Climate change has always occurred in different Nigeria; however the effects have become more noticeable recently over the years. The effects have affected the daily lives of many for better or worse. A peer reviewed research done by an unknown source, which was accepted by the Journal of Geography and Regional had concluded that the average temperature of Nigeria has increased by 1. 7°C in the period of 1901-2005. The increase has however been higher in semi-arid areas and is lower in coastal regions. The paper has also shown that the rate of change has increased in the 1970’s.
The consequences of the increase in temperature have resulted into the desertification of the north as well as the coastal erosion in the south. A combination of overgrazing, abuse of woodland for fuel as well as the unreliable rainfall, the Sahara desert is advancing at an estimated rate of 600 metres each year. This means that an estimated 55 million or more would be affected in the northern states such as Sokoto. However in the south, increasing sea levels have threatened the coastal region. A given example is Bar Beach, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Bar Beach, once a family spot for relaxation is currently under reconstruction after 100m of the shoreline had been eroded over the past 20 years. Lagos State also teamed up with Chagoury Group to build a 1km sea defence to prevent further damage. Another region is the Niger Delta, which is the source of Nigeria’s oil wealth but however is vulnerable to the flooding due to its low-lying terrain with criss-crossed waterways. The protective mangroves have also been reduced by a drastic amount due to human intervention.
Many people may not know but half of the 15 million people in Lagos live less than 6 feet away above sea level. Also in the rural economy, most small farms always assume stable rainfall patterns for their time of seeds and planting. Therefore the Government strategies for poverty in semi arid areas in the north as well as arable regions are at risk due to the variation in the weather pattern. Due to awareness campaigns made by organizations such as NCF, Nigerians are able to relate the disturbing issues of very high temperature as well as the uncertain implication for disease carrying pest and insects.
Nigeria’s adaptation to climate change has not received much funding from external bilateral or multilateral sources. This may be due to the Nigeria’s slow moving institutional response to climate change. However locally, adaptation strategies are consistent with existing responses to that of hunger and poverty. For example trees are being planted in order to stop desertification. The use of substitute fuels such as biogas is also being used as well as the adoption of more versatile livestock.
In more conventional farming regions, they have been encouraged to diversify their corps and adopt more efficient rainwater harvesting and irrigation techniques. The coastal region has also approached climate change with better management of existing resources. A short film Water Runs Deep talks about the impact of climate change in Nigeria. It gives an insight on how climate change has affected the lives of many for the worst. The movie shows how crops have been destroyed by flooding as well as schools being ruined.
Various interviews give tale of their hardship and how they cope with it as well as the predicted change in weather for Nigeria and how adaptation strategies have been used to help the rural communities cope with Climate Change. According to the 2010 MDG progress report, Nigeria’s forest cover has reduced from 18. 9% to 9. 9% in the last two decades. This is one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. The main reason for such is due to the high demand for wood fuel. In the absence of affordable alternative energy sources, charcoal is popular even in cities, which boosts its uncontrolled production