Select Committee on International Development Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Julie Ukeje, Assistant Director (Climate Services), Department of Meteorological Services, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Abuja, Nigeria



  Climate change and climate variability such as failure of expected normal seasonal changes or extreme climate conditions like drought, global warming, severe flooding and sea level rise have significant impact on society particularly in developing countries like Nigeria due largely to the limited resources to mitigate these impacts or provide rapid relief when the associated disasters occur. In addition, in a bid to counter poverty and other socio-economic problems arising from their teeming populations, rapid development and urbanization have become imperative and these are often conducted in an unsustainable manner. In Nigeria for example, the "oil boom" of the 1970s resulted in massive movement of the populace to the urban areas in search of white-collar jobs, giving rise to increased burning of fossil fuels, large deforestation etc. that in turn aggravates global climate change problems.

  In Nigeria, the greatest impact of climate change is in the areas of agriculture, fresh water resources, coastal zone management, ecosystem, energy and human settlements as reflected in decreasing agricultural yields, atmospheric and water pollution and shortage of available fresh water. Other consequences include environmental degradations such as loss of massive arable and habitable land to coastal and gully erosions in the south and to drought and desertification in the north, rendering thousands of people homeless. These have adversely affected food, water and energy supplies, thus slowing down and sometimes reversing developmental processes. Mostly affected are the inhabitants of the rural areas who depend mainly on agriculture for livelihood.

  Climate change when related to the rapidly growing population of the country could also result in serious socio-political tensions, even leading to internal security consequences over diminishing fresh water resources and fertile land for grazing and agricultural activities. Common conflicts include fights between cattle rearers and farmers in the north and inter-communal wars in the south over fertile lands.

  Apart from disasters arising from drought in the Sudano-Sahelian regions, flood disasters are the most rampart in the country in recent decades. In the Sudano-Sahelian drought of 1968 and that of 1972-73, about 300,000 animals representing 13 per cent of the livestock population of the north-eastern Nigeria were estimated to have died, and it reduced agricultural yields to between 12 per cent and 40 per cent of the annual averages. In the case of flooding at least 20 per cent of the population is at risk from one form of flooding or another, ranging from the rich urban residents of Victoria Island, Lagos to poor farmers and fishermen in Benue / Niger trough and the coastal region of the country. An average of about 100 people are killed and millions of naira worth of property damaged by heavy rainstorm and flood each year. Analysis of the reports of weather disasters from 26 states of the federation shows that about 70 per cent of the damages incurred from weather disasters in 1993 (which totaled about 3.64 billion naira) was caused by rainfall-related hazards. The figure rose to about 85 per cent in 1994 (with total loss of about 8.3 billion naira). Just as earlier stated, most of the disasters have serious adverse impact on the nation's economy particularly on food supply. The 1993 record alone destroyed 887 acres of farmland, and 11,339 buildings. In 1999, the estimated cost of rehabilitating or replacing damaged infrastructures resulting from just rainfall-related disasters was put at about 50 billion naira. The destructions include colossal losses in farm produce as 12 million hectares of farmlands were washed away which was another catastrophe to food supply.

  Weather extremes like severe storms, harmattan haze and excessive heat have also caused a lot of havoc in the country. Examples of these are the recent unusual wide spread storm with maximum gust of over 90 knots on 27 March 2002 at the Abuja airport which destroyed some parked planes and several buildings and the poor visibilities arising from harmattan dust haze cum dry spells which often result in cancellation of flights and sometimes air crash and fire incidences from the dry harmattan winds. There is also the belief that the last 27 January bomb blast at Lagos was caused by chemical reactions, which could have been triggered off by excessive heat and humidity over the years.


  Areas that are most vulnerable to disasters emanating from climate change in Nigeria include (a) the low-lying islands, (b) the mangroves, (c) the coastal wetlands and grasslands, (d) the semi-arid and arid areas, and (e) rivers, lakes.

