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ENVIRONMENT AND IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

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ENVIRONMENT AND IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE Powered By Docstoc
					ENVIRONMENT AND IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
FACILITATIVE PAPER PRESENTED BY

JARE ADEJUWON, Ph. D, MBA
SPECIAL CLIMATE CHANGE UNIT FEDERAL MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT OLD FEPA BUILDING, AIRPORT ROAD GARKI, ABUJA, FCT
AT THE

LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT (LEAD) TRAINING PROGRAMME, YABA, LAGOS

7 JUNE 2007

From experience, individuals making up LEAD Cohorts are drawn from all sectors or rather from various professions. While some of us here could be familiar with the issue of environment and climate change, some of us may not. Rather than given a lecture or make presentation in form of reading a paper, I intend to make the discussion interactive. And I hope, given the time at our disposal, we will not only be able to cover some ground but our understanding of the issues at stake would have been enhanced. First, let us attempt to define some technical terms/words that will suffice in our discourse today. And I have tried to select the following terms: Environment General Definition  the totality of surrounding conditions; "he longed for the comfortable environment of his living room"  the area in which something exists or lives; "the country--the flat agricultural surround" Sci-Tech Encyclopaedia Definition  The circumstances or conditions that surround one; surroundings.  The totality of circumstances surrounding an organism or group of organisms, especially: a. The combination of external physical conditions that affect and influence the growth, development, and survival of organisms: “We shall never understand the natural environment until we see it as a living organism”. b. The complex of social and cultural conditions affecting the nature of an individual or community Ecology Ecology, or ecological science, is the study of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment. The environment of an organism includes both the physical properties, which can be described as the sum of local abiotic factors like climate and geology, as well as the other organisms that share its habitat Biotic and Abiotic Factors  Biotic factors include influences by members of the same and other species on the development and survival of the individual.

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 Primary abiotic factors are Climate (light, temperature, water, atmospheric gases, and ionizing radiation,) influencing the form and function of the individual and Geology.

Bionomic  The science of the relationships between organisms and their environments. Also called bionomics. Human Ecology  The science concerned with studying the relationships between human groups and their physical and social environments is called human ecology. o The study of the detrimental effects of modern civilization on the environment, with a view toward prevention or reversal through conservation is also called human ecology.

We can also talk of Social Environment:  The social environment or social context is a group of identical or similar social positions and social roles. Social environment of an individual is the culture that he or she was educated and/or lives in, and the people and institutions with whom the person interacts. For example, there are artistic environments (artists in a given area), educational environments (members of a university), political environments (members of a political party), social parties like (O wanbe) etc. ...

Ecological Niche For each environmental factor, an organism has a tolerance range, in which it is able to survive. The intercept of these ranges constitutes the ecological niche of the organism. Different individuals or species have different tolerance ranges for particular environmental factors— this variation represents the adaptation of the organism to its environment. The ability of an organism to modify its tolerance of certain environmental factors in response to a change in them represents the plasticity of that organism. Alterations in environmental tolerance are termed acclimation. Exposure to environmental conditions at the limit of an individual's tolerance range represents environmental stress.

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Let us attempt to define some terms as they relate to climate change. In defining the terms, we will adopt the Climate Change Convention definitions Climate System ‗Means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions‘ Climate Change ‗Means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods‘ Impacts/Effects of Climate Change: This can be positive or adverse. Positive Effects of Climate Change Positive effects of climate change is a situation where the changes in the climate alter the environment positively e.g. enhanced rainfall leading to extension of agricultural seasons, enhanced temperature in the temperate region leading to increase in crop productivity. Adverse effects of climate change ‗Means changes in the physical environment or biota resulting from climate change which have significant deleterious effects on the composition, resilience or productivity of natural and managed ecosystems or on the operation of socio-economic systems or human health and welfare‘ Emissions ‗Means the release of greenhouse gases and/or their precursors into the atmosphere over a specified area and period of time‘ Greenhouse gases (GHGs) ‗Means those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and re-emit infrared radiation‘ Vulnerability to the Impacts of Climate Change

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The degree to which a system unit is susceptible to harm due to exposure to a perturbation or stress due to climate change and the ability (or lack thereof) of the exposure unit to cope, recover, or fundamentally adapt (become a new system or become extinct) to climate change (Kasperson et al., 2000.) It can also be considered as the underlying exposure to damaging shocks, perturbations or stresses, rather than the probability or projected incidence of those shocks themselves (APF 2005).

Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change  Changing existing policies and practices and adopting new policies and practices so as to secure Millennium Development Goals in the face of climate change and its associated impacts (UNDP unpublished, 2006).

Adaptive capacity  The property of a system to adjust its characteristics or behavior in order to expand its coping range under existing climate variability or future change conditions. The expression of adaptive capacity as actions that lead to adaptation can serve to enhance a system's coping capacity and increase its coping range. Adaptive capacity represents the set of resources available for adaptation as well as the ability of the system to use these resources effectively in the pursuit of adaptation (APF 2005).

Risk  The result of the interaction of physically defined hazards with the properties of the exposed systems - i.e. their sensitivity or social vulnerability. Risk can also be considered as the combination of an event, its likelihood, and its consequences i.e. risk equals the probability of climate hazard multiplied by a given system's vulnerability (APF 2005)

Evolution of Global Warming Now that we are familiar with some concepts, let us examine the relationships among the components of environment especially man and the other components within an ecological system and with particular reference to climate. In demonstrating the relationship, let us simulate a general environment with a river basin. When we talk of a river basin, we are talking of all the components/natural resources that make up the basin e.g the river, the vegetation, the soil, the rock, the animals, the climate and the man. Man interacts in various ways and in various complex dimensions. For example,

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man depends on the other components of the environment. The extent of interaction would however depend on so many factors particularly the man‘s numbers (population) and needs. In this regard, three basic needs suffice: the food, water and the shelter. These needs were limited in the past. This was also due to the limited number of human beings on the earth surface. As population increases, there was correspondence increase in human needs for food, water and shelter. The industrial revolution which began in the middle of 19th century places a very huge demand on natural resources. Many manufacturing industries came into existence making use of available natural resources to produce the man‘s needs. This was when the tilt in the balanced ecological system started. Forests were felled to give way for more agricultural products serving directly as food in some instances, and in others, indirectly as raw materials for the growing industries. The soil stability was disrupted while several rivers were dammed to supply both domestic and industrial and irrigation water needs. The most significant singular feature of the industrial revolution is the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, this was not noticeable until towards the end of century when scientists discovered that the earth has started warming up consequent upon the noticeable increase in the average global temperature. The warming, the scientists observed gave rise to the changes in the global atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns with the consequent changes in climate. One question that a layman may ask is ‗What has emissions of ordinary gases have to do change in climate?‘ You will recall in our earlier discussion that radiation is one of the components of any ecological or environmental system. Its major source, the sun provides energy that drives other components of the system. It emits radiation into the earth surface in form direct and indirect radiation. When the atmosphere is cool, emission of outgoing/infrared radiation takes place which is expected to be disappearing into the atmosphere. Naturally, due to opaqueness of the atmosphere to the infrared radiation, most of it turns out to heat the lower atmosphere. However, recent increased emissions of GHGs have also increased the opaqueness of the atmosphere thereby capping most of the heat that would have been otherwise lost to space. Besides, the increased access of powerful radiation on to the earth surface due to hole in the ozone layer of the atmosphere has led to increase in amount of heat on the earth surface. Invariably, the increase in radiation on the earth surface and its inability to escape into the outer atmosphere has led to increased in the average temperature on the earth surface and the phenomenon of global warming. The effects of global warming created changes in climate of different localities over the earth surface to give rise to the present global climate change.

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Vulnerability to the Impacts of Climate Change Now, let us move to another level in our discussion by examining the underlining reasons for an environment to be impacted by change we have tried to prove that exist in the present climate. Before an environment can be impacted, it must be vulnerable. And remember, we have earlier defined vulnerability in relation to changes in the climate. To remind us: vulnerability of a system is  the degree to which a system unit is susceptible to harm due to exposure to a perturbation or stress due to climate change and the ability (or lack thereof) of the exposure unit to cope, recover, or fundamentally adapt (become a new system or become extinct) to climate change (Kasperson et al., 2000.) It can also be considered as the underlying exposure to damaging shocks, perturbations or stresses, rather than the probability or projected incidence of those shocks themselves (APF 2005).

