Climate Change Law and the Future of Nigeria’s Environment



By Uche Anunne, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

This is because the international community has accepted the reality of the impact of climate change on humanity and the environment.

Climate change is therefore one of the major topics globally among world leaders, environmentalists, and activists.

Antarctica is melting at a rate of 150 billion tons per year, unprecedented in human history. Wildfires are rampant in parts of the United States, and erosion is worsening in southern Nigeria.

Desertification in the north has been a whirlwind, and everything from heatwaves in Europe and parts of Asia to floods in India now seem commonplace.

Lake Chad, said to be the size of El Salvador, Israel or Massachusetts, has shrunk from 25,000 square kilometers to 2,500 square kilometers.

Grasslands are disappearing. Because of these and many other things, no one can doubt that after millions of years of human abuse, the climate is fighting back.

Human actions continue to threaten the environment through industrialization, the reckless use of environmentally unfriendly energy, the cutting down of trees and the burning of forests.

As the world’s population grows and energy demands increase, pressures on the environment are increasing.

On the brink of global environmental disaster, world leaders have decided to stop actions that cause climate change.

These efforts can be preventive, such as sensitization campaigns, or restorative, as in the case of reforestation in deforested areas of the world.

World leaders are also signing agreements, protocols and treaties to show how serious they are about saving the planet.

These include the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

This is premised on the fact that developed countries need to reduce their CO2 emissions.

The Paris Climate Agreement replaced the Kyoto Protocol in 2015 and includes commitments by all major greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters to reduce the pollution that causes climate change.

Others include the Bonn Convention, the Vienna Convention, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Until recently, Nigeria has not made sufficient efforts to entrench these treaties, as several attempts to pass the necessary legislation in the National Assembly have not yielded results.

Even when one of the bills was passed by MPs, then President Goodluck Jonathan did not add presidential assent.

However, in the 8th Congress, the bill was reintroduced by Sam Onuigbo, then chairman of the House Committee on Climate Change.

Through his resilience, networking, and lobbying, the bill was ultimately passed in the 9th Congress. On November 18, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Climate Change Bill (2021).

The Nigeria Climate Change Bill was introduced by Rep. Sam Onuigbo, Chairman of the House Committee on Climate Change and Chairman of the Nigeria Climate Parliamentary Group, and was signed into law by President Buhari on November 18, 2021.

“It was important to take action to address the effects of climate change on our society. The international community is moving in that direction and Nigeria cannot afford to do otherwise.

“Growing up in this village, I used to know of six springs, but as I speak to you, five of them have dried up.

“This is an existential problem, and if we don’t address it now, it will create even more complex problems in the future,” Onuibo said of what inspired him to challenge the climate change bill.

Mr. Onuibo expressed hope that given the cross-ministerial nature of the National Climate Change Council, its mandate would be fulfilled, while calling for an urgent transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“This battle started in the 6th Congress and continued till the 8th Congress when I appeared. Fortunately, after much intrigue, we completed the job and President Muhammadu Buhari finally signed into law.

“Given its composition and leadership, I am confident that the council will carry out this important national task,” Onuigbo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The main purpose of this law is to develop and implement mechanisms to promote low carbon emissions and develop a sustainable environment in the country.

The law, now referred to in many quarters as the Sam Onuigbo Climate Change Act, establishes a national council on climate change.

This council is under the chairmanship of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and is empowered to formulate policy and make decisions on all matters related to climate change in Nigeria.

It outlines the climate change obligations of MDAs, public and private bodies, including compliance with annual carbon emission reduction targets according to action plans and carbon budgets.

The Sam Onuigbo Climate Change Act further provides that MDAs must, among other things, establish a climate change desk to ensure the integration of climate change activities into their core mandate.

The law also provides that any individual, private or public entity that takes any action that adversely affects mitigation or adaptation efforts commits an offense and is subject to penalties as determined by the Board.

Tackling climate change resonates with other activists and environmental experts.

Professor Ubom Bassey, an academic and environmental activist, says effective implementation of the law is key to the future of Nigeria’s environmental resources.

Bassey is affiliated with the Faculty of Science and Environmental Education, University of Abuja.

He commended Onuigbo for his tenacity in pushing through the bill and called on the Council to ensure its smooth implementation.

Similarly, at the 14th inaugural lecture of Osun State University, the university’s Vice Chancellor for Academics, Research, Innovation and Partnerships, Professor Anthony Kola-Olusanya, said the time had come for collective efforts to address climate change. Stated.

“Our unsustainable economic production practices and development activities continue to cause global anxiety, particularly about the extent to which the Earth can absorb its continued abuses.

“Sustainable development is not just an environmental issue, it is a social challenge. Therefore, achieving higher incomes and better environmental decision-making requires improved education and health care,” he said. . (Characteristics of NAN)

**If you use it, please credit the author and the News Agency of Nigeria.

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