  The greater and faster these vulnerable areas get impacted by climate change, the more the damages to the ecosystem, the human societies and the social cum economic developmental processes that depend on them. This is the case with the following sectors of the nation's economy namely; the coastal zone resources, agricultural and food production, water resources and energy sectors:

2.1  Coastal Resources

  The Nigerian coastline forms an important base of socio-economic development of the nation. The Nigerian coastal zone lies within latitude 4º 10' to 6º 20' N and longitude 2º45' to 8º 35'E spanning about 850 km of low-lying coastline, with estimated human population of over 20 million. The zone consists of four distinct geomorphologic parts namely:

    (a)  The Barrier-lagoon system in the west;

    (b)  The Mahin transgressive mud coast;

    (c)  The Niger-Delta covering about 20,000 square kilometre which is the second largest delta in the world. It spans a coastline of 450 km and has the largest mangrove swamps in Africa estimated at 1,900 square km; and

    (d)  The Strand coast in the east.

  The coastal zone encompasses more than six cities including Lagos (the former capital of the country) and PortHarcourt; both of which are main air links of the country to the outside world. The zone houses about 50 per cent of the industries in the country including the oil and gas industries, which represent 90 per cent of Nigeria's source of foreign exchange.

  The oil investment in the Niger Delta has been estimated to be in excess of 13 billion US dollars. The zone also accounts for almost 50 per cent of the artisanal fishery resources in the country. Other minerals in the coastal zone include sand used for construction of houses and beach nourishment and bitumen or tar sands.

2.1.1 Present and Projected Climate Change Impact on the Coastal Resources

  The main climate disaster that affects the Nigerian coastline, ports and harbours activities is flooding from sea level rise resulting from storm surges and changes in the wave climate especially during the months of April to October which coincides with the period of high spring tides. From 1985 to date, there have been 14 cases of storm surges. Temporal distribution of the sea surface temperature over the coast of Lagos in the past one decade suggests an annual fluctuation with pronounced warming of the sea in 1995 and 1998; corresponding to years of global warming. Notable potential impacts of these are:

    (i)  Loss of farmlands and coastal infrastructures to coastal erosion and flooding. For example, the Bar beach in Victoria Island, Lagos (the most popular beach in Nigeria), which was about 1,500 metres from the adjoining Ahmadu Bello Way (in Victoria Island, Lagos) in 1964, was reduced to less than 200m in 1976. The beach has virtually taken over one lane of the said dual-carriage way due to coastal erosion. The estimated annual rate of land loss at this beach is about 30 to 40 metres. The other beaches at Mahin, Forcados, and Brass, respectively loose about, 20 to 30 metres, 20 metres, and 16 to 20 metres of land to coastal erosion yearly. In fact Nigeria has been identified by UNEP and IPCC as one of the most vulnerable African countries to inundation from sea level rise with serious environmental and socio-economic impacts. This is further aggravated by the vulnerable soil characteristics and low-lying topography of the coastal area coupled with some anthropogenic practices like construction of harbour protecting structures, oil and gas exploration and exploitation.

    (ii)  Decimation of the coastal vegetation especially the mangroves and the recreational areas.

    (iii)  Increased salination of both ground and surface water leading to deaths of plants and animals, thus adversely affecting agriculture, water supply as well as coastal industries especially fish production.

    (iv)  Considerable loss of coconut trees and palm tress which in the past two decades dominated the bar beach.

    (v)  Displacement of coastal settlements, particularly in August 1995 and 1999 when most people at the beach had to be evacuated.

    (vi)  Loss of more than 200 industrial establishments worth over 45 billion US dollars is likely, due to a projected sea level rise of 0.5m from a temperature increase of 1.5ºC to 2.0ºC which might result to inundation of 150 square kilometer of land in the Eti Osa local government areas in Lagos state.