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Meanwhile, we have to ask ourselves, which sector/activity is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change? Virtually, all activities in various sectors could be affected by climate change. UNDP has documented several sectors which are observed to have been impacted by climate change. They are using the information as guide in preparing adaptation-related projects that address climate change impacts on the identified sectors. The maps below present an overview of the linkage between climate change and some environmental components and human activities

Ecosystem Resilience Biodiversity Land Degradation International Waters

Climate-Resilient Development Agriculture/Food Water Resources Health

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Disaster Risk Management

Coastal Zones

The map below illustrating the regions where impacts on biodiversity due to climate change are a pressing issue; Biodiversity

The above map on climate impacts on biodiversity, based on a study by the University of Arizona, shows regions that have experienced droughts lasting a decade or longer (labelled "DD") as well as regions with abrupt shifts in hurricane frequency (labelled "HT"). The expected impacts on biodiversity due to climate change (including variability) will vary from region to region. The frequency, intensity, extent and locations of climate-induced disturbances will determine the rate at which existing ecosystems are affected.

Projected impacts on biodiversity due to climate change, extreme climatic events and climate variability include changes in:
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the timing of reproduction in animals and plants; the length of the growing season;

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species distribution and population sizes, including possibility of extinction – especially species with limited climatic ranges and restricted habitat requirements; frequency of pest and disease outbreaks;

species migration – movement of species poleward or upward in elevation from their current location. Land Degradation

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The above figure, produced by IIASA, shows the distribution of expected changes in the growing period in 2080 from a specific climate scenario. Regions shaded in green have longer growing period compared to yellow and brown areas. Regions circled in red represent areas with a significant climate change-induced change in growing season length that is likely to affect land degradation rates. Overview Land degradation is a human-induced or natural process which negatively affects the productivity of land within an ecosystem. The direct causes of land degradation are geographically specific. Climate change, including changes in short-term variation, as well as long-term gradual changes in temperature and precipitation, is expected to be an additional stress on rates of land degradation. Climate change-induced land degradation is expected through:
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changes in the length of days and/or seasons; recurrence of droughts, floods and other extreme climatic events; changes in temperature and precipitation which in turn reduces vegetation cover, water resource availability and soil quality; changes in land-use practices such as conversion of lands, pollution, depletion of soil nutrients.

(Source: Eswaran et al, 2004). Research suggests that climate change-induced land degradation will vary geographically. The underlying adaptive capacity of both the ecosystem and communities will determine the extent and direction of impacts. Regions that are already constrained by issues such as land quality, poverty, technology constraints and other socio-economic constraints are likely to be more adversely affected. Concern is particularly focused on regions where increased rates of land degradation due to climate change are likely to decrease livelihood opportunities and worsen rural poverty. In Least Developed Countries, for example, food security will be compromised, making progress towards the Millennium Development Goals unsustainable.

International Waters The map below illustrates regions where impacts on international waters due to climate change are a pressing issue.

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The above map shows the effects of 14-year cumulative sea surface temperature anomalies and areas of coral bleaching (denoted by red circles). The yellow coloured areas indicate temperatures 1°C above the mean and orange regions indicate anomalies 2°C above the long-term average. Source: Harvard University (2005) Climate Futures Report Overview Projected impacts on transboundary water resources due to climate change and climate variability include:
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hydrologic changes, including changes in the timing of streamflow that result in downstream effects; reduction in the quality and availability of water supplies; potential for increased competition of water resources in transboundary basins; acceleration of the retreat and loss of glaciers; spread of invasive species and bleeching of coral reefs; changes in fisheries habitats; intensified shoreline changes, such as coastal erosion.

Adaptation-related projects in the international waters focal area should focus on maintaining or strengthening the resilience of species and/or ecosystems threatened by climate change. Projects should reflect dynamic, long-term response measures. Agriculture/Food Security The figure below is illustrating the distribution of climate change impacts on cereal yields.

