Nigeria is facing significant health and environmental threats and risks losing $100 billion annually from the impact of climate change, according to a new report.
The report released by Agora Policy, titled, ‘Climate Change and Socio-Economic Development in Nigeria’ showed that, climate change is increasing hunger, poverty, disease-burden, migration, conflict and insecurity in Nigeria.
The report also showed that the impact is damaging infrastructure, changing
Nigeria’s coastlines, fuelling desertification, producing water scarcity, facilitating erosion and resulting in the loss of revenue for states and the national government.
It went further to show that the economic cost of climate change to Nigeria is estimated to be about $100 billion annually.
The report also showed that climate change may also cause Nigeria to lose trillions of dollars in stranded assets.
“With these far-reaching negative effects on the country’s human and natural systems, climate change has the potential to jeopardise the country’s economic development and alter its geographical, social, and political trajectory for decades or centuries.” the report indicated, adding that, some of the repercussions of climate change on the nation may be irreversible.
Therefore, it should be evident that climate change is not a marginal or peripheral issue that the government and the people of Nigeria can take lightly, it said.
It however went further, saying, even though climate change poses significant threats to Nigeria’s economic development, it also presents an opportunity to diversify the economy, expand the country’s energy portfolio, address energy security concerns, and increase global economic competitiveness.
To transform climate change from a significant threat into an opportunity requires deliberate planning supported by immediate, bold and courageous action, it said.
The Agora report recognised that there is evidence that successive Nigerian governments recognise the enormous threat of climate change and the necessity for action, as indicated by a plethora of policy declarations, documents, and a new National Climate Change law.
However, actual action is still behind schedule and the government has not yet established a clear roadmap for the effective and comprehensive implementation of key policies and commitments, and there are no clear budgetary provisions for their implementation.
It pointed out that transitioning to a green economy is a complex endeavour that requires meticulous planning, stakeholder participation, and a dedication to sustainable development.
However, it stated that, leveraging climate action to pursue economic development in Nigeria is not only a viable but essential strategy. It recognized the fact that incorporating climate considerations into economic development strategies can result in inclusive and sustainable growth.
Such a move, it stressed, can provide Nigeria with excellent opportunities to construct a climate-resilient economy that not only promotes growth and reduces poverty, but also creates good green jobs and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and environmental sustainability.
It recommended that, by proactively addressing the issue of stranded assets, Nigeria will be able to position itself for a more resilient and prosperous future.
The emphasis should be on finding methods to industrialise and transition without substantially increasing the country’s emissions profile.
To accomplish this, Nigeria will need to implement mitigation and adaptation strategies that considerably enhance its macroeconomic stability, economic transformation, and job creation, while minimising well-being.
It is evident that climate change is compromising Nigeria’s economic development through multiple and compound negative impacts and that Nigeria is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as much of its agricultural sector, which contributes about 24 per cent to its GDP, is rain-fed and climate-sensitive.
Other sectors of the economy such as health, transportation, energy, and water resources are also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Agriculture, the report said, is one of the sectors most sensitive to global warming in Nigeria and a major source of climate-induced economic loss in the country.
“Agriculture is a crucial sector in Nigeria, employing a significant portion of the population and contributing to food security and economic growth. Climate change could result in the decline of agricultural productivity between 10 to 25 per cent by 2080
It added that increased warming trends will also make the storage of root crops and vegetables challenging for farmers without access to refrigerators, thereby, increasing the already high level of post-harvest loss. In 2021, the Global Hunger Index ranked Nigeria as 103rd out of 116 countries and climate change could contribute towards further worsening these realities.
Given that Nigeria has 35 million children under the age of five, of which 12 million are stunted, with 23.5 million being anaemic owing to poor nutrition, the threat posed by climate change has the potential to further worsen the situation.
According to the report, “Climate change will worsen water-scarcity challenges in the country. The World Bank predicts that climate change would lead to a drop of 25 per cent in the amount of water that is available in Nigeria by the year 2050. This will significantly affect water supply for agriculture, industry, and home consumption.
“Reduced water availability will also pose severe threats to irrigation agriculture, industrial activities, and domestic water supply, threatening the livelihoods of farmers/labourers (employment) and GDP.”