  Studies by the Nigerian Institute for Ocean and Marine Research (NIOMR) reveal that the barrier lagoon coastline in the western extremity housing the high real estate at Victoria Island and Lekki in Lagos could lose well over 584 and 602 square kilometre of land from erosion, and inundation could completely submerge the entire Lekki barrier system. Such adverse impacts will affect the residential, commercial and tourist facilities (in these areas), which are valued at well over 12 billion US dollars. Already, an occurrence of 0.2 metre of sea level rise resulted to a loss of 3,400 square kilometres of landmass to flooding. This is projected to affect about 18,400 square kilometres of land with a 1m sea level rise.

  The same study also shows that, with a sea level rise of 0.3 metre, about 1 to 2 million people out of the total population of 6 million in the Niger delta area of the coastal zone will be displaced and require relocation, while a sea level rise of 1 metre will affect 2 to 3 million people in the same area. The Strand coast on the eastern extremity shares the same fate, as about 400 square kilometres of its land would be lost to inundation by the year 2100.

  Given the dense population and the above suite of socio-economic activities of the coast especially the billions of US dollars worth of oil mining facilities, the potential loss to Nigeria as a result of such climate extremities will be very great and perhaps irreversible.

2.1.2  Mitigating and Combating Measures

  To mitigate the negative impact of climate change on the socio-economic activities in the coastal zone, the under listed actions have been embarked upon:

    (i)  Provision of Early Warning System (EWS) by the department of Meteorological Services through its Marine unit in the following ways:

      —  use of a parametric wave model to predict five to seven days ahead the wave height and period of any expected surge; and

      —  use of a "Stati" package which utilizes the existing pressure values and tidal gauge measurements to determine the characteristics of these elements especially before, during and after the surge.

    (ii)  About eight (8) sand nourishment projects have been implemented on the bar beach since 1958 to act as a stop gap combating measures to the fast deteriorating erosion problem of the beach. In 1990, about 300 million naira was spent to deposit sand on the Victoria Island beach in Lagos, and about 85 million naira sand filling and shore protection projects were carried out at Aban-Ama and environs of Okrika in River state. Due to ineffectiveness of these measure, the nation is considering putting in place concrete wall structures as is being practiced in places like the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. In this regard, discussions are being held with some international consulting firms on more effective shoreline protection technology.

    (iii)  Enactment of some conservation legislations like:

      —  The exclusive Economic Zone decree of 1978;

      —  The endangered species decree of 1985;

      —  The natural resource conservation council decree of 1989;

      —  The Sea Fisheries decree of 1992.

    (iv)  Setting up of several national committees on climate and environmental related issues eg the Ecological committee, the national committee on Climate change, the national committee on sustainability Science, the technical committee on erosion and flood control and the Niger Delta Development Commission.

    (v)  Creation of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) in 1988 (now in the Federal Ministry of Environment) to inter alia maintain and improve the quality of the unique environment resource endowment and physical characteristics of the coastal areas and prepare ecological master plans to guide the use of coastal areas for diverse and often conflicting individual and social activities for the continuous viability of all aspects of the ecosystem.

  Nigeria is also actively engaged in global and international efforts to ensure sustainable development in a bid to mitigate these adverse impacts of climate change. She became party to the 1958 Geneva Convention of territorial Sea and Continent Shelf on 10 October 1964, and 28 May 1971 respectively. The United Nations Law of the Sea was signed on 10 December 1982 and ratified on 14 August 1986.

2.2  Agriculture

  The agricultural sector is about the largest sector of the nation's economy as it contributes about 37 per cent of the GDP and provides employment for about 65 per cent of the adult labour force. In addition to being the main food source, it also provides raw materials for the agro-allied industrial sectors and ranks next to the oil sector as a source of foreign exchange earning for the nation. Thus any variation in climate especially in rainfall is a potential threat to food security and agro-allied industries as the nation's agriculture is mostly rain-fed.

