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nigeria: implications of climate change

Climate change is severely affecting livelihoods in Nigeria. Rainfall patterns are changing, and springs and streams are drying up. Desertification is intensifying, and crop yields dwindling causing food shortages. Storms, flooding and coastal erosion are all also increasing.

nigerian gas flaring 7

However, awareness of the causes of climate change is still low – and there is little understanding of the measures that are needed to mitigate and adapt to it.

 

what happened?

In 2008, Friends of the Earth Nigeria / Environmental Rights Action worked with other Nigerian organizations and the media to help increase understanding of climate change at all levels of society, and to demand action to address it.

 

FoE Nigeria hosted a roundtable event in June 2008, with 38 participants from community-based organizations, civil society organizations, communities affected by oil and gas extraction and the media. The roundtable covered the causes and impacts of climate change and adaptation – and looked at the Climate Change Commission Bill and its importance in controlling climate-changing pollution and promoting corporate accountability.

 

Also in June, FoE Nigeria hosted a media training workshop, for 17 journalists from national newspapers and TV stations. The journalists were challenged to improve their reporting on climate change issues and to critically examine climate change adaptation plans before lending support.

 

Throughout the year, FOE Nigeria focused on media work, securing numerous quality articles in the press. They also published an edition of Environmental Impact Newsletter denouncing gas flaring as a major contributor to climate change and calling for an end to it.

 

what changed?

Awareness and understanding of climate change is growing steadily across Nigeria. Communities – even very remote ones – and civil society organizations have a better understanding of the issues, and are more resolved to curb climate change and ensure corporate accountability in their areas.

 

The seriousness of the need for climate change adaptation and mitigation is increasingly highlighted in the media. The journalists who attended the media training are now far more willing to critically examine climate change adaptation plans before supporting them.

 

As a result of this growing popular and media pressure, the Government is also becoming more concerned about climate change adaptation, and has initiated a plan of action process. The Nigerian Climate Change Commission Bill was also passed in January 2009. However, whilst this is a useful first step in that it establishes a Climate Change Commission, it does not fully outline any course of action to be taken by the Commission. Furthermore, the Nigerian government has yet to enforce the December 2008 deadline for stopping gas flaring, which is a major source of Nigeria’s greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Through this work, FOE Nigeria has built stronger links with other FOE International groups, most notably FOE Netherlands, and is actively engaged in FoEI’s programmes, including on corporates, and climate justice and energy.

 

what next?

The oil companies’ influence over the Government has meant that the Government has failed to enforce the December 2008 deadline for stopping gas flaring – the major cause of climate change in Nigeria. There is a need for continued campaigning in Nigeria and globally until gas flaring ends.

 

with thanks to our funders: the dutch ministry of foreign affairs (dgis).

 

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