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The figure above, based on recent research, shows potential changes (%) in national cereal yields for the 2020s and 2050s (compared with 1990) under a specific climate scenario. The two figures on the left reflect the inclusion of CO2 effects, the figures on the right do not take into account CO2 effects. Regions in dark brown are predicted to realise percentage reductions in crop yields while lighter shades depict lower reductions. Regions in green are predicted to experience an increase in yields. In an effort to address the incorporation of actual adaptations to climate (a shortcoming of numerous crop modelling exercises), there is a growing literature on the economic impacts of climate change on the agriculture sector. Although economic research in developing countries is still in its infancy, this literature should be used as a complementary resource when assessing vulnerability and adaptive capacities. Overview The vulnerability of the agriculture sector to both climate change and variability is well established in the literature. The consensus is that changes in temperature and precipitation will result in:
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changes in land and water regimes that affect agricultural productivity; changes in crop yields; especially vulnerable tropical regions; rural poverty increased as livelihoods are threatened.

Although estimates suggest global food production to be robust, significant regional disparities are likely. Poorer developing countries are likely to be especially affected.

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Adaptation projects should focus on reducing vulnerability and/or increasing adaptive capacity of communities and/or ecosystems to climate change (including variability). Projects are expected to encompass a suite of adaptation measures including piloting measures, institutional strengthening and/or capacity building. Projects should include at least two of the above three elements. Water Resources Illustrated in the map below are the regions where impacts on water resources due to climate change are a pressing issue

The above map, produced by the World Resources Institute and others, indicates regions that are currently under water stress. Regions in red are currently worst affected. Climate change is expected to increase the pressures on dwindling freshwater supplies in many regions of the world that are already under severe water stress (Check New Scientist 2004). Overview Expected impacts of climate change on water resources include:
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higher precipitation in some regions and reduction in others; increased evaporation; changes in runoff and available surface flow, causing changes in the infiltration rates of water in soils; drier regions will be more sensitive to changes in hydrological regimes; rising sea level, which can adversely affect freshwater supplies; additional stress on scarce water supplies;

Adaptation-related projects on water resources could focus on short and long-term response strategies. This includes regulations and technologies for directly controlling land and water use, the implementation of hard and soft measures, and improvements in water-management operations and

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institutions. Other adaptation measures could include measures to maintain flood plains, protect waterside vegetation, restore river channels, and reduce water pollution. Health A map illustrating the regions where climate change impacts on the health sector are a pressing issue is shown below:

The map above, based on findings by the World Health Organization, highlights expected impacts, measured in terms of millions of deaths, from climate change-related impacts on health. Tropical regions, especially in Africa and Asia, are acutely vulnerable. Overview Research by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests current climate variability impacts can be attributed to about five million extra cases of severe illness a year and more than 150,000 additional deaths. Expectations are that by 2030, the number of climate-related diseases would lead to an increase in:
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heat-related deaths caused by heart failure; respiratory disorders; the spread of infectious diseases; malnutrition from crop failures.

Countries with coastlines along the Indian and Pacific Oceans and subSaharan Africa are expected to suffer a disproportionate share of the extra health burden from climate change.

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Adaptation projects should focus on reducing vulnerability and/or increasing adaptive capacity of communities to health impacts from climate change (including variability). To view an overview of climate change impacts on human health, see the links section below. Projects are expected to encompass a suite of adaptation measures including piloting measures, institutional strengthening and/or capacity building. Projects should include at least two of the above three elements.

Disaster Risk Reduction A map indicating the distribution of various disaster risks due to climate change is presented below:

The map above indicates regions with a high risk of mortality from a range of climate- induced impacts. For large areas of Africa, drought and hydrorelated impacts appear as the primary risk to mortality. In many parts of India, China and Brazil, hydro impacts account for the higher mortalitiy risk. For additional information, please refer to Dilley et al, 2005. Overview Climate change impacts are expected at various geographical scales, locations and sectors. Climate change has implications for disaster risk management by changing the magnitude and frequency of climatic extremes and also modulating environmental and socioeconomic conditions, which influence the vulnerability to natural hazards. Adopting risk management approaches that address current vulnerabilities to natural hazards, but also reflect changes in environmental conditions over time, is necessary.

