By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr Bababjide Sanwo-Olu and experts in environment sector have stressed the need for concerted efforts to mitigate environmental challenges as urban population estimated to reach 70 per cent from present 55 per cent by year 2050.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mrs Folasade Jaji, made the call on Monday, at the event to commemorate World Habitat Day, 2021, organised by the state Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, held at the state’s Secretariat Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
Speaking to the theme of the event: “Accelerating Urban Action for a carbon-free world,” the governor, noted that there are various challenges affecting the world and environment, “viz-a- vis, the way we live, work and play.”
He continued: “Accelerating Urban Action for carbon free world is quite in line with the determination to implement decisive climate actions as major contents of the audacious smart City initiative of our administration.
“Without doubt, climate change, which is synonymous with high carbon footprint and global warming, remains a major threat to livelihood, security and well-being of the people of the world as we continue to witness in different magnitude it’s effects on agriculture, transportation, economies as well as lifestyle in general.”
Sanwo-Olu stressed that the reasons why the world is faced with myriad climate challenges are not fart fetched.
He noted that due to the actions and inactions of human with their unsustainable practices on environment, “we have over decades of imbalance relationship with nature, ocassioned environmental degradation in form of water pollution, erosion and depletion of ozone layer.”
According to Sanwo-Olu: “Indeed, the global urban population has spiralled since mid-20th century. Between 1950 and today, the population of cities around the world has more than quadrupled with over 4 2 billion people now living in urban centres.
“Over the same period, the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a key indicator of global warming, has risen by over a third, almost entirely due to human activity.
“Today’s cities account for about 75 per cent of world’s energy consumption and are responsible for over 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
“The concern is further heightened as cities and towns are projected to add 2.5 billion people in the next 30 years to increase the proportion of people in urban areas from 55 per cent to nearly 70 per cent by 2050.
“Thus, the way cities are planned, built and managed is key to reducing carbon emissions and keeping global warming within manageable limits, set by the agreement on climate change.
“This is the only world that we know and have; therefore, it is our responsibility to work together as a people and ensure the sustainability of our world for the next generation.”
The state Commissoner for the Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, described theme of the event ad “apt”, saying; “This is a wake up call for actionable plans and strategies for the achievement of a truly sustainable world for all.
“It is in furtherance of the theme of the UN-Habitat’s campaign tagged:”Climate “Action 4Cities, which encompasses about sustainable urbanisation.
“In same vein,the need to take decisive action to combat and mitigate the impacts of climate change is included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ad Goal #13 climate action.”
Salako, therefore, urged stakeholders to support the call for accelerated climate action for a carbon free Lagos in order to achieve the Greater Lagos of our dreams.
“Let us endeavour to :Build Right’ for it is what we feed into the mirror that is given back.”
The guest speaker, Taiba Lawanson, a Professor of Urban Management and Governance, University of Lagos, who proferred several solutions to mitigating climate change effects, stressed the need to jump start strategies against reduction of carbon emissions.
According to Lawanson; “There is the need for allot of work to be done. Everybody must be on board, Local, State, and Federal Governments, religious leaders, political leaders, environmentalists, teachers, civil servants, traders, professionals, developers, property owners, investors in the built environment, among others, to be mindful of the sustainability strategies if we must mitigate the effects of global warming.”