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General elections: Where are manifestoes on climate change?

By Yemi Olakitan

The worldwide issue of climate change is complicated. It happens as a result of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and warms the planet.

Checks revealed that the 1970s were when environmental issues first entered political debate. Since the 1990s, efforts to lessen environmental disasters have taken a significant place on the political agenda on a global scale.

Environmental specialists claim that over the years, Nigeria has experienced its fair share of the effects of climate change, including heat waves, droughts, and unpredictable rainfall.

The flood tragedy of 2022, according to some, is proof that climate change is a reality in the nation.

Over 600 people died as a result of the disaster, which also forced millions of people to flee their homes and destroyed hundreds of acres of farmland.

Environmental stakeholders are concerned that, in contrast to other areas like the economy, security, and education, climate change has not received the proper focus in the current political campaigns.

They contend that presidential contenders ought to outline to Nigerians their plan for reducing global warming and making the switch to cleaner energies.

In Nigeria, the African Development Bank Group Economic Outlook foresees a 7% short-term (2006–35) and a 25% long-term decline in crop production as a result of climate change (by 2050).

“Proposed rises in annual maximum temperature of 3 to 4°C between 2050 and 2070 may further impede agricultural productivity and exacerbate water stress.

Conflicts within communities are already being caused by water and grazing land constraints. On the GCRI (Global Conflict Risk Index) for 2021, Nigeria is ranked 73.

The executive director of the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP), Mr. David Michael, claimed that a survey of the manifestos of various parties revealed that the issue of climate change was underrepresented in the 2023 election.

In order to spark interest among legislators and the general public in the effects of climate change, he claimed that GIFSEP had started a climate change awareness campaign in a number of states.

If the political elite in nations like Nigeria that are vulnerable to climate change continued to disregard the problem, Michael said, that did not bode well.

If we choose candidates who deny climate change in the general elections of 2023, it will be a grave error.

“Climate change is the crisis of our lifetime, so the problems surrounding it are too crucial to be left in the hands of deniers.

It is the world’s most important issue right now, therefore we’re urging people to make sure they collect their PVCs, especially in communities that are affected by climate change.

He advised voters to look through empty campaign promises and other tactics of persuasion in favour of politicians who have a clear strategy for addressing climate change.

According to Michael, persons elected to positions of authority have the power to enact laws that will create a clean, green, low-carbon future for future generations.

He asserted that addressing the environment was essential for both sustainable development and the survival of democracy.

Elections provide the chance for our opinions to be heard by those in positions of authority on topics that affect the majority of the population, so we are very concerned that climate is under-represented in the 2023 campaigns.

“We are urging citizens of Nigeria to interact with political parties in order to determine which ones have sincere plans to combat the use of fossil fuels as a source of pollution and ensure the transition to 100% renewable energy.

To lessen the effects of climