Combating Climate Change in Nigeria Through Collective Action - Susinsight
Adetoro Adetayo Adetoro is a Sustainability Professional who graduated with a Distinction in Sustainable Chemical Engineering (MSc) from the University of Bath. She partners with startups and organizations to conduct sustainability studies and advise on best practices.

Combating Climate Change in Nigeria Through Collective Action

3 min read

Highlighting Nigeria’s vulnerabilities to climate change, the need to transition to renewable energy, building climate resilience, mobilizing resources, environmental journalism, and sustainable business practices to achieve a sustainable future.

Sections in this post:
Introduction: Climate Change and Nigeria’s Vulnerabilities

Climate change is a pressing global crisis caused by human activities, resulting in severe environmental damage and posing numerous challenges for humanity. Its wide-ranging consequences, such as floods, droughts, and health issues, disproportionately affect developing countries due to historical carbon emissions. Nigeria, in particular, faces significant vulnerabilities due to its large population, extensive coastline, limited financial resources, and lack of adaptation knowledge. According to the 2021 assessment by the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN), Nigeria ranked 161 out of 182 countries in terms of vulnerability to climate disasters and adaptive capacities. As the international community strives to mitigate climate change’s impact, concerns arise regarding Nigeria’s ability to effectively address this crisis given its limited financial and technological resources, reliance on fossil fuels, and carbon-intensive practices.

Transitioning to Renewable Energy: Enhancing Nigeria’s Energy Landscape

A recent analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlights the pressing need to decrease dependence on non-renewable energy sources. Unfortunately, Nigeria’s current utilization of renewable sources like solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal remains limited, reflecting an untapped potential for sustainable energy. To bridge this gap, it is imperative to implement comprehensive strategies encompassing policy interventions, technological advancements, and investment initiatives. These measures will not only promote the development of renewable energy infrastructure but also provide incentives for its widespread adoption. By embracing renewable energy sources, Nigeria can effectively reduce carbon emissions, combat the adverse effects of climate change, and pave the way for a sustainable and resilient energy future.

Snapshot of Total energy supply (TES) by source, Nigeria 1990-2020 provided by IEA
Building Climate Resilience: Effective Adaptation and Mitigation

To effectively combat climate change and achieve the goal of net-zero emissions, it is imperative to develop and implement tailored adaptation and mitigation strategies that cater to Nigeria’s unique requirements. Key components of these strategies include bolstering coastal protection measures, advocating for sustainable land use practices, undertaking afforestation initiatives, and fostering widespread public awareness regarding climate change impacts and adaptation measures. By prioritizing these measures, Nigeria can enhance its climate resilience and pave the way towards a sustainable future.

Nigeria’s Federal Government has made significant strides in addressing climate change through the implementation of various policies, laws, frameworks, and strategies. These include the updated Nationally Determined Contributions, the Climate Change Act, and the National Adaptation Plan. While commendable, there is a pressing need to further prioritize community-level vulnerability reduction, enhance the efficient delivery of adaptation measures, and emphasize adaptation as a national priority over mitigation, considering the country’s minimal greenhouse gas emissions. By focusing on these aspects, Nigeria can strengthen its climate change response and ensure a sustainable future for its citizens.

Mobilizing Resources and Engaging the Private Sector

Similar to many other sub-Saharan African nations, Nigeria currently relies heavily on foreign loans, aid, and grants to finance more than half of its climate adaptation and mitigation endeavors. While multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank and the Africa Development Bank contribute significantly to project costs, there remains a substantial gap in funding for climate adaptation initiatives within Nigeria, with the government and private financial sector falling short compared to international organizations.

To effectively tackle the financing challenges associated with climate adaptation, the Nigerian government needs to prioritize mobilizing domestic financial resources and actively involving the private sector. They can play a crucial role by establishing an enabling environment for private sector investments in climate adaptation projects. This involves implementing supportive policies, developing regulatory frameworks, and introducing innovative financing mechanisms such as green bonds, climate risk insurance, and carbon pricing. Additionally, the utilization of existing financial instruments like Sustainable Banking Principles can serve as an incentive for private sector investments in climate adaptation. By taking bold measures to bridge the funding gap and promote resilience, Nigeria can pave the way for sustainable domestic resource mobilization.

Environmental Journalism: Raising Awareness and Accountability

Environmental journalism serves as a crucial catalyst for addressing the dearth of citizen demand for enhanced environmental governance in climate change adaptation. Through the use of storytelling techniques, environmental journalists have the power to raise public awareness regarding climate change, its consequences, and the imperative of citizen involvement and advocacy for change. By conducting investigative journalism and holding government officials and policymakers accountable, they shed light on failures and actively advocate for necessary action. Environmental journalists amplify the voices of individuals and organizations dedicated to climate change adaptation, inspiring greater collective action, elevating the issue’s prominence, fostering public engagement, and cultivating a stronger demand for improved environmental governance in Nigeria.

Sustainable Business Practices: Private Sector Engagement

Nigerian businesses, especially those in carbon-intensive industries, play a significant role in climate change due to their operations, resource consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Sectors like transportation, agriculture, and energy heavily rely on fossil fuels, resulting in substantial environmental impacts. It is crucial for businesses to prioritize sustainable practices such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, recycling, transitioning to renewable energy sources, and implementing sustainable agricultural and forestry techniques. To achieve this, collaboration among businesses, the government, and civil society is vital. International organizations can provide valuable support by facilitating knowledge sharing, capacity building, and financing opportunities for Nigerian businesses. Through these efforts, Nigerian businesses can contribute to global climate change mitigation endeavors and promote sustainable development goals.

Conclusion: Collaborative Action for a Sustainable Future

To effectively address climate change in Nigeria, it is essential for various sectors to come together and work collaboratively. The country’s susceptibility to climate change, heavy reliance on fossil fuels, and limited resources pose significant obstacles. However, by embracing sustainable practices, transitioning to renewable energy sources, enhancing environmental governance, and implementing climate change adaptation measures, Nigeria can lead the way towards a sustainable future. The media, particularly environmental journalism, plays a vital role in creating awareness, holding officials accountable, and mobilizing public support for change. Nigerian businesses should prioritize sustainability, engage with stakeholders, and explore innovative financing mechanisms to drive climate action. By fostering collective efforts and demonstrating a steadfast commitment to climate resilience, the nation can effectively mitigate the impacts of climate change and foster a sustainable future for its people and the environment.

Adetoro Adetayo Adetoro is a Sustainability Professional who graduated with a Distinction in Sustainable Chemical Engineering (MSc) from the University of Bath. She partners with startups and organizations to conduct sustainability studies and advise on best practices.

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