Hon. Samuel Ifeanyi Onuigbo is chairman, Residence of Representatives Committee on Weather Alter. He spoke to LEO SOBECHI on problems relating to flooding, the Weather Change Invoice and actions to solve gray parts hindering president’s assent.
As chairman, Local climate Parliament and President, Globe Nigeria, you play a crucial position in addressing environmental concerns from the legislative standpoint. How did you experience about difficulties of flooding in the state?
Effectively, flooding has turn out to be a recurrent issue in the place around the earlier decade. If you recall, in 2012, we had huge flooding throughout the region. It was described that 363 people today died and about 2.1 million individuals have been displaced in that flood, in accordance to estimates by the National Emergency Administration Agency (NEMA).
Damages and losses from that flood that affected 39 states of the federation had been believed at N2.6 trillion. In 2014, hefty rains in Oyo State led to substantial flood and 15 persons dropped their life within a single 7 days. These are big losses to the nation, in conditions of lives and resources. So, yet again, the latest flooding in Lagos is not a new matter. Having said that, what is alarming is our failure to get ideal actions to forestall it.
1 detail is very clear the raise in flooding is a outcome of local weather adjust. Experts have been warning about this for decades, and at the moment, we can no extended pretend that we are not emotion the devastating impacts of weather improve all all over us. Like I usually say, we have long gone past the level of thinking that climate transform is firing warning pictures, to a place where by we are residing with the total impacts of it.
From flooding, coastal and gully erosions, warmth waves and the attendant wellbeing implications, to drought and desertification in the North, which has led to protection challenges these types of as the farmers-herders clashes because of to forced migration, the impacts of climate alter are now massively felt by us.
You have to take note that the floods are not nonetheless above for the year. The Minister of Water Means, Suleiman Adamu, has by now warned that communities in 28 states of the state will witness flooding this year. So, we have to brace up ourselves for this.
But, most importantly, we ought to commence to make programs to mitigate the impacts of climate adjust, which have led to this recurrent concern of flooding.
Apart from knee-jerk responses, do you feel Nigeria is accomplishing adequate to grapple with the issues of climate adjust?
There are couple of nations in the world that a single can say are accomplishing close to plenty of to grapple with the troubles of local weather improve. Climate adjust is dynamic, and there are evolving mechanisms for addressing it.
Nigeria has very first shown dedication when on September 22, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari, signed the Paris Settlement on climate adjust. The president followed this up by signing the Doha Modification to the Kyoto Protocol on Oct 2, 2020.
Yet again, remember that all through the UN (United Nations) Local weather Summit in New York, on September 24, 2019, President Buhari introduced Nigeria’s substantial reforestation strategy that will see the country plant 25 million trees that will aid in carbon sequestration. All of these are in addition to the government’s determination to renewable strength, support for the Terrific Green Wall Initiative, and quite a few extra. All of these are endeavours by the nation to grapple with the problems of climate modify.
Our major challenge, having said that, is that we do not have a legal framework that supports these endeavours, and makes certain that these attempts are not completed in silos.
Each individual place really serious on tackling local weather adjust need to have a framework that presents lawful aid and guides it. Recently, the European Union’s new legislation on local climate alter aims for a 55 for each cent reduction in Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emission by 2030, with a target of internet zero emission by 2050.
Nigeria requirements these types of binding regulations and in the Climate Adjust Monthly bill, we have proposed 2050 – 2070 for the attainment of a internet-zero GHG emission in Nigeria. Legal guidelines like this help give coordination and back again endeavours towards local weather modify.
We remember that efforts at making certain that Nigeria receives a local weather alter regulation have achieved many setbacks. Is there any hope that it will get improved interest this time around?
I agree that the endeavours to be certain that Nigeria receives a local climate modify law have met a number of setbacks. In point, we have been trying to get one due to the fact the 6th Assembly. I feel, this time all around, it will be signed into regulation.
As you need to know, the Invoice has been passed by the House and gone via the first looking at at the Senate. By the time we appear again from recess, it will obtain concurrence from the Senate and transmitted to President Buhari for assent. This time close to, I am optimistic we will get assent from the president.