2.2.1  Potential Climate Change Hazards on the Agriculture and Food Sector

  The potential impact of climate change on the agricultural sector includes:

    —  Reduction of soil moisture availability and run-off;

    —  Inadequate rainfall and sources of irrigation;

    —  Degradation of lands as a result of drought and desertification, which subsequently become prone to locust and pests invasion causing untold havoc to crops;

    —  Loss of arable lands due to floods and erosions especially in the southeastern part of the country where there is severe cases of gully erosions. The main implication of this is increased cost of transportation due to destruction of the roads by the gully erosions, which in turn results in hikes in the prices of foodstuffs.

  Like most other developing countries, these potential climate change hazards are further aggravated by some environmental unfriendly anthropogenic practices such as:

    —  Excessive use of fuel woods and charcoals and bushfires which have led to rapid disappearing of tropical forests resulting in deforestation, as the fuel woods removal rate exceeds its replacement.

    —  Urbanization and increased livestock grazing activities, which have caused loss of arable lands thereby moving the limit of production into marginal lands.

    —  Over-use of fertilizers and pesticides.

    —  Large-scale expansion of irrigated agriculture has met with increasing problem of waterlogging and salinization, further worsening the desertification problem.

    —  Vegetation degradation due to persistent bush burning from fires started in extreme dry weather conditions and perhaps intensive grazing.

2.2.2  Mitigating Efforts

  Some actions taken by the government to fight the above problems are:

    —  Raising agricultural productivity to ensure food supply and keep in pace with increased population and urbanization so as to achieve by year 2010, an average of per capita level daily energy supply of 2900kcal. The nation's agricultural productivity programs include:

      (i)  The Agricultural Development Programme;

      (ii)  The National Fadama Development Program;

      (iii)  The National Agricultural Technology Support Program;

      (iv)  The National Japanese Assisted Rice Production Program and other related programmes.

    —  Expanding the production of export crops to increase and further diversify foreign exchange earnings.

    —  Stepping up the harnessing of large rivers.

    —  Undertaking large-scale capital construction projects of farmlands.

    —  Improving agricultural fields with low grain production.

    —  Undertaking comprehensive agricultural cultivation projects.

    —  Increasing the supply of agricultural raw materials for domestic manufacturing activities.

    —  Improving institutional and administration support capacity.

  The Meteorological Services Department has also contributed to the support of food security in the nation through expansion of her agricultural station network, development of crop/weather models and indices in aid of the judicious use of crops and ecology for sustainable agriculture, and establishment of Agric. Meteorological Early Warning System (EWS). Some of the information and products from the Agric EWS are onset and cessation of the rainy season, outlook for onset of drought, vegetation index maps, etc.

2.3  Fresh Water Resources

  Fresh water resources in the country are quite enormous; surface and groundwater resources of over 250 billion cubic metres, with rivers Niger (the sixth largest and longest river the world) and Benue as well as Lake Chad being the prominent sources. There are also over 10 active River basins complemented with increasingly vital exploitation of ground water nationwide, particularly to meet the water needs of the rural communities.

  Water is critically important for most socio-economic development activities. Thus the impact from extreme weather events like drought or from human induced climate change hazards eg pollution, salinization and overgrazing could have far reaching consequences on the nation's socio-economic development. For example, the Kainji dam (mainly drained by the River Niger) which was hitherto the best viable economical alternative means of electricity generation since it is not restricted in purpose, is now threatened by variations in rainfall and evaporation. This in turn affect hydroelectricity generation leading to erratic power failures in the country.

2.3.1  Potential Impacts

  Other impacts of climate change on this sector include:

    —  Fast shrinking of lake Chad due to desertification and aridity as well as the southward movement of the sand dunes. Two thirds of the lake has shrunk over the years from 25,000 square kilometre to 12,000 square kilometre since 1972, thus making water resource management even more difficult as river channels are also drying up. Consequently water availability per inhabitant per year is expected to decrease from 3,100 cubic metre in 1990 to 1,600 cubic metre by the year 2025. Other consequences of this include reduction in fish catches.

