The World Bank, recently, in a report, raised the alarm that by 2050, Climate Change could force 216 million people to migrate within their own countries. While 2050 may seem like a very long time from now, it is best to tackle this problem while there is still time. Already climate change, leading to migration, is causing farmer/herder crisis in Nigeria in addition to all manner of criminal activities. In that report, it also stated that hotspots of internal climate migration could come about as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050.
Not all is doom and gloom as same report offers a way out. It called for speedy and rigorous action ‘to reduce global emissions, and support green, inclusive, and resilient development and reduce the scale of climate migration by as much as 80 per cent.’
Across the globe, countries continue to experience unprecedented disasters as a result of climate change. Sources of livelihoods are being destroyed through, gully erosion, landslides, draught, desertification, floods among others, causing several to migrate.
The World Bank reveals in same report that by 2050, ‘Sub-Saharan Africa could see as many as 86 million internal climate migrants; East Asia and the Pacific, 49 million; South Asia, 40 million; North Africa, 19 million; Latin America, 17 million; and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 5 million.’ In the above research, developing countries have the highest figures bearing the brunt of the problem. Ironically, they have contributed less to Climate Change.
On the 19th of August, the world marked the World Humanitarian Day, addressing this same issue of how the vulnerable in developing countries, that is, refugees, internally displaced persons among others, are and will be most affected by climate change.
Generally, the situation has worsened as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change blames activities of humans. In a report of August 9, 2021, the United Nations (UN) climate panel also states that Global Warming is ‘dangerously’ close to getting out of control. It tagged the situation a ‘code red alert for humanity’. If humanity choose to ignore it, then it will not go away but would continue to fester for decades to come.
According to NASA Global Climate Change, Vital Signs of the planet, ‘the planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit (1.18 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century…with the seven most recent years being the warmest. The years 2016 and 2020 are tied for the warmest year on record.’
It also points out that the ocean has taken in much of the increased heat, with about 328 feet of ocean displaying warming of over 0.33 degrees Celsius since 1969 and that earth stores 90 per cent of the extra energy in the ocean.
It continues to reveal that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have reduced in mass just as data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment shows that Greenland lost an average of 279 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2019, while Antarctica lost about 148 billion tons of ice per year.
This, in the opinion of this newspaper, is just a tip of the ice berg according to some experts as the situation could get worse. The United States is already experiencing hurricanes and wild fires burning acres of forests in California and floods in some southern and north east states, with raging floods in the United Kingdom and Italy.
Nigeria is not left out in this natural phenomenon. There have been floods in some areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In Lugbe, for instance, lives and property where lost due flood. The North central and South also are not spared this natural disaster. And while this is happening, desertification in the far north continues relentlessly. In 2019, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) revealed that floods had displaced approximately 1.9 million Nigerians. This year, 2021 media reports indicate that about 4,000 people have already been displaced by flood.
While this is happening, the Sahel region, according to the UNHCR, has communities that are facing ‘chronic poverty, harsh climatic condition, recurring epidemics, poor infrastructure and limited access to basic services.’
This Newspaper will continue to speak up concerning climate change and the many dangers it poses. This hydra headed monster will continue to wreak havoc on the planet as we know it. Addressing this issue will prevent internal mass migrations that could potentially lead to fight for land and resources resulting in avoidable conflicts, just like what is happening today in Nigeria.
The federal government owes itself a duty to do the needful to fight climate change so as to prevent the forecast of World Bank from coming to pass. The authorities also need to sensitise the public on the ills of climate change and the urgent need for attitudinal change towards the environment. What is needed and, urgently too, is a collective effort on the part of all if we must avert this impending doom.