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Challenges of climate change

The increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events all over the world are manifestations of Climate Change driven by global warming.

The impacts of Climate Change on key sectors of the economy such as agriculture, transportation, health, infrastructure, water resources the environment and ecosystem are topical.

It is obvious to many that migration and displacement of people, socio-political as well as security issues, are also linked to Climate Change.

The Emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, and natural gas are burned to generate energy has been identified as the root cause of global warming.

There is a close correlation between global health emissions and the frequency as well as intensity of extreme weather events.

Extreme weather events and climate phenomena are some of the driving factors that are contributing to the forced migration and displacement of people globally.

This is factual in the recent reports of the World Bank.

In the publication, the World Bank warned that if steps were not taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, Climate Change could force over 200 million people to migrate within their own countries by 2050.

The publication also warned that “hotspots of internal climate migration could emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050”.

Africa will account for over 86 million of the climate migrants

This represents nearly 40% of the global population. The projected increase in climate migration will have serious implications for food, water, and security in the sub-region. This is coupled with the way armed conflicts are already having negative impacts on livelihoods.

According to the 2019 Africa Report on Internal Displacement published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 91% of internal displacement in Africa was triggered by floods, with Nigeria having the highest flood displacement risk.

This is coupled with slow-onset weather disasters such as drought, desertification, sea level rise, changing rainfall patterns, rising temperatures, soil erosion, and loss of soil fertility.

These phenomena are dangerous, and their negative impacts often spread almost unnoticed until the damages have occurred.

Climate Change negatively impacts water and land resources

While Climate Change negatively impacts water and land resources that are vital for producing food, the conflict makes it difficult for the people to engage in farming, fishing, and livestock rearing.

Migrations and population displacement in the Lake Chad region are indeed the result of a complex interaction between Climate Change and armed conflict.

This leads to hunger, malnourishment, vulnerability to violence by Non-State Armed groups, and increasing forced migration.

Intensify severe weather forecasting and prediction activities.

It is therefore important for meteorological and hydrological agencies of countries in vulnerable regions, to intensify severe weather forecasting and prediction.

These Agencies should intensify efforts and invest more resources in timely weather information dissemination to the public, and sharing with emergency management organizations.  

The effectiveness of the Seasonal Climate Prediction, Annual Flood Outlook and other early warning information produced by NiMet and NIHSA has been hampered by the fact that they don’t reach the vulnerable end users, especially in the rural communities.

The two Agencies should be supported with financial and logistics to enable them to achieve better grassroots penetration of their forecasts and other early warning predictions as the funding from government alone cannot achieve this.

The increased Climate Change migration predicted by the World Bank is indeed worrisome. But it could be averted, if appropriate policies and measures are applied by national and sub-national government as well as other stakeholders.

The commentary was written by Dr Anthony Anuforom, a meteorologist, editing by Saadatu Albashir and Julian Osamoto