By Sunday Oyinloye
The Climate Change law which the National Assembly recently enacted is one that addresses a key issue which poses an existential threat to all of mankind, Hon. Sam Onuigbo has said
Onuigbo who is the member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/Umuahia South Federal Constituency of Abia State disclosed this yesterday during the first South East Climate Change Summit held at the Centre for Climate Change , Nanmdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State
He said while some might not know it, the overarching impacts of climate change are daily faced by the people
In his words “From the many gully erosions that litter the Southeast, through the floods, coastal erosions in the South -South and even some parts of the South-East including Anambra State, to desertification in the North and the corresponding security issues, to extreme heat and irregular rainfall, before our very eyes, the world as we know it is changing and bringing with it massive loss of livelihood and increased health challenges”
“The good news here though is that there is still a little time left for us to turn this around and in the process of tackling these challenges, build a greener and more sustainable world anchored on the principles of equity, greener and more jobs for the people, better health, and increased livelihood means.
“With over US$14.5 trillion divested from fossil fuel, and many countries committing fully to transiting to net zero greenhouse gases emissions in the nearest future, the economic future of countries still dependent on fossil fuel for revenue is seriously being threatened as such countries face the risk of being left with stranded critical assets.
“But this is no cause for alarm as with this divestment comes increased investments in cleaner, greener, and more sustainable energy sources. The potentialities for more jobs from this sector are immense with tens of millions of new job opportunities becoming available for the people”.
According to him, “Our efforts at combating climate change and preserving our environment for our children do not only help preserve our environment and the future, these efforts also address our massive unemployment issues as a country. Let me break it down further.
“For example, let us say that a state like Anambra embraces the idea of providing energy through renewables and thus partners with private and international bodies to set up renewable energy grids, waste-to-energy plants, and also embraces climate-smart agricultural practices, the state would have through that singular action addressed two critical issues facing the citizens namely provision of constant energy to power homes, hospitals, and industries, while also providing massive employment for its citizenry.
“Throw in the improved food productivity that comes from climate-smart agricultural practices and you realize that by paying attention to climate change, the state would have confronted head-on and solved problems that account for at least 50% of the needs of the people— energy, livelihood means, and food security. Thankfully, the Governor-elect, of Anambra State, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo has shown remarkable interest in Climate Change. I look forward to Anambra leading again from that front”.
He highlighted some key provisions of the Climate Change Act :” The Climate Change Act 2021 provides for the mainstreaming of climate change actions, establish the National Council on Climate Change, and for other related matters This it does by providing for the setting up of the National Council on Climate Change to be headed by the President with several ministers, Chairman of the Governors Forum, President of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), the Central Bank Governor, National Security Adviser, representatives of the private sector, women, youths, civil society organisations and person living with disabilities, as members.
‘The idea behind this is to have a broad representation with this decision-making being domiciled at the highest level because of the importance of climate change.
“There are also provisions for the development of a carbon budget for Nigeria with the aim of attaining net zero emission between 2050-2070; establishment of the Climate Change Fund; provision of checks and balances through oversight by the National Assembly and the people having access to information in order to interrogate, where necessary, efforts being made; provisions for climate education; provision for the setting up of mechanisms for carbon emissions trading and carbon tax; provision of support for research and scientific innovations; provisions for Nigeria to address climate change using nature-based solutions, and many more.” he said
In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Professor Charles Okechukwu Esimone commended Hon. Onuigbo for sponsoring the Climate Change Bill which has been signed into law.
According to him, the theme of the Summit ‘Limiting Climate Change through local action’ cannot be more apt at any other time than now.
“Humanity today lives in the insidious asphyxiating grip of Climate Change and its consequences “he said
Esimone explained that human activities like burning of fossil fuels, landfills and deforestation take place at individual, family and organization’s levels adding however that Climate Change and its consequences transcend local and international boundaries