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Nigeria: Building Resilience to Climate Change through an Ecosystem Based Approach


Nigeria - May 4th, 2015 - Nigeria: Building Resilience to Climate Change through an Ecosystem Based Approach.  

The Crux of the Matter 
The increasing accumulation of green house gases in the atmosphere is very deleterious to ecosystems and the environment. Natural resources are the mainstay of economies and therefore there is a need to preserve and conserve the ecosystems which are the repositories of natural resources.
Resources can be classified into renewable and non renewable. Renewable resources are the resources that can be replenished after use while non renewables are the resources that cannot be replenished upon utilization.  Examples of non renewable resources are fossil fuels, while renewable resources are water and air. 

In the exploitation of these resources for economic benefits, humankind has not cared for the environment but instead has destroyed it. In Nigeria, the major environmental degradation occurs in the oil and gas sector, where Nigeria gets a great percent of its national income. Degradation and pollution are both evident in the country; degradation occurs when there is degeneration of the environment through the reduction of natural resources, damage of ecosystems and loss of wildlife. Whereas pollution occurs when there is an addition of contaminants into the natural environment that causes negative effects. Examples of pollution are oil spills and gas flaring respectively, while examples of environmental degradation are deforestation and land clearing. These affect both the terrestrial and marine ecosystems; the wildlife of the forests are unbalanced by the noise and the constant light coming from gas flaring while aquatic life in the oceans die from oil spills. 

Gas flaring is the burning of natural gas that is associated with crude oil when it is pumped up from the ground [1]. Carbon IV Oxide is released into the environment from this process; it accumulates in the atmosphere and is the most dangerous green house gas. Although Nigeria does not contribute to the major emitters, a low carbon development would be necessary for future development trajectories in a changing climate.

Waste of Resources
Chinma George
Nigeria lost 1billion USD to gas flaring last year from January to September 2014 according to the Punch Newspaper which reported their findings from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). This money could have been invested into the economy to boost it especially for the generation of electricity. The energy sector in Nigeria is highly lacking the capacity to generate electricity for the nation which stalls development. There are many options which can be considered like fossil fuel divestment, renewable energy and carbon capture and storage. However Fossil fuel divestment is an option for the long run and cannot be incorporated into the development needs of Nigeria at the moment, but renewable energy and carbon capture and storage are more viable options for the nation. Carbon capture and storage is the capture of the associated gases during natural gas production and the storage in deep saline aquifers or re-injection into the oil wells for enhanced oil recovery. The Carbon IV oxide can also be used to drive gas turbines and generate energy and electricity instead of depleting air quality and adding to climate change. 

Integrating an Ecosystem Based Management Approach
The interaction and relationship between man, living and non living things and his environment can be termed as an ecosystem. There are many services an ecosystem creates for man; like the trees which act as a buffer against floods, the forests which provide organic matter and nutrients for the soil to boost agricultural productivity and also acts as a carbon sink. The environment is being polluted and degraded more often which is destroying ecosystems and the livelihoods of communities. The health and wellbeing of ecosystems strengthens the ability of nations to adapt to and fight climate change. It is based on managing landscape units by deploying resource use guidelines that are ecologically sustainable and aligned with social, cultural and economic considerations [2].  The process combines preservation of resources with sustainable use. An ecosystem based approach is a way of transitioning to a green economy which is based on low carbon. 

#Call for Action 

We call for action by the newly elected government to reconsider the points below:

Policies: Nigeria’s policies are outdated; there needs to be a review and amendment of the policies. Climate change should also be mainstreamed into all sectors of the economy.
Action: we have to fight climate change by restoring previously destroyed environments in order to assist the ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change; this can be done by remediation of soils that have been exposed to oil spills. Gas flaring has to be stopped, as this has been postponed for too long.

Investment in renewable energy is critical.
Petroleum industry bill: the petroleum industry bill should be brought into law, which limits and mandates oil companies on environmental degradation and pollution according to the polluter pays principle.

Fight climate change in the agricultural sector: agriculture is the mainstay of African economies, the onslaught of climate change is reducing productivity; therefore the need to shift to cleaner technologies and an ecosystem based management approach; which can be achieved by agro forestry and conservation agriculture.

[1] Gas Flaring, (2010). Retrieved from
[2] Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: National Agricultural Resilience Framework, (2014).  Retrieved from
by Chinma George 

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Nigeria: Building Resilience to Climate Change through an Ecosystem Based Approach Reviewed by Olumide Idowu on Thursday, June 04, 2015 Rating: 5
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