So, the Local weather Transform Invoice is to a significant extent, an work by the legislature at providing president’s commitment to local weather adjust authorized backing. We’re conscious of the locations of disagreement that led to the president denying assent to the Bill throughout the 8th Assembly. We adopted a collaborative and coordinated approach, championed by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, alongside the Lawyer General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, with guidance from the Ministry of Surroundings, and other non-governmental stakeholders, to overview this Invoice, seemed at regions of competition, although producing it extra robust and futuristic.
How accurate is it that African international locations are residing in denial about local climate change?
I feel folks say this, because even although Africa is 1 of the continents most vulnerable to local climate transform impacts, only Kenya has a local weather alter legislation.
Uganda and Nigeria are most possible to join Kenya. It is not completely genuine that Africa is in denial about local weather transform. The situation is, the normal African focuses extra on hunger, wellness, and poverty without the need of paying out awareness to how local climate change could have performed a position.
Nonetheless, African Governments have revealed a whole lot of dedication in the direction of preventing climate improve. In simple fact, the conception and start of the Terrific Inexperienced Wall Initiative by the African Union is a huge assertion of motivation in the direction of local climate improve mitigation.
Also, the African Enhancement Bank (AfDB) has constantly demonstrated confirmed motivation in preventing climate adjust via the deployment of money assets and human capital enhancement. But, a great deal far more wants to be carried out, and the to start with sensible stage is for all African nations around the world to have local climate improve legal guidelines that obviously established their carbon emissions reduction targets and define how these targets can be satisfied in just specified timelines.
Subsequent the election of President Joe Biden, U.S. rejoined the Paris Settlement on weather modify, how will this influence on the discussion and collective action?
In each individual worldwide discussion, it is essential that leadership is presented. Though not downgrading the efforts of other intercontinental governments, just one must concur that the pulling out of the U.S. Governing administration from the Paris Settlement on Climate Transform- an settlement it helped put in location- in the course of previous President Donald Trump’s tenure, developed a management vacuum.
With the election of President Joe Biden, and the U.S. Government’s return, there has been an uptick in attempts to deal with challenges of local weather adjust, globally. Keep in mind, President Biden, shortly just after remaining sworn in, appointed John Kerry as the initial United States Exclusive Presidential Envoy for Weather. This sent a information across to the planet that the U.S. is ready to display leadership.
One expects that with this return to the Paris Arrangement on Climate Transform, the country will guide from the front by location and implementing aggressive decarbonization procedures and urging the rest of the earth to observe accommodate. Remember, also, that local weather change impacts producing international locations more, even though we do not emit considerably.
It is predicted that the return of the U.S. will appear with their substantial financial contribution that will aid other international locations embark on the decarbonization journey by means of the progress of eco-friendly and sustainable suggests of livelihood.
What will Nigeria deliver to the table in the course of this year’s 26th UN Weather Improve Convention of the Events (COP26)?
As common, we will take part fully and share our suggestions, achievements stories, and problems with many others. It is my perception that by then, we would have submitted our next Nationally Established Contributions (NDCs), which was thanks final 12 months. Most importantly, we hope to have a weather change regulation by the time we go for COP26.
Your passionate pursuit for problems of weather transform leaves the effect that you have individual stories to tell?
We have all skilled and carry on to practical experience the impacts of climate improve. Like I mentioned before, the impacts of local climate modify are all all around us. Communicate about the floods skilled in Nigeria, and in point, some pieces of Europe just lately the gully and coastal erosions that have bedeviled us in the South the drought and desertification in the North and even the malignant protection issue of banditry, farmers-herders’ clashes, among the other people.
On a particular degree, I arrive from Obuohia Obi-Ibere in Ikwuano Community Government Spot of Abia State. In my village, there are more than six gully erosion internet sites threatening to swallow up the complete village. These are impacts of weather adjust and like I claimed, we have all knowledgeable them. So, in a way, we all have individual activities.
What methods or procedures should Nigeria adopt to battle the consequences of climate modify?
When it will come to climate change, there are two points included, mitigation and adaptation. We have to initially mitigate by making sure that we do not go outside of the place we are now, usually it will be catastrophic.
A properly-articulated Nationwide Climate Adjust Motion System as proposed by the Bill, will deliver suggestions on how this can be completed. Then, what ever we can’t improve, we have to come across a way to adapt to. For occasion, one of the adaptation options for Nigeria is to start off to pay out interest to renewable electrical power, local weather-smart agricultural methods, looking for option implies of electrical power for those people who depend on gasoline wood electrical power.