Despite its low emissions profile, Nigeria is already experiencing the effects of climate change and extreme weather events. Unless urgent and bold action is taken, Nigeria could become one of the most severely affected countries by climate change, with grave implications for the country’s already fragile economic, social, and human development indicators.
Agora Policy, an Abuja-based think tank, issued the warning about the severe and multiple threats that climate change poses to Nigeria’s current and future development in a recent report.
The report, titled “Climate Change and Socio-Economic Development in Nigeria,” released in Abuja, and produced with support from the MacArthur Foundation, states that climate change is not a minor issue for the Nigerian government and people.
The report recognises numerous climate-related initiatives undertaken by past Nigerian governments, including policies, programs, projects, and the 2021 climate change law. However, it notes that these initiatives have not been effective due to a lack of follow-through, coordination, and adequate funding.
The report states that climate change is worsening poverty challenges in Nigeria and hindering the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. It notes that climate change is already contributing to hunger, poverty, disease, migration, conflict, and insecurity in Nigeria, while also damaging infrastructure, altering coastlines, desertification, water scarcity, erosion, and a decline in government revenue.
According to the report, Nigeria is losing at least $100 billion annually due to the effects of climate change. The country may also lose trillions of dollars in manufacturing, construction, and oil and gas assets if the world transitions to a green economy.
Agora warns that Nigeria risks becoming a “stranded country” due to climate change, which could further jeopardise the country’s economic development and alter its geographical, social, and political trajectory for decades to come.
The report identifies several channels through which the adverse effects of climate change could intensify in Nigeria, exacerbating the country’s existing developmental challenges. These include a projected increase in temperature, increased occurrence of floods, droughts, and rising sea levels, the risk of 75 per cent of the Delta region being lost, and worsening impacts on agriculture, food security, health, water and energy availability, peace and security, and the durability of infrastructure.