncontrollable” human activities, such as emission of greenhouse gases and burning of fossil fuels.
With its severe impacts transcending borders, the need for a change of lifestyle, possible inventions, formation of relevant economic policies, drive towards a sustainable environment world over have become imperative.
However, for Lagos, Africa’s most populous city, being two metres below sea-level makes it prone to the severe impacts of climate change, hence, its government believes that staying afloat in a changing climate would require just more than effecting adaptive measures but also business opportunities that can be explored.
At its recent 6th Climate Change Summit with the theme, “Exploring Business Opportunities in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Lagos State in Focus”, stakeholders revealed that a host of business opportunities exists in the pursuit of climate compatible development, insisting that there is a need to channel efforts towards harnessing such opportunities which abound in implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Speaking at the summit, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, enthused that the state is determined to turn the adversity of nature into a source of economic prosperity for its teaming population.
This, the state is vigorously pursuing by creating several supply chains that would buoy its pursuit of a sustainable environment through its Green City Campaign and Waste-to-Wealth initiatives where several job and business opportunities abound.
The Green Campaign being championed by the state bothers on tree planting and has successfully produced about five million trees in the past seven years and has also generated over 75,168 employment opportunities for horticulturists, pruners, gardeners, welders, tanker drivers, security personnel, down to the water boy, all of whom help to keep the trees alive.
Similarly, the state’s Waste-to-Wealth initiative which is an integrated waste management system that involves recycling of solid waste into various new products including clean energy, has also recorded immense achievements, opening new business line – selling of recyclable materials.
Ola Oresanya, managing director, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), who also spoke to BusinessDay on the sidelines of the summit stated that the state has resolved to convert the new climatic liability to prosperity through job creation, creating new line of economy and converting the nature’s vulnerability into opportunities.
The LAWMA boss revealed that the value chain is visibly huge, as several jobs are created from collection of pep bottles on the agency’s buy-back and recycling programmes, adding that the compost plant at Ikorodu hosts over $20bn worth of investment.
The agency also boasts of a huge workforce at its tyre shredding plants which also acts as a supplier for tyre production plants.
According to Oresanya, there is a need for youths to see the huge opportunity in climate entrepreneurship and leverage on it as is done in other economies, adding that there are several new business lines for entrepreneurs and major investors that can be leveraged on in converting the liabilities of climate change into economic prosperity.
These employment and business opportunities are clearly emerging from the state’s desire to maintain a sustainable environment, which environmentalists say is a sure way of adapting to a changing climate.