    —  Threat to the employment of more than 5,000 farming families whom the lake provides source of water for their over 50,000 tonnes of rice, 30,000 tonnes of wheat and 10,000 tonnes of seed cotton farmlands.

    —  Threat to the 260 million US dollars yearly revenue usually generated from agricultural, animal and fish production at this area.

    —  Likelihood of an intensification of the global hydrological cycle that can affect the frequency and intensification of floods and drought.

2.3.2  Mitigating Efforts

    —  Channeling of water from the Congo River in the Democratic republic of Congo through the Ubangi River in Central Africa Republic which drains into the River Congo and Chari River which in turn enters the lake as the best option for replenishing the dwindling resource of lake Chad. This will be through joint efforts of the members of the Chad Basin Commission made up of Nigeria, Niger Chad and Cameroon.

    —  Ensuring comprehensive assessments of water resources with a view to arresting water pollution and enforcing standards and regulations.

2.4  Health Sector

  In Nigeria, extreme values of weather parameters such as temperature, relative humidity, and rainfall have led to severe human health problems. For example there is now expansion of vector-borne diseases like malaria and cholera due to frequent flood episodes and outbreaks of Cerebro-spinal Meningitis due to heat stress from the rising temperature profile.

  Again, some of the environmental unfriendly human practices such as air and water pollution have also resulted to other health problems such as respiratory diseases. It has been observed that health hazards resulting from such problems have increased since over the last 10 years due to rapid industrialization and its consequent emissions, effluent and waste management.

  There is also the "poverty factor" (ie sicknesses following undernourishment from food shortage); the poverty level increased from 42.7 per cent in 1962 to 65.6 per cent in 1996, with the number of people in poverty increasing from 39.7 million in 1992 to 67.1 million in 1996 (ie using two third mean per capita household expenditure to indicate poverty line).

2.4.1  Mitigating Efforts

  Nigeria is actively involved in many of the global health programs like the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) programme, the Immunization program, etc. The country has also launched the National Poverty Alleviation Program (PAP).

2.5  Energy

  This sector controls almost all facets of the country's economic and developmental activities particularly through the provision of electricity and fuel supply for residential and commercial uses, transportation, agro-processing industries and large and small-scale industries. Although Nigerian is endowed with a wide range of both non-renewable and renewable energy resources, most of the above energy requirements are met by the non-renewable sources especially the fossil fuels which pose serious threat to the atmosphere and sustainable development through their emission of Green House Gases (GHG). Moreover there is a lot of pressure on this sector due to the increasing population. It has been estimated that the demand for energy in the country could increase by 20,000 MW in the next decade.

2.5.1  Potential Climate Change Hazard

  Apart from the damages to electrical power installations due to severe thunderstorms and lightning, water shortage in the hydropower sources as a result of drought, and over flow of the hydropower dams in the event of floods, the concern here is how the subsequent environmental pollution and increased GHG from the above anthropogenic practices in this sector result in and exacerbates climate change hazards as shown below:

    —  Increasing use of woodlands for fuel, which in turn lead to large-scale deforestation; it is estimated that over 90 per cent of rural households and the poor urban households depend on fuel wood for domestic energy needs. Although there is a considerable uncertainty with regard to the quantity of wood consumed in the country, some estimates put it at about 51 to 88 million cubic metres per annum with about 80 per cent of this being consumed as fuel wood. It has also been estimated that about 15 per cent of Nigeria is being besieged by severe deforestation as about 92,000 hectares of woodlands in the northern part of the country and about 350 thousand hectares in the entire country are deforested annually. The value of the lost forest has been conservatively estimated at 750 million US dollars annually. Consequently, the nation's 15 million hectares of forest and woodland reserves could be depleted within the next 50 years if the current trend is not checked.

    —  Gas flaring of over 70 per cent of the associated gas produced in the oil fields (more than about 26 billion cubic metre of natural gas is flared annually amounting to loss of billions of US dollars in the past 30 years); this has been identified as the major contributor to environmental pollution and source of GHG emission.

