The Adverse Effects of Climate Change on Nigeria’s Ailing Economy

Climate change is an undeniable environmental threat of the 21st century which the world is currently experiencing and seeking measures to adapt and mitigate its impact. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) defines ‘climate change as a change which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere over comparable time periods.’’

Around the globe seasons are shifting, temperatures are increasing and sea levels are rising. Climate change affects the whole world though the poorest people who contribute least to the change are the ones who suffer the most. Scientific research shows that the net climate resulting from the change will largely be driven by atmospheric greenhouse gases.
Climate change will negatively affect Nigerian economy with various observable impacts ranging from significant reduction in agricultural productivity to increase in illness, morbidity and mortality rate.The energy sector has not also been left out because climate change has impacted the hydropower plants which are source of electricity for the country. Many other sectors like the transportation, tourism and manufacturing sectors have all been affected which in all generally affects the entire Nigerian economy and it’s GDP.
Most scientists studying the potential impact of climate change have predicted that Africa is likely to experience higher temperatures, rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns and increased climate variability, all of which could affect much of its population. The core challenge is that climate change threatens to overburden states and regions that are already fragile and conflict prone.
Climate change has become a great challenge to our generation and its impact is felt in almost every society in the world. Nigeria as a developing country with a population of about 180 million is likely to be adversely impacted by climate change due to its vulnerability and low coping capability.

Causes of Climate Change

Climate change is caused by two basic factors which include natural process (Biogeographical) and human activities which are also known as (Anthropogenic) .The earth’s climate can be affected by natural factors that are external to the climate system such as changes in volcanic activity, solar output and earth’s orbit around the sun, these factors and its effects have relatively short term effects on climate
Human activities(Anthropogenic factors) such as burning of fossil fuels, gas flaring, urbanization, agriculture and changes in land use like deforestation release greenhouse gases (GHG’s) into the atmosphere which increases the already existing concentration of these gases. The human factors have been proven to be responsible for the ongoing unequivocal climate change or global warming.
According to the South African Confederation of Agriculture Union, the main greenhouse gases ( GHG’s) are Carbon dioxide, ethane and nitrous oxide which account for 80%, 14% and 6% of the total GHG emission respectively. GHG’s are good absorbers of heat radiation coming from the earth’s surface acting like a blanket over the atmosphere, keeping it warmer than it would be.

impacts of Climate Change on Nigeria’s Economy

Climate change is having serious and unpredictable impacts on the world. The impacts of climate change are being felt by both developed and developing countries. Many sectors of Nigeria’s economy appear to be directly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. These impacts are currently been experienced on agricultural production, health, biodiversity, social, economic, manufacturing and energy sector, etc.

Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture in Nigeria

It is anticipated that adverse impacts on the agricultural sector will exacerbate the incidence of rural poverty. Climate change has the potential to affect African agriculture in a range of ways leading to an overall reduction of productivity which could result to a loss in GDP of between 2 % to 7 % in 2100 in the Sahara and 2 to 4% in Western Africa as over 80% of Nigeria’s population depends on rain-fed agriculture and fishing as their primary occupation leading to a high risk of food production system being adversely affected by the variability in timing and amount of rainfall.
Crops occupy nearly 94% of the agricultural sector in Nigeria and some areas are already experiencing a loss in length of growing days by 20% . Growth rates of maize, guinea corn, millet and rice is reduced by rises in temperature. Warming trends also make the storage of root crops and vegetables more difficult for those without access to refrigerators. Agriculture in Nigeria will be adversely impacted by increasing variations in terms of timing and amount of rainfall. Water deficits may also depress crops and livestock production and hence, food supply necessitating importations .
Another major problem of agriculture in Nigeria due to climate change is the reduction of arable lands. While the sea incursion is reducing the arable lands of the coastal plains, the desert encroachment with its associated sand dunes is depriving farmers of their agricultural farmlands and grazing lands. As per studies conducted by
Ministry of environment in Yobe state, it concluded that sand dunes and desert encroachment has covered from 25,000 hectares to more than 30,000 hectares ,with its attendant negative impact on food and livestock production.

