January 2, 2023

Climate change, under-represented in 2023 election campaigns – Expert

2023 Election


The Global Initiative for Food Security and Preservation (GIFSEP) has expressed worries over the under-representation of climate change impact in the 2023 election campaigns.

The NGO, therefore, called on Nigerians to vote for candidates that have a climate action plan.

The Executive Director and Team Lead of the GIFSEP, an NGO, Mr David Terungwa, said this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

Terungwa, a climate change expert and an activist for Climate Justice Coalition, gave reasons Nigerians should vote for candidates that understood climate change issues in 2023 elections.

He said that climate change was critical to survival of democracy and for sustainable development, adding that it was as well the crises of lifetime.

According to him, so far, climate change is under-represented in the campaigns ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“It will be a dangerous mistake if we elect climate deniers.

“Climate change issues are too important to be left in the hands of deniers. This is because climate change is the defining issue of today’s world.

“That is why we are calling on citizens, especially those in communities impacted by climate change, to ensure that they collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and look beyond empty campaign promises.

“Nigerians should not look on any forms of inducement to vote for candidates that understand climate change issues and have a climate action plan.

“We all are affected by climate change. Our country is very vulnerable to climate change,” he said.

Terungwa recalled the recent floods which caused death of over 600 Nigerians, displaced millions of people and washed away hundreds of farms and farm lands across the country.

He said that the issues would continue in frequency and magnitude, if the present trend could not be reversed to build climate resilience.

“Considering the impact of climate change on our lives and economy, there is an urgent call on Nigerians to vote for climate,” he added.

The executive director said that the organisation carried out a review of manifestos of some political parties, adding that the result was on the vote for a climate web page

He said that plan for climate action of political parties and their candidates should be that those elected must have power to shape a clean, green, low-carbon future for generations to come.

“We need a president that will demonstrate Nigeria’s commitment to climate action and invest in renewable energy sources.

“This needs to happen at the same time as moving away from fossil fuels while implementing an energy transition plan and much more.

“The implementation of the climate act is needed to put us on the path to net zero. This needs to be supported by increased government spending on urgent green projects.

“These will range from the energy transition plan, investment in renewable energy, increasing clean public transport, to enhancing biodiversity conservation.

“This investment should be increased even further over time,” he said.

Terungwa said that investing more would reduce the huge economic and social costs, compared with delaying, but it should also guarantee many other important benefits.

He said that Nigeria needed a president who would form a new government that would see the incredible potentials in investing in a new green economy that brings jobs, new skills and building climate resilience.

He urged Nigeria to vote the party that had the power to stop projects threatening climate and nature.

According to him, the next government should not implement projects that will lock us into emitting carbon for years to come.

“The government should implement such projects which includes removal of subsidies for fossil fuels, a coal free Nigeria and an end to gas flaring.

“These are risky, bad for climate and nature, and often terrible value for money.

“They need to be phased out as quickly as possible, while supporting workers to retrain for roles in sustainable industries such as renewable energy,” he said.

“This is why we must vote for climate; we will vote for climate because a vote for climate is a vote for food security.  A vote for climate is a vote for sustainable energy.

“A vote for climate is a vote for healthy environment, a vote for climate is a vote for equity and fairness.

“The action that will bring about food security, greater social equality, better well-being, healthier food, improved water quality, better flood control and increased access to nature,” he said.