    —  Oil-spillage in the oil-producing areas; about 155 incidences of this involving 21,448 barrels of oil was reported in 2001 alone. These have resulted in destruction of land cum vegetation and water leading to loss of biodiversity eg declining agricultural yields / qualities, pollution of streams and rivers and loss of jobs for fish farmers.

    —  Increase of pollutants in the atmosphere especially at the oil-producing areas, which in turn lead to acidic and highly polluted rainwater. This is evident from the surface ozone record at a background pollution station located at Oshogbo (near Lagos), which gave the pH value of rain as 5.6 to 6.0 (less than 7.0, which is the value for a neutral solution).

    —  High values of total ozone observed in the stratospheric ozone station at Lagos, (253 Dobson unit (DU) as compared with the mean value of 240DU over the equatorial belt) could pose a potential threat to the preservation of the stratospheric ozone in the area.

2.5.2  Mitigating Efforts

  The country in a bid to mitigate the above impact has taken some measures, which include:

    —  Ensuring regular supply of alternative to fuel wood by way of enhanced supply of coal popularization of biogas and biofertilizer plants, promotion of the use of wood shaven, agricultural wastes and / sawdust as briquettes and the support and development of other renewable energy sources.

    —  The use of solar power for pumping water and lighting in rural areas.

    —  Introduction of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Kerosene stoves as alternatives to fuel wood in rural and urban areas.

    —  Removal of subsidies on petroleum products with a view to enhancing growth of renewable sources of energy

    —  Increased awareness of energy-related environmental degradation cum climate change, which is believed, will cause a shift to market development of renewable energy resources and promotion of the use of abundant natural gas. Fallouts of this include the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, the West Africa Gas Pipeline project and the Associated Gas Utilization Fiscal Incentive (AGUFI).

    —  Government ultimatum to stop gas flaring by year 2008.

    —  Introduction of energy efficiency programmes namely (a) the industrial energy efficiency programme, (b) the energy efficiency in building and (c) the energy efficiency in the transport sector.

    —  Shift from high carbon to low carbon fuels and improved productivity.

  The energy and industrial sector is one area most affected by the United Nation Framework on Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) (ratified by Nigeria in 1994), the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change and the Montreal Protocol. Issues on the implementation of the convention is merely that of GHG emission which are principally from the use of fossil fuels while their sinks (particularly carbon dioxide) are considerably being lost via land use changes (deforestation). It is envisaged that reduction in the consumption of fossil fuel by developed countries (the main thrust of the Kyoto protocol) will adversely affect the country's economy being largely dependent on fossil fuel production for its revenue. This will also hamper her efforts to achieve the "first and overriding priorities of eradication of poverty and achievement of socio-economic development. . ." as expressly recognized by the convention.

  The issue of concern here is meeting the obligation of providing carbon sinks and at the same time improving her fragile economy by promoting both agro forestry and non-economic forestry.

  For the project on alternative to fuel wood, there is dearth of trained personnel to handle the design, manufacture, marketing and operating and manufacturing of the renewable energy system with abundant sources of renewable energy (solar, wind, biomass, small scale hydro etc). The Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) in cooperation with UNESCO started the training of technicians and artisans on the installation and maintenance of solar power system in 2001. A Country Service Framework (CSF) is also being implemented for small and medium scale industries on energy efficiency by the ECN, UNIDO and the Federal Ministry of Industries.

  The Environment Monitoring body (ie the Federal Ministry of Environment) is also making efforts to effect a downward trend of the above environmental hazards from this sector in accordance with the UNFCCC requirements especially through improved fuel efficiency and reliance on carbon intensive fuels which requires technology transfer. Thus bringing to the fore the relevance of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol. Already the country has a joint project with Canada on Climate Change capacity Development.

