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    HomeClimate ChangeINTERVIEW: Adaptation best solution to climate change in Nigeria – Prof. _Tanko

    INTERVIEW: Adaptation best solution to climate change in Nigeria – Prof. _Tanko

    _Adamu Idris Tanko is a Professor of Geography and Vice Chancellor Baba Ahmed University Kano. In this exclusive interview with Agroclimate news he suggested that Nigerians should adapt to climate change rather than giving much emphasis to mitigation with a view to addressing the challenge in the country. He also speaks about the effects of climate change on agriculture and the way they can be addressed. Excerpts:_

    What is climate change?

    Climate change is actually one of the key issues of discussion nowadays. It’s a phenomenon that has to do with changing climatic conditions of a place. In this case we are not only talking about what is happening in one particular place. We are talking about the generality of the global environment. Globally we come to see that the climate of the world is actually changing, not only changing, as such is actually warming.

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    Global warming is due to rise in what we call a climate change, where most of the parameters that tell us about climate normally change their normal cause. For example; people get to know that rainfall is changing overtime. The temperature is changing. The wind direction is changing. Wind velocity is changing. The atmospheric pressure and everything is changing. All those elements are actually changing. Whenever they change normally people take note and whatever climatic condition you are in, dictates what you can do and what you cannot do.

    What are the main causes of climate change?

    There are generally two different causes. We have what is called the natural change; like what is designed by the Almighty that the change might happen. Then the other one is manmade, what some people might call anthropogenic changes.

    Prof. Adamu Idris Tanko during the interview

    Our activities, like some of the waste we generate, especially waste in the form of carbon equivalent that we generate and release into the atmosphere. Let me give you an instance of cases of major industrial outputs and production sites that release so much carbon into the atmosphere. That carbon (carbon dioxide) or what you see as smoke that is normally released into the atmosphere, and it gets to affect the quantity of the carbon that is in the air. There is lots of it, a lot of industrial production, many transportation vehicles from cars, motorbikes and even the aero planes and many of those kinds of automobiles, burning dumping sites and the rest. All of these go directly into the atmosphere.

    One thing is; the global atmosphere is one. We do not have a different atmosphere for different countries or different regions of the world. We have just one atmosphere. The carbon that is generated in Germany or any other part of the world is actually going into the same atmosphere. So that is the measure cause of global warming and that warms up the globe. As we warmed up the globe it actually does not allow for the energy to escape into the atmosphere because it kind of blocks the release. If these happen the atmosphere gets warmer and that is what will keep the winds to blow differently. The water, the moisture, the pressure and almost everything is affected and that is what will keep changing.

    Do agricultural activities cause climate change?

    Some of the agricultural products also release some greenhouse gases. For example if you have very big rice fields, they do release the methyl gas. The use of chemical fertilizers also has a way to warm up the atmosphere. So some agricultural activities also release carbon into the atmosphere.

    Does climate change have an impact on agricultural production?

    Agricultural production is all about the incoming rain, is about the humidity, is about the dryness, and is about how much sun is received. All of these affect agricultural production in one way or the other. Sometimes farmers will be looking for warmth if it is too cold and the other way round. Likewise if it is raining too much, if it is not raining or if it is windy. All of these are affecting agricultural production and that is how you see climate change has an impact on all the agricultural production systems.

    Effects of climate change on agriculture

    How is climate change affecting animals?

    The same way it affects humans, so also it affects animals. Animals are a living system. When it rains, sometimes some animals don’t like rain and it affects them. Likewise some don’t like dryness and windy weather. All creatures have their own environment, so when the environment is affected the creatures are also affected.

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    Think about the food the animals eat, sometimes because of the climate in one particular region the animals will not find it conducive to survive. They would have to move away from the environment because of the climate condition, even if it is the tiniest animal like a fly.

    What is your take on the impact of climate change on the global population, particularly the third world?

    Most of us in the third world are most vulnerable to climate change because our rainfalls are always affected, the winds are affected, and the temperature is affected. Almost every element of climate is affected. The western world is always better prepared.

    When it is raining in developing countries, it may rain heavily and it causes a lot of flooding. That flooding affects our livelihood. When it is so dry it also affects our livelihood because we cannot produce the kind of foods we used to produce. Likewise when it is windy, the winds are so strong in developing countries and for which they affect even our housing.

