.As governor unveils 5 yr Climate Action Plan

. 215m urban poor in 495 developing cities vulnerable to extreme heat-studie

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babjide Sanwo-Olu and environmental experts, have stressed the need for concerted efforts to be deployed in mitigating the negative impacts of Climate Change on the environment with the adoption of a climate-friendly lifestyle.

Sanwo-Olu and other speakers, made the remarks on Tuesday, during a two day, Lagos State Climate Change Summit, revamped edition, eight in the series, with the theme :Adapting Health, Energy, Agriculture, Transport, and Waste Infrastructure to the long-term impact of Climate Change in Lagos,” held in Vicoria Island.

The governor, who described the summit as a greater call to action, urged the people to cut down on the use of non-renewable energy sources, change mobility lifestyles (adopting car-pooling, cycling, etc.), eat more plant-based diets and less meat, and manage waste creatively and sustainably.

He said: “The world is at a point where climate change is no longer a theoretical threat, but a very real phenomenon playing out before our very eyes. It has therefore become imperative that we address the pertinent issue of climate change because of its pivotal impact on key economic areas like agriculture, health, sustainable socio-economic development, as well as enduring peace and security in our society.

“On World Environmental Day, the United Nations Secretary-General reiterated that the world faces an environmental emergency, which may lead to deprivation of food, water and other necessary resources needed to survive. The onus is on all of us to collaboratively do everything necessary to save our environment, mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and to make our planet more pristine and liveable.

“Lagos is very vulnerable to the effects of climate change – we sit on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, with a land mass so small and prone to flooding, as a result of being mostly occupied by water. Circumstances have therefore compelled us to be proactive, hence this annual summit which has, over the years, served as a catalyst for our Climate Action Plan – a choate and well researched document that encompasses what must be done to make our dear state less vulnerable to climate change, more carbon and climate resilient.”

Sanwo-Olu, expressed joy, that “Lagos is the first state in Nigeria to develop a climate action plan – ‘Lagos Climate Action Plan: Second Five-year Plan 2020- 2025′, to help achieve an emission-neutral city by 2050.

“We are now much more adept, as a government, at incorporating climate-friendly thinking into everything we do. Our goal now is to extend this awareness to the entire populace, to get Lagosians to imbibe the culture of climate awareness in their homes, workplaces and lifestyles.

“We have a rich pipeline of projects being undertaken to address climate change and fast-track the attainment of our zero-carbon goal, across transportation, healthcare, energy, agriculture and waste management. Composting, recycling, Waste-to-Energy are just a few of the strategies we are focusing on to improve the quality of waste management.

“In the energy sector, there are significant opportunities to roll out off-grid solar systems for public schools, hospitals and other government offices and facilities alike. We can also incentivise individual homes to move from fossil fuel generators to solar systems.

“Multiple seemingly-modest interventions successfully implemented across a wide variety of sectors can and will add up to substantial positive impact in terms of climate change adaptation and mitigation.”

Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, noted that climate change is about increased risk of extreme events, natural disasters, and of changes in weather patterns.

‘As our understanding of the climate grows, so does our understanding of what those risks might mean for our people. That is why the theme of this summit is apt because we have reached a point where the state needs to be intentional on projects and programmes that will be climate change complaint’.

He added: “Studies have shown that year 2050 will be significant for the world, especially the developing country, if something drastic and urgent is not done. It has been postulated that about 215 million urban poor in 495 developing cities will be vulnerable to extreme heat, million others will be exposed to other climate risks including sea level rise, flooding and water scarcity.

“This is why our ministry has decided to make this summit not about us, but to bring on board relevant ministries, departments and agencies to be forthright in our programmes and project so that Lagos can be above board when all these predictions are happening. It is time to mainstream climate change into our DNA towards building a future we want.

“It is out expectation that this summit will be a veritable platform to proffer solutions, and way forward to a sustainable and resilient Lagos.”

Delivering the lead paper through virtual platform, Dr Caradee Wright, South African Medical Research Council, University of Pretoria, South Africa, titled; The Imperative for action to protect human health from climate change threats and risks, warned of grave danger ahead of developing countries if urgent steps were not taken by the people to combat climate change risks.

Wright, quoting World Health Organisation, WHO, 2015, stated: “Climate change can be expected to cause an additional 250 000 deaths every year by 2030: 38 000 heat exposure in elderly people, 48 000 due to diarrhoea,60 000 due to malaria, 95 000 due to childhood undernutrition.

“Without effective responses, climate change will compromise, water quality and quantity: contributing to a doubling of people living in water-stressed basins by 2050, increasing exposure to coastal flooding by a factor of 10 and land area in extreme drought by a factor of 10-30,” among others.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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