  The new political status of the country especially in her determination to achieve economic growth and poverty eradication surely contributed to this positive development. Some of the achievements made in this aspect include:

    —  Organization of seminars and workshops on building capacity to Facilitate CDM projects in the Oil and Gas and Manufacturing sectors of the Nigerian economy.

    —  Development of a country program for the implementation of the Montreal Protocol for the phasing out of the Chloroform Carbon (CFC); over 10 private companies have benefited from the retrofitting of their factories for refrigerant manufacture, human resources development and funding of CFC phase-out programmes under the Multilateral Fund (MFMP) while 10 companies were supported to retrofit foam manufacture.

    —  Establishment of pilot and demonstrative projects on solar-PV, biogas improved wood stove, solar drying and other thermal application being carried out by the government in various states of the federation with allocation eg 2 tonnes per cycle Ada Rice Solar dryer project in Enugu / Anambra state, the solar PV water pumping sheme, the Kwalkwalewa village solar PV lighting system project in Sokoto state and the Ojokoro cooperative Agricultural Multipurpose Society 20 m3 Biogas project in Lagos state.

    —  Setting up of a CDM center at Ibadan, and joint establishment of a 5-year framework (Country Service Framework (CSF)) for technological assistance for industrial development in the country by UNIDO and Nigeria. The CSF includes a programme on Environment and energy whose objective includes (a) the energy management in industry and mobilization capacity to enable industrial projects under the CDM, (b) creating enabling environment necessary for CDM projects namely the Industrial Policy with the focus on Public Private Partnership.

    —  Establishment of more poverty alleviation projects to further reduce the dependency on the forests for the livelihood of the rural populace.


  (i)  Vienna Convention for Protection of the Ozone layer: A National Action Plan was developed following its ratification on 17th February 1967.

  (ii)  Convention on Biodiversity: In addition to the development of the National Action Plan, projects on the identification and inventorisation of flora and fauna in all Nigerian ecosystems and increasing the network on protected areas are being embarked upon. The convention was ratified on 29 August 1994.

  (iii)  Convention to Combat Desertification: Also apart from the development of National Action Plan, there are tree-planting campaign, and establishment of shelterbelts. Other projects include afforestation and fuel substitution programme, harmonization and integration of sectoral programmes. This was also ratified on 29th August 1994.

  (iv)  United Nations' Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) & The Kyoto Protocol: Most of the actions taken in these two areas have been mentioned under the energy sector, which as a matter of fact is the main focus of the convention and the protocol. With respect to the convention which has already been ratified since 1994, a National Communication is being prepared. The nation is also developing her national Agenda 21 which is taking cognizance of both the global and specific needs of the country including actions for sustainable development. Though the protocol is yet to be ratified, efforts are being made on the identification and inventorization of emission sources of Green House Gases. There are also a few projects on how the nation can fulfill her UNFCCC commitments and also benefit from some mechanisms of the protocol such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and Emission Trading (ET).

  (v)  Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Stratospheric Ozone Layer: This was ratified on 23rd July 2001. Actions taken in this regard are the identification and inventorization of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and phase-out programmes on ODS (as already mentioned above) including technology transfer and capacity building.


  The issue of energy is the main problem generating controversies in negotiations at the UNFCCC meetings and delay in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol by most countries including Nigeria with some developed countries like the USA still dragging their feet in ratifying the protocol. Though climate change naturally affects the output of hydro dams adversely especially during drought and sometimes paralyses socio-economic activities as a result of storm and flood damages to electrical installations, the impact of response-measures (ie via the implementation of the convention and protocols) would be very much felt by the country. This is largely due to the fact that the country practically depends on fossil fuels-driven energy generating technologies, with oil and gas constituting about 80 per cent to 90 per cent of her foreign earnings. Other impacts of the response measures are on the rural area dwellers who live in abject poverty partly because of little or no energy supply ie commercial energy consumption perception which has been known to affect life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy and total fertility.


  Despite the above adverse impact of global climate change, a few benefits can be identified as follows:

    (a)  The present challenges to the energy sector with regard to embarking on projects that would improve the energy system as enumerated earlier can be seen as positive effects of climate change in the country.

