A recent report from Agora Policy has highlighted the grave health and environmental risks that Nigeria is currently confronting, with potential annual losses of $100 billion attributed to the effects of climate change. Titled ‘Climate Change and Socio-Economic Development in Nigeria,’ the report underscores how climate change is exacerbating hunger, poverty, disease burdens, migration, conflict, and insecurity within the country,leadership report.
The report further reveals that climate change is causing substantial damage to infrastructure, altering Nigeria’s coastlines, driving desertification, creating water scarcity, promoting erosion, and leading to revenue losses for both states and the national government. The economic impact of climate change on Nigeria is estimated to be around $100 billion annually.
Moreover, the report points out that climate change could result in the loss of trillions of dollars in stranded assets. These adverse effects have the potential to significantly hinder the nation’s economic development and reshape its geographical, social, and political landscape for decades or even centuries, with some consequences being potentially irreversible.
The report emphasizes that climate change is not a minor or peripheral issue that Nigeria’s government and people can afford to ignore. Instead, it should be treated with the utmost seriousness. However, the report also recognizes that while climate change poses substantial threats to Nigeria’s economic development, it also offers an opportunity to diversify the economy, expand the country’s energy sources, address energy security concerns, and enhance global economic competitiveness.
To transform the challenges of climate change into opportunities, the report stresses the need for deliberate planning and immediate, bold, and courageous actions. It acknowledges that successive Nigerian governments have acknowledged the threat of climate change and the need for action through various policy declarations, documents, and the enactment of a National Climate Change law. However, actual implementation has lagged behind, with no clear roadmap or budgetary provisions for policy execution.
The report highlights that transitioning to a green economy is a complex endeavor requiring careful planning, stakeholder involvement, and a commitment to sustainable development. It suggests that incorporating climate considerations into economic development strategies can lead to inclusive and sustainable growth.
By doing so, Nigeria can create a climate-resilient economy that fosters economic growth, poverty reduction, the creation of green jobs, and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions reduction and environmental sustainability.
The report recommends that Nigeria proactively address the issue of stranded assets to position itself for a more resilient and prosperous future. It underscores the importance of industrializing and transitioning without significantly increasing emissions, which can be achieved through mitigation and adaptation strategies that enhance macroeconomic stability, economic transformation, and job creation while safeguarding well-being.
The report concludes by underscoring the vulnerability of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, which heavily depends on rain-fed and climate-sensitive practices. Climate change threatens a decline in agricultural productivity and exacerbates post-harvest losses, making it difficult for farmers to store crops. This, in turn, could worsen food security and nutritional challenges, particularly among the nation’s 35 million children under the age of five.
Additionally, the report predicts that climate change will exacerbate water scarcity issues, with the World Bank forecasting a 25% reduction in available water by 2050. This will impact agriculture, industry, and domestic water supply, jeopardizing livelihoods and GDP.