Climate Justice in Tackling Effects of Climate Change on Anambra State’s Education, Housing and Healthcare Infrastructure in Nigeria, Africa – Elochukwu Ezenekwe

Climate change is taking a heavy toll on the education, housing and healthcare infrastructure of Anambra State, one of the 36 states in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.

In a country that ranks as the poverty capital of the world, where 4 out of 10 persons live below the national poverty line (World Bank, 2022), what is the hope of a state like Anambra in finding adequate financial resources to tackle the devastations done by climate change on its Education, Housing and Healthcare Infrastructure?

First, let’s look at the basics.

Table of Contents

Global Warming and Climate Change

So in the course of industrialization, the countries that are now referred to as “advanced”, “developed”, “industrialized” or “first world” nations burnt insanely high amounts of hydrocarbons to power their factories. That brought them great prosperity, but to the detriment of the earth’s atmosphere and life on earth.
The hydrocarbons burnt released so much greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere than the earth could easily absorb back through photosynthesis and other processes that use them up.
Remnants of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere forms a thin layer that blocks a fraction of the sun’s heat from returning into space, thereby making the earth warm.

As humans continue to emit excessive amounts of greenhouse gases, the layer of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere keeps getting thicker, more heat energy from the sun is trapped closer to the earth and, of course, the earth keeps warming up (global warming).

The increase in temperature as a result of global warming, having lasted for a very long period of time (about 30 years or more), qualifies as a change in climate (or climate change).

Effects of Climate Change

A higher than normal temperature of the earth upsets the balance in nature, disrupts weather patterns and increases the incidence of extreme weather events around the globe.

For example, increased temperature results in the melting of ice caps, leading to rise in sea level and consequent flooding of coastal communities.

Areas that are known to be dry get drier, as warmer earth means more evaporation from the earth surface.

Increased evaporation means heavier rainfall, so areas that are known for higher precipitation levels get even more.

Tackling Climate Change - Mitigation and Adaptation

Climate Change Mitigation

Climate change mitigation is simply an approach to tackling climate change that focuses on reducing the present or future levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.  We already know that greenhouse gasses are responsible for global warming.

If, for example, an advanced nation agrees to a mandate to cut down its excess emissions to a certain level; that is a good climate change mitigation approach aimed at avoiding future buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

If trees are planted to help remove carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere; that is a climate change mitigation approach aimed at reducing existing levels of greenhouse gasses.

The job of mitigating climate change is primarily that of the industrialized nations.

Other nations, say in Africa or Asia, can help out through means such as providing carbon sinks and others, but that is secondary.
It must be noted that nature allows for emission of certain levels of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. In fact, the world will be too cold and uninhabitable if there was no greenhouse gas layer up in the atmosphere.
So what causes global warming (or climate change) is the emission of EXCESSIVE amounts of greenhouse gases.
Hence, in a developing African country like Nigeria – where per capita CO2 emissions peaked to 0.7 tons in 2018 (World Bank CO2 Emissions Data) and well below acceptable level of 2.3 tons (Oxfam International), it doesn’t make sense to take certain actions that will cause more hardship to the citizenry in the name of mitigating climate change.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) notes that the whole of Africa contributes “just about two to three percent of global emissions”.

Climate Change Adaptation

Because climate change is already happening and is having devastating effects on societies around the world, tackling climate change through just mitigation alone is not enough.
Communities must take action to tackle (or adapt) to the challenges they face as a result of climate change.

While the effects of climate change are being experienced by every country around the globe, the capacity to tackle such impacts differ among various countries.
Advanced nations, who are the cause of the problem, have, in the process, amassed enough financial resources and developed cutting edge technology that can help them adapt relatively easier to the impacts of climate change.

Sadly, developing countries in Africa, like Nigeria, who have little to do with the problem of global warming do not have the necessary finance and are therefore bearing the brunt of climate change.

Effect of Climate Change on Education, Housing and Healthcare Infrastructure in Anambra State, an important Hub in Africa’s largest country, Nigeria.

1. Climate change induced gully erosion destroy housing infrastructure that include residential homes, schools, primary health care centers in Nanka, Anambra State, Nigeria, Africa

Increased incidence of flooding due to torrential rainfall and rising sea levels is something that is seriously affecting Anambra State, particularly the riverine areas of this important hub of Africa’s largest country, Nigeria.
During rainy season, a lot of buildings for homes, educational institutions such as primary and secondary schools, and health care centers get flooded.
Although these buildings are recovered after some weeks – when the floods recede, some of them get destroyed while others become weaker and give way before their expected lifespan.

Even more destructive is the activities of landslides and gully erosion in the State.

A 2009 research pioneered by Elochukwu Ezenekwe revealed that climate change is the major contributory factor to the gully erosion activities in Nanka (Anambra State) and some other communities in the South East geopolitical region of Africa’s largest country, Nigeria.

The expansion of this climate change-induced gully erosion is powered by landslide activities that occur mostly during rainy season.

As the landslide occurs, it caves in structures that are within the gully precincts, including homes, school buildings and primary healthcare centers.

The buildings, having been destroyed, make their way to the bottom of the deep gullies where flood wash them away.

The cycle continues this way and the deep gullies keep expanding and destroying education, housing and healthcare structures, all thanks to climate change.

Considering the absolute nature of the losses caused – in which nothing is left behind (unlike flooding and other weather phenomena), experts agree that the Nanka gully erosion problem is the worst impact of climate change in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

Tackling Climate Change Effects in Anambra State – Climate Justice.

There are various ways Anambra State can tackle climate change impacts, most of which will require technical and financial resources.

Whereas the technical knowhow required to address a lot of the impacts doesn’t seem to be scarce, financial resources are.

For example, to adapt to the destruction of primary and secondary school buildings by climate change-induced gully erosion in Nanka and similar communities, the Anambra State government needs to build new schools in safer locations distant from the gully sites.
The technology for building new schools is basic and very available, but the financial resource for that is scarce.

One way Anambra State can garner finance is by speaking up and demanding “climate justice”.

Climate justice means that those countries responsible for causing climate change – those who have profited greatly from destroying the atmosphere, take financial responsibility for the problems caused by climate change in a place like Anambra State.

This is the reason for what is known as climate change adaptation fund.

The aim of Adaptation Fund, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is “to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change”.

Knowing that such adaptation funds are available, both via multilateral and bilateral mechanisms, the government should take necessary action, including but not limited to engaging competent hands to pursue those funds.

Climate Change Adaptation Fund

The aim of Adaptation Fund, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is “to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change”.

Knowing that such adaptation funds are available, both via multilateral and bilateral mechanisms, the government should take necessary action, including but not limited to engaging competent hands to pursue those funds.

Conclusion

Knowing that such adaptation funds are available, both via multilateral and bilateral mechanisms, the government should take necessary action, including but not limited to engaging competent hands, to pursue those funds.

Elochukwu Ezenekwe

Elochukwu Ezenekwe

Elochukwu Ezenekwe is a climate change expert with more than 12 years of experience in climate change research, advocacy and consultancy.
He has handled climate change-related assignments for a number of international organizations, including for the world’s largest climate change research body – the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He can be reached at eloblogsATgmailDOTcom.

Authentic Reports
1st July 2022 9:01 pm

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