    (b)  Such projects are also envisaged to provide job opportunities like is the case in Brazil where the preparation of ethanol from sugar cane created 700,000 jobs in the countryside.

    (c)  The longer dry spells within the rainy seasons as a result of recent variations in rainfall amount and distribution especially in the south now allow exhibitions and other outdoor jobs cum activities which are often disrupted by rain particularly in Lagos to thrive better.

  On the other hand the northern areas seem to have been enjoying gradual increase in rainfall both in duration and spread particularly within the past 5 to 10 years. This has given rise to more agricultural production especially for crops like the normal beans specie which hitherto was not planted due to inadequate rainfall but are now being cultivated. This normal specie of beans is usually preferred because of its greater yields than those of the climate-adapted (only 45-days) specie (developed for the shorter rainfall duration).


  Climate change impact is very rapid over the country and thus makes adaptability very difficult considering also the fragile economy of the nation. The earlier mentioned record of socio-economic losses incurred as a result of extreme weather conditions shows increasing trend in the financial losses. From just 650 million naira in 1988, through 3.64 billion in 1993, and 8.3 billion naira in 1994, the losses rose to 50 billion naira in 1999. The implication of this on the nation's poverty level becomes more terrible when compared with the nation's GDP especially for 1999 when these losses accounted for about 41 per cent of the GDP. This in fact is the main problem ie inadequate resources to cope with climate change impact whereas this poses little or no problem for the developed countries like the USA whose losses from weather and climate disasters last year though was as high as 9.8 trillion dollars only translated to 0.08 per cent of her GNDP.

  No doubt, climate sits at the nexus of the two principal development concerns namely; poverty and sustainability development. Efforts to better understand the role of the climate on society and to develop ways to manage climate impact especially through improving climate prediction techniques must therefore contribute to key development objectives. Enhancing developing countries' capacity especially Nigeria's for research and systematic weather observation thus forms one of the focal points of negotiation at the several meetings of the convention on climate change. The current step by the Federal Government to grant autonomy to the Nigerian Meteorological Services Department could not have come at a better time as this will considerably enhance the Department's performance in the area of acquisition of the modern technologies and capacity building particularly in the development of Local Area Model (LAM) which has a higher resolution that is able to capture the small-scale weather motion which are the most important weather features over the country, but which are usually filtered out by the global Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models currently employed.

  Judging from all the earlier stated national actions taken, it is apparent that Nigeria is very concerned about the safety of its environment. In fact, Nigeria more than any other developing country is very anxious to mitigate climate change as it has a lot at stake particularly in the area of reduction of consumption of carbon fuels which is its main source of foreign exchange. With over 25 billion barrels of national oil reserves and about 23 million barrels per day production capacity, the nation (which ranks among the world's top 10 oil producing nations) should be able to cope with her population by effectively financing her development programmes and alleviating poverty.

  However it is sad to note that because of lack of adequate gas utilization, most of the gas produced in association with this oil is flared. For example each barrel of oil produced is just a tenth of the gas equivalent, which as earlier stated contributes to climate change via pollution and emission of greenhouse gases. Though several schemes on oil utilization have been initiated to realize the 2008 deadline on gas-flaring, the country needs further assistance from the developed countries not only in this regard but also on other energy efficiency programmes.

  From the above issues raised, the country has no doubt fared reasonably well in the management of global climate change problems despite her fragile economy and poverty level. It is for this latter principal developmental concern (ie poverty) that the country will have to reflect critically on whether or not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. It has to consider the potential economic losses that may arise from the full implementation of the protocol as discussed above as against the environmental gains or safety from climate change mitigation. In effect, Nigeria has to strive a balance between her socio-economic interests and protection of her environment.

Julie Ukeje

Assistant Director (Climate Services),

Department of Meteorological Services,

Federal Ministry of Aviation, Abuja, Nigeria

April 2002


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