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Potential adaptation measures include, among others, improved warning and preparedness systems, climate-sensitive land-use planning and urban infrastructure, and more resilient water supply systems. The development of public-private partnerships to incorporate risk management into project planning and implementation can help reduce the potential impacts of climate variability and change. Coastal Zones Below is a figure illustrating the distribution of impacts on coastal zones:

The figure above, based on research by Dilley et al (2005), shows cyclone mortality risks. Coastal regions in red face the highest risk of significant impacts, while coastal areas in blue have the lowest hazard risk. Overview Coastal erosion, already a problem due to maladaptive practices in many regions, is likely to be exacerbated by climate change (specifically by increase in sea level and frequency of storm surges). Expected impacts include:
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inundation of coastal regions and other lowlands; shoreline erosion and impacts on coastal infrastructure; threatened livelihoods in agriculture, tourism, infrastructure and other key sectors.

Not all regions will be similarly affected - some regions will be more vulnerable than others. Adaptation projects should focus on reducing vulnerability and/or increasing adaptive capacity of communities and/or ecosystems to climate change (including variability) in coastal zones. Projects are expected to encompass a

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suite of adaptation measures including piloting measures, institutional strengthening and/or capacity building. Projects should include at least two of the above three elements. Africa’s Vulnerability to the impacts of Climate Change The continent of Africa is characterised by several climatic regimes and ecological zones ranging from Mediterranean in the north through the desert, the tropics in the central to the temperate in the southern part of the continent. Apart from the fact that majority of the zones are marginally dry and characterized by widespread occurrences of severe drought during the past three decades, others are quite sensitive to adverse climate variabilities, which in the recent pasts, have culminated into the phenomenon of climate change. African population is rapidly growing at the rate of 2.5 per cent of which 4 per cent lives in coastal cities. Report indicates that 40 per cent of the population of West Africa lives in coastal cities and about 50 million people inhabit the 500 km of coastline between Accra and the Niger delta. Apart from the fact that the slightest rise in the sea level can have catastrophic impacts on the coastal habitats, poverty and population pressure make the continent more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Some of the impacts are discussed in the next section. Although Africa, of all major world regions, has contributed the least to potential climate change because of its low per capital energy consumption and hence low greenhouse gas emissions, it is the most vulnerable continent to the impacts of climate change given the physical characteristics enumerated above. The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented during the meeting of the Subsidiary Body to the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol held in Bonn, Germany in May this year has reconfirmed Africa‘s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Let us briefly discuss the pictorial view of the African vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

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Although adaptation options, including traditional coping strategies, theoretically are available, in practice the human, infrastructural, and economic response capacity to effect timely response actions may well be beyond the economic means of some countries. In view of the continent vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change, adapting to the impacts in various sectors seems to be of great challenge to Africa. Nigeria Vulnerability to the impacts of Climate change It is a two-way vulnerability for us in Nigeria. Nigeria is vulnerable first to the adverse impacts of climate change some of which have been mentioned in my previous remarks. More importantly, Nigeria is vulnerable to the impacts of response measures to mitigate climate change as an oil producing and exporting country. Response measures are measures being taken by the developed country Parties to the Convention and the Protocol in their various countries to reduce GHG emissions. Nigeria, like other fellow OPEC countries,

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is vulnerable to impact of response measures to mitigate climate change due to its reliance on oil production and exportation. The Climate of the country strides from a very wet coastal area with annual rainfall greater than 3500m to the Sahel region in the north-western and north-eastern parts with annual rainfall less than 600mm. The inter-annual variability of rainfall, particularly in the northern parts is large, often result in climate hazards, especially floods and droughts with their devastating effects on food production and associated calamities and sufferings. More often than not, certain parts of Nigeria receive less than 75 percent of their annual rainfall and this is particularly worrisome in the north. By virtue of Nigeria‘s location primarily within the lowland humid tropics, the country is generally characterized by a high temperature regime almost throughout the year. In the far south, mean maximum temperature is between 30oC and 32oC while in the north it is between 36oC and 38oC Rainfall is by far the most important element of climate in Nigeria. From a water balance perspective, the country experiences large spatial and temporal variations in rainfall, and less variation in evaporation and evapotranspiration. Consequently, precipitation becomes a very important index for assessing agricultural and water resources potential in the country. In general, most of the coastal areas which receive rainfall throughout the year have more water than required, and often these areas are drained by numerous rivers and creeks. On the other hand, water needs generally exceed water supplies from rainfall for many months of the year in the areas to the north. The quality of domestic water supply in these regions is generally poor Nigeria has a population of about 140 million spread over an area of 923,000 square kilometers impacting on the physical environment through their various activities. This coupled with other characteristics enumerated above, Nigeria will no doubt be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Climate change will lead to a shift in the boundaries of major ecological zones, alteration in animal and plant composition, greater soil erosion and flooding in areas of higher rainfall, heightened drought and desertification in the northern regions and salt water intrusion along the coastal belt. Adaptation at Different Levels Linkages between adaptation and sustainable development can be made at several different levels:
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Local level: The most severely impacted communities in developing countries will be those communities living in regions most exposed to climatic impacts (e.g., flood- and drought-prone areas). Sectoral level: The most adversely impacted sectors are likely to include agriculture, water resource management, coastal zone

