Urgent Call for Climate Change Action: Expert Advocates Greater Commitment

Urgent Call for Climate Change Action
Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, Director of the Center for Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Urgent Call for Climate Change Action

In a recent interview, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, Director of the Center for Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi, passionately implored the Federal Government to prioritise climate change within its economic growth strategy.

Highlighting the gravity of the issue, Professor Okereke underscored that climate change is not a mere environmental concern, but rather a pivotal factor with far-reaching economic implications. He urged nations, including Nigeria, to recognise the profound economic repercussions of climate change and act decisively.

“If the government is to stand a chance of succeeding in delivering economic growth in the country, it is important for it to pay attention to climate change.

“This is because the negative economic impact of climate change will likely derail the nation’s ability to sustain economic growth,’’ the professor cautioned.

The recent devastating floods that have struck various regions, including Lagos and Abuja, have exacted a heavy toll on both lives and property. These events serve as stark reminders of the extensive impacts that climate change-induced weather patterns can inflict.

Professor Okereke, along with fellow scientists, has consistently stressed the urgent need for global and national awareness of climate change’s profound economic consequences.

He pointed out that the 2012 flooding event cost Nigeria trillions of Naira in damages, and subsequent floods have claimed numerous lives and caused extensive property losses.

The outlook remains bleak. Meteorological agencies have warned of an impending surge in floods this year. The Cameroonian Government’s decision to release dam waters due to heavy rainfall further reinforces the climate change connection.

In light of this, proactive measures are imperative. Professor Okereke recently urged the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to consider the far-reaching implications of climate change on the welfare and economic prosperity of their constituents.

He implored the NGF to implement measures to bolster their states’ resilience to climate change.

“Several states across the country still do not have any coherent climate change policy or action plan.

“It is time that they begin to do so, under a range of different measures that the national and state governments can put in place such as simple drainage systems, better city management and the clearing of drainage systems.

“All of these can help to limit the impact of flooding and the devastation that it causes to citizens,” Professor Okereke stressed.

Furthermore, the government must integrate climate change into the heart of its economic growth agenda. Engaging robustly with the international community to secure vital climate finance for implementing a range of climate change mitigation measures in Nigeria is equally imperative.

In the face of escalating climate challenges, the time for action is now. The government’s commitment to climate change mitigation is not only an environmental imperative but a crucial economic safeguard for Nigeria’s future prosperity.


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