Climate Change in Nigeria: The Impacts and Adaptation Strategies

CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION STRATEGIES FOR NIGERIA Generally, there are two broad major approaches to dealing with climate change-related challenges: mitigation (which means to tone down, diminish or lessen human activities that may aggravate the increase of greenhouse emissions) and adaptation (which refers to the modification and changes to reduce the impact of climatic variations in the environment). Some mitigation alternative includes a decrease in deforestation and re-forestation, a decline in the burning of fossil fuels, a reduction of greenhouse gases, reformation of agricultural practices that support the emission of greenhouse gases. There still exists another route of mitigation such as the use of GIS and remote sensing in monitoring the environment. Atilola (2012) suggests that “another mitigation option is geoengineering to reverse the effect of global warming by creating cooling effects which will offset greenhouse heating and conceiving the development of technology for clean the greenhouse gases from the atmosphere”. Adaptation strategies are steps that can be taken to cushion or decline the effect of active or presumed climate fluctuations in the ecosystem. Climate change adaptation is a process that involved ecological, social, and economic systems adjustment to likely and actual climatic stimulus and their respective impact (De Chavez and Tauli-Corpuz, 2008; Nzeadibe et al, 2011).

Nigeria may need to employ more adaptation strategies because, like other developing nations, the country is not largely involved in climate-threatening industrialization when compared with most developed countries. Furthermore, the country is not yet technologically advanced to engage the needed infrastructure necessary for many forms of mitigation practices. The harmful effect of climate change can be reduced if necessary measures are employed, some of which are discussed below. Human settlement Some urban and coastal regions have been displaced by the upsurge of floods in those areas. The employment of spatial planning as an adaptation strategy in the planning of cities and urban areas is quite crucial. The flooding of local communities in some parts of the Niger Delta region caused a mass relocation (yuba 2012) farther into the inland areas in temporal and permanent terms, which contributes to the over-population of the area. The climate change adaptation demands infrastructure like protective barriers which helps to counter the rise in sea 13 Electronic copy available at:  level.

Dams would also help in the management and retention of water. Efficient building strategies should be employed by construction firms to step up to the challenge. Innovative flood control and monitoring of drought are also encouraged. Efforts should be made by the government to construct cities on higher plains rather than closer to the more vulnerable floodplains. A good and fitting water management approach should be employed Avenues for water provision in the arid regions should be explored. Best practices on water management via the utilization of relevant technology can be used to conserve soil moisture. Efforts should be made by the government and relevant stakeholders to ensure the desalination of groundwater sources which is leading to the decline of life. Appropriate desalination technology should be engaged. Increased management of water supply and security of the coastal zones is also needed. Relevant laws and policies should be enacted by regulatory boards to promote the safety of these coastal regions. Health care Due to the increased temperature of the earth, water-borne disease such as malaria has increased. Rural communities in Nigeria are hugely susceptible to cholera outbreaks. It has been therefore suggested that rainwater harvesting tanks should be encouraged in homes instead of salinated groundwater which may have been subjected to contamination14. Health surveillance systems should be encouraged by the government and local communities. Technologies that reduce our exposure to extreme heat should be adopted. An efficient healthcare system should be pursued and the primary healthcare system should be strengthened, restructured, and expanded in local communities. Improvement in housing conditions for the masses is also needed. Improved meteorology and weather monitoring Additional efforts should be made by the meteorological agencies how to effectively predict changing weather conditions and zones to equip the government and the people with relevant information that is needed to escape, prevent and reduce losses that may result from climate change. Efforts should be made to engage weather monitoring technologies that give early warning signs and are better able to predict the envisaged risk of weather variations. Capacities building of relevant stakeholders and institutions to better adapt to climate change at the national and local level is essential. Flood Control The construction of efficient drainages that create effective pathways for the movement of flood in erosion-prone areas in local communities will be of immense help. The erection of canals and guardrails is required in both local and urban communities. It will also help to reduce pollution, waterborne disease, and vectors that breed and incubates in standing waters. Flood control mechanisms are required to salvage coastal communities and crops from torrents and overflooding. More so, the construction of a sea wall would be an additional advantage in the management of floods in flood-prone areas. Desertification 14 Electronic copy is available at:

For the arid zones where desertification threatens, an innovative project like the great green wall which is ongoing is encouraged. Improved species that have adaptive capacity should be made accessible to farmers for planting. Soil and water conservation technologies should be pursued. The pit planting technique will be of immense benefit for collecting surface runoff water and making them available for agriculture. The use of irrigation should be improved and widely promoted in the arid zones. Agriculture The use of organic amendments and inorganic fertilizers would help to restructure the quality content of the soil and enhance soil fertility. More dams are required to aid irrigation. This will enhance the shift from rain-fed agriculture to irrigation-fed agriculture, which promises a more stable agroeconomy for the country. Crops of better hybrid/variety and adaptive capacity should be sought for and utilized by farmers. More investigations and research are encouraged for further understanding of best practices for optimum yield. Inter-cropping, mixed cropping, agroforestry, and crop diversification could be encouraged to help local farmers maximize resource use. Rural coping strategies especially amongst farmers are largely encouraged.


writing by Kazeem A, Adeleke

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