Lagos asks Federal Government to lead fight against climate change

Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola

The Lagos State government has asked the Federal Government to take the lead in integrating the states in its efforts to combat climate change challenges.

This was part of the recommendation in the communique issued at the end of the 4th Climate Change Summit on Thursday in Lagos.

The state also wants an increased synergy in climate change policies, strategies, and responsible institutions among various levels of governance.

“Installation of proven catalytic converters in cars should be enforced at the ports of entry and encourage car pooling as well as mass transport system to facilitate the reduction of vehicular emissions,” stated the communique.

Twenty papers were presented by experts across Nigeria, Malaysia, among other countries at the three-day annual summit with the theme ‘Vulnerability and Adaptability to Climate Change in Nigeria: Lagos State Agriculture, Industry and Health Sectors in Focus’.

Participants at the summit, organized by the Lagos State government, also observed that nine local governments in Lagos State are at risk from ocean surge.

They include Badagry, Epe, Eti-Osa, Amuwo-Odofin, Kosofe, Lagos Island, Apapa, Ibeju-Lekki, and Ikorodu; in that order.

“It is expected that extreme water levels from storm surges could reach well beyond 2 metres even at low sea level rise projection,” read the observation.

Participants also observed that Nigeria does not have a framework to support a domestic climate fund regime that could open the window for a state like Lagos.

In his presentation ‘Towards Sustainable Climate Risk Reduction’, Professor Pak Sum Low noted that there is a need for greater investment in national scientific research.

“Most times, developing countries do not devote funds for local research,” said Prof. Low.

“They rely on IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) research which is global and may not be applicable to the particular region,” he added.

Despite the state lacking an appreciable forest reserve, participants called on the state government to join REDD (Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation), an initiative that encourages forest communities to leave their trees standing and get monetary reward.

“Lagos is considered as a massive consumer of wood-based energy such as firewood and charcoal thereby causing deforestation elsewhere in the country,” said Dahiru Salisu, National Co-ordinator of REDD programme in Nigeria.

Mr. Salisu noted that Lagos will get additional revenue from REDD programmes.

While taking participants through the Cross River State model, the only REDD beneficiary in the country, Arikpo Arikpo said that the state is currently raising 5 million indigenous tree seedlings for the programme.

“REDD only pays after protection,” said Mr. Arikpo Arikpo, who represented Odigha Odigha, the Chairman of Cross River State Forestry Commission.

“Payment will be made for standing forests and for the reduction of deforestation.

“People perception of climate change may be the most important factor determining their willingness to accept, respond, or adapt to the phenomena,” said Mr. Arikpo Arikpo.

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