The University, recently played host to members of the Nigerian Meteorological Society (NMetS), during the International Conference and 30th Annual General Meeting of the group themed, “Climate Variability and Change: Impact, Science, Innovation and Policy”.
Welcoming participants, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, described climate change as the most important environmental challenge confronting humanity in the 21st century. According to him, “Climate change and its resultant environmental challenges of flooding, soil erosion, coastal surges, drought, desertification, pollution, wild fire, heat waves and others, constitute threats to all aspects of life at the local, regional and global levels. The impact of climate change and variability constitute security challenge, especially, in the areas of agriculture and food security, water resources, biodiversity, social economic activities and human security.”
The Vice-Chancellor noted that the consequences of climate change do not recognise political boundary, which informed the concerted efforts at solving the issue at local, national, regional and global levels. He appreciated the global efforts that had been geared towards solving the issue of climate change at different levels and those also channeled towards assisting developing countries to adapt and mitigate the consequences of climate change. He described the theme for the conference as appropriate and timely, and called on the organisers to come up with a communiqué that would inform policy makers in Nigeria on the appropriate strategies of mitigating the consequences of climate change.
In his keynote address, Professor Emmanuel Oladipo of the Department of Geography, University of Lagos, submitted that climate change posed a serious threat to the nation’s sustainable development drive and “unless significant response strategy was put in place and implemented at both global and national levels, it may become a substantive shock to Nigeria’s effort to reduce pervasive poverty, create jobs, enhance people’s access to sustainable energy and improve the overall socio-economic well-being of its citizenry, as enunciated in the objectives of the country’s Vision 20:2020.”
Also, Professor Oladipo advised that Nigeria should put in place, a well-defined climate change response framework that would incorporate critical elements of mitigation, adaptation and technology transfer, which, according to him, should be backed up by adequate financial and capacity building support. He called on the country to take advantage of the current investment opportunities in green technologies to mitigate and adapt enacting policies such as stopping subsidies to intensive farming; stopping deforestation, promoting sustainable logging; improving health services to address the health risks of climate change, provision of effective social safety nets for those affected by climate-related disasters and promoting public-private partnerships in environmental management for a conducive environment for businesses and financial incentives.
The Don opined that in the pursuit of green growth and a resource-saving economy, Nigeria needs to establish a strategy, whose implementation should establish sound legislation, policies, regulation and standardisation framework for green growth and green jobs for the youths; speed up optimisation of the industrial structure, including improvements of energy consumption and use of high quality and alternative energy that promotes the improvement of technological processes and scientific research for energy efficiency and recycling technologies.
Other options include improving energy consumption management, developing appropriate and further improve existing incentive policies and laws to attract investment, developing new tools and mechanism, such as energy efficiency labeling and energy and water conservation product certification to guide and provide sustainable consumption choices and above all, plan for the future, without fossil fuel in a changing climate and degraded environment.
He further stated that the key element of the green growth strategy is the greening of the energy sector, which provides a unique combination of benefits, including enhanced energy security, reduced carbon-dioxide emissions and lower energy costs. Adding that, if focus was placed on renewable energy use, the benefits would include, among others, little or no global warming emissions, improved public health and environmental quality, vast and inexhaustible energy supply, jobs and other economic benefits, stable energy prices and a more reliable and resilient energy system.
The President of NMetS, Professor Clement Akoshile, had stated that meteorological forecasts could have proved to mitigate significantly, the factors of extreme weathers being experienced in different parts of the world. He said that NMetS international conference holds once a year, where research and technical findings are reported and discussed. He added that contributions from the conference had helped in no small way to improve the quality and safety of life in Nigeria, and he also said that the society had worked hand-in-hand with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), especially in the area of weather forecasting.
Professor Jonathan Bello from the Department of Water Resources Management and Agrometeorology in the College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM), thanked all participants that had come from all part of the country and appreciated FUNAAB’s Management and its sister institution, the Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta, for the support towards the successful hosting of the conference.