    The problem is that we don’t actually contribute much to it. The western world does most of the contribution and of course we are taking effect the most and I think that is what is bad for us.

    What do you think should be done to mitigate the effects of climate change?

    Mitigation is always a big issue because for you to mitigate is either to change your way of production or even to stop the production. And you know certainly, you can’t get people to stop industrialization. So that is why instead of putting much pressure on mitigation let us get adapted to it. Getting adapted to climate change is the best. For instance, if the climate is this nature; then change the crop type, change the seeds, change your way of life. It is easier for you to change those things than to say you will mitigate climate change.

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    Therefore, getting adapted to climate change rather than mitigating it is the best solution. You can hardly mitigate it, but you can get adapted to it.

    Are there any specific climate adaptation strategies that you have observed, particularly in Northern Nigeria?

    In Northern Nigeria unfortunately we are not doing much. One; we are always aware that carbon has a way by which it can be taken off the atmosphere. If you plant and grow a lot of trees it will take away the carbon. So in Northern Nigeria we are supposed to be doing that. If we plant so many trees, the trees take away the carbon and they give us oxygen. I think we are aware of the interchange. But we don’t produce so much of it, we cut down trees instead. We burn the trees that are what we are taking as firewood.

    Kano State Government flagging off tree planting campaign in 2023. It aims to plants over 1 million trees in a year.

    However, there are people who sat and invented some stoves, modern stoves, and I think some people from Northern Nigeria have contributed to that. I know of some outfits and very young people who have contributed to this and they registered them even with the United Nations.

    So we have not been doing very well, yet there are areas where we feel we can do a lot more. But it is important for us to know that the global climate is changing and each and every one of us will have a way to contribute to either the adaptation or even the mitigation that we said is difficult.

    How do you see government intervention in addressing the climate issues?

    We have a good policy in the country regarding climate change. In fact let me tell you that in Nigeria, we have a department under the Federal Ministry of Environment that is specifically dealing with climate change issues. So the involvement of the government is very strong.

    However, if you look at what the government is specifically doing, I think that is where we may have some difficulties. We don’t do much, but we have the aspiration. The government always aspires to do a lot, but we are not doing as much as we seem to want to do.

    In the case of African countries, recently there was a meeting in Kenya where different African countries have attended including Nigeria. Also every year we do attend the COP meetings, and so on.

    President Bola Tinubu with Nigerian delegation at COP28 in Dubai last year

    But unfortunately I think we need to come back and begin to implement some of the policies. The government has done some good policies but the implementation of the policies is not actually what we desire.

    What are the prospects for renewable energy in Northern Nigeria?

    In Northern Nigeria I think we are happy we have so much of the solar influx. People are getting to say, okay, with the high cost of diesel, high cost of petrol, high cost of everything; solar is a big alternative. And as you can see it is available and people are using it.

    Also, people are thinking of using the wind. Unfortunately the winds are not as strong as we want to use them all the time. So there are some of the key inventions that the people are using, especially, for example, like the stove I mentioned to you. People are inventing some stoves that are modern and people are using them.

    In the last two years we can see many families are getting to use the gas (the cooking gas). It is a very good alternative and people are using it. So we are at least leaving out the firewood. Trees are now almost saved as people are using other alternatives. I am happy to say that with time, possibly many of us will get the consciousness that we desire.

    But the gas is becoming no longer affordable.

    That is the crisis I always talk about when it comes to the implementation of policies. You know the government has done policies and they are saying we are on for climate change adaptation strategies. But when we come to real practice we will realize that those policies are actually not properly implemented. Government will say don’t cut down trees, but they are making petroleum resources very expensive, gas very expensive, even the cooking gas very expensive, diesel and all of the other alternatives are expensive.

    It will be better if the Nigerian government will get to subsidize, especially some of these materials that we need. Government should subsidize solar, cooking gas, and diesel. Government should do so many things in a way that it will say we are going to implement these policies properly.

    Solar panels

    There was a time I know, over 10 to 15 years ago, when NNPC had the plan to actually give out some of these initial investments; they wanted to give people in the villages. I had to advise them that people in the villages do not use that, bring the intervention to the city. I am happy that people are adapting it by themselves only that, like you have observed, they are quite very expensive. They are always going even beyond the affordability of a common man.

    Agro Climate News



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