My Fellow Compatriots: Climate Change is Real by Farida Abubakar Ibrahim
My dear fellow Nigerians. Over the past few years since the occupy Nigeria protests on the removal of fuel subsidy, we have fought both on and offline for many causes. We demonstrated on the streets and via social media against many cases of corruption and other topical issues facing our dear nation. But in our entire quest for a better Nigeria, we have neglected the issue of climate change and its negative impact on the populace, possibly because we all think that we have much more serious problems facing our nation than that of climate change or for the lack of knowledge of the impacts of climate change on human lives. Well, it is not surprising, because I for one being an architect and environmentalist was unaware of the level of threats posed by climate change until now.
I was opportune to enroll in a course organised by the World Bank institute titled “Turn down the heat: why a 4C warmer world must be avoided” and was dumbstruck at what I learnt on the impact of climate change in our daily lives, what it would be like if the world was to be warmer by 2C (which many scientists believe is inevitable) and subsequently how a 4C warming would impact daily lives.
In a recent study by the World Bank in collaboration with the Postdam Institute in Germany, it was projected that global warming would cause increase aridity, dryness and drought which can lead to 40% decrease in land used for corn production. What this means is that 40% of corn production would be reduced. This will lead to food scarcity, price increase and possibly increase in the number of people that would suffer from starvation.
In the same study, it was discovered that in flood prone areas there would be more flooding. We all know the disastrous flooding we had in over fifteen states last year (2013). Many lives were lost, hundreds displaced, agricultural yields declined, economic income of many people vanished before their own eyes. In the coastal city of Lagos, more flooding would occur due to rise in sea level and anyone living in Lagos knows that these floods are a disaster we all dread.
Another finding was that there would be increase in temperature and dryness. Aridity prone areas would be more arid and so grassland that sustains many livestock would be loss. Herdsmen would have to migrate in search of grassland for their cattle. As Nigerians living in Nigeria, we all know the current situation of herdsmen (who in search of grassland for their cattle) encroach on farmlands and the devastating results it yields. This situation has already led to many lives being lost and in some states like my home state Taraba, where communal wars is prevalent.
Human health is another sector that would be greatly affected by climate change. As we all know one of our major challenges as a country are the challenges faced by the health sector. Malaria kills thousands of people yearly and outbreak of diseases such as cholera also claim thousands of lives annually. In a warmer world, more floods would occur, temperatures will rise and these are two major factors that are suitable for breeding mosquitoes (malaria causative) and the spread of cholera. Therefore we would have more cases of malaria, cholera, typhoid and many more diseases.
My fellow compatriots, all of the above disasters are happening in a world that is just warmer by 0.6C. imagine what it would be like if it gets warmer by 2C (over three times the current temperature) or even 4C which scientists are predicting would occur by the end of the century if nothing is done would be achieved. Imagine a situation where in addition to current challenges (on corruption, inadequate health services, underdeveloped and neglected agriculture sector, inadequate infrastructure and many more) we have increased cases of flooding, disease outbreaks, starvation, communal wars, and heat waves. It will be nothing short of a catastrophe.
There are many ways of mitigating climate change to curtail these impacts mentioned above but I believe we have to know first that climate change is real and its disastrous effect on human livelihood is also real before we can discuss on how to mitigate it. We need to educate people on these realities and how it would affect our collective entity as humans.
Professor Stefan Rahmstorf who is a Professor of Physics of the Oceans, Potsdam University, and Head, Earth System Analysis, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany said in one of his lectures that “2C world is not going to be a picnic”. Imagine then what a 4C warmer would be. The time to act is now!
I am @fareedahibrahim on twitter
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org