Climate Change Impact on Water Resources,Wetlands and Fresh Water Ecology

Climate change will affect the nature and characteristics of freshwater resources on which Nigeria depends on for its freshwater. Changes in weather and climate have been known to profoundly influence water resources, a factor that increases the vulnerability of humans to infection. The impacts will vary between ecozones exacerbating problems of too much water (flood) to little water (droughts) and reduced water quality , salt water intrusion, sea level rise, drying, poor water quality in surface and ground water system .

Impact of Climate Change on Nigeri’s Health Sector

Climate change could negatively impact human health in developing country like Nigeria. Climate change affects human health directly or indirectly in many ways. Changes in temperature, precipitation, rising sea levels, increasing frequencies have great implications on human health in the area of injury, illness, morbidity and mortality. Rising sea level is anticipated as a result of climate change Hence flooding may result which is likely to increase the vulnerability of the poor to malaria, typhoid, cholera and pneumonia. Also temperature and rainfall dynamics may increase the distribution of disease vectors such as dengue, malaria and incidence of diarrheal disease.

The Guardian Newspaper of 30th march 2010 reported that within one week in the early of 2009 over 209 people were killed by meningitis in Nigeria and Niger republic. It stated that climate change will increase threats to human health thereby affecting their productivity. Already a study by the World health Organization shows that climate change is the cause of 150,000 deaths every year. Heavy rainfall events can also carry terrestrial micro-biological agents into drinking water sources which eventually lead to outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, amoebiasis, typhoid and other infections.

Impact of Climate Change on Energy Generation and Supply in Nigeria

Energy services are necessary inputs for every nation’s development and growth. And also the fuel driving the engine of growth and sustainability development is a nation’s access to reliable and adequate energy. No economy can sufficiently thrive without adequate access to clean reliable and adequate energy. The supply of energy entails the generation, transmission and distribution of energy, notably electricity.
Nigeria has an abundant supply of energy sources as it’s endowed with thermal, hydro, solar, oil resources and yet still described as an energy poor country. Nigeria as a country is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change because its economy is mainly dependent on income generated from the production,processing, export and/or consumption of fossil fuels and associated energy-intensive products
The US Department of energy asserts that changing climate trends which are expected to continue can restrict supply of secure, sustainable and affordable energy which is critical to the nation’s economic growth. Energy services and resources in Nigeria will increasingly be affected by climate change in trends, increasing variability, greater extremes and large inter-annual variations in climate parameters in some regions. Climate change is also expected to negatively impact the already limited electrical power supply through impacts on hydroelectric and thermal generation coupled with service interruptions is also expected to result from damage to transmission lines and substation equipment impacted by sea level rise, flash floods and other extreme weather events.

Impact of Climate Change to Other Various Sectors

Many other sectors are anticipated to be influenced by climate change that may lead to sea level rise, drought, floods etc.Transport sector, tourism, energy and utility will be among the worst hit as they are directly affected.In the tourism sector especially the beach based tourism will be negatively affected, the beaches and lagoons will be taken over by water due to sea level rise as in the case of Lagos bar beach and Lekki Island .

Nigeria’s transport systems will not escape the effects of global warming and climate change. For example, higher sea level rise may require costly changes to other ports and coastal roads and railways as the current means of transportation along the coast may be covered by the intruding sea water or washed away by erosion. Changes in lake and river levels would also affect inland navigation.

Manufacturing sector will suffer losses from reduced potentials to reduce output requiring agricultural produce as inputs. Sea level rise may lead to flooding which can destroy transportation and other infrastructure as well as plants and industrial layouts that can hamper productivity and efficiency in the sector. Oil production wells in the coastal regions will be submerged by sea level rise of 1-3 meters which will cut down the oil production and other commercial activities, which would cost Nigeria $43 billion in GDP over thirty years. Extreme weather events around the coastal region will threaten rise in the Niger delta sea level.

Climate change impact has caused the Nigerian Government a huge sum of expenditure. The Federal Government has disbursed 3bn Naira from the Ecological fund in the last two years.


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