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management and disaster (e.g., floods, cyclones, droughts) management. National level: Within and across sectors, an important feature of national policy-making will be the need to strengthen existing policies that enhance a country‘s ability to respond to its vulnerabilities to climate change, while seeking to cease policies and actions that may lead to ―maladaptation‖ to climate change. Regional and sub-regional level: Much of the climate change impact will be felt acutely at the regional and sub-regional level in West, Eastern and Southern Africa and South Asia. In these areas, regional and sub-regional planning and co-ordinated actions may be necessary.

Climate Change and the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) UNDP's adaptation portfolio focuses on securing the Millennium Development Goals in the face of climate change risks and its associated impacts. MDGs Climate Risks

Changes in natural systems and infrastructure will: Goal 1: Eradicate  Reduce the livelihood assets of poor people extreme hunger and  Alter the path and rate of national economic growth poverty  Undermine regional food security Climate change could lead to a reduction in the ability of children to participate in full-time education by causing: Achieve  Destruction of infrastructure (such as schools) primary  Loss of livelihood assets (increasing the need for children to __engage in income-earning activities)  The displacement and migration of families

Goal 2: universal education

Depletion of natural resources, reduced agricultural productivity and increased climate-related disasters could: Goal 3: Promote gender  Place additional burdens on women's health equality  Limit women's time to participate in decision-making and __income-generating activities  Reduce the livelihood assets of women Increased child mortality, reduced maternal health and the undermining of the nutritional health needed by individuals to combat HIV/AIDS are expected to occur as a result of climate change-induced:  Extreme weather events  Increase in prevalence of certain vector-borne and waterborne __diseases  Heat-related mortality

Goals 4, 5, and 6: Reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

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 Declining food security  Decreased availability of potable water Goal 7: environmental sustainability Climate change will have a direct impact on environmental Ensure sustainability because it:  Causes fundamental alterations in ecosystem relationships  Changes the quality and quantity of natural resources  Reduces ecosystem productivity

Having said all these, what I am expecting as your response is to ask the question ‗What is being done to mitigate Climate Change given the deleterious effects/impacts of the phenomenon?‘ Remember the general saying that once the cause of a problem is identified, one quick way of solving the problem is by removing the cause. This perhaps applies only in mechanical cases by not in environmental cases. The long period of gestation of environmental problems before they are manifested equally warrants even longer period to return to normalcy. In particular, it requires much longer period for the problem of global warming to be reversed, especially if the ‗business is as usual‘. This is because of the longer residence of some of the gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, NO2 etc) in the atmosphere. Yet efforts are going various levels to mitigate climate change. It was not dawn on the governments of the world (including Nigeria) that all aspects of human development are affected by the twin concepts of environment and climate change until 1992. In 1972 the United Nations organized an Environment Summit in Stockholm. The event was graced by diplomats and some top government officials. Not a single head of state or government was in attendance. Twenty years later, in 1992, a similar meeting was organized, this time in Rio de Janeiro, and over 100 heads of state and government were attracted to the conference. The message was clear. The environment had become an important issue in international political discourse. The Rio Summit came up with Agenda 21. Since Rio, the twin concepts of the environment and climate change have become household names across the world. In 2002, The Johannesburg Summit presented a forum for assessing the implementation of Agenda 21, ten years after the global adoption. The issue of climate change takes prominence in the environmental as well political discourse since the world has come to realize that sustainable development will be a mirage in the advent of climate change. Adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol represent a major international effort to mitigate climate change. Being a Party to the Convention and the Protocol, Nigeria has also embarked on the implementation of the two treaties at national level. Notwithstanding, there are still some challenges to make implementation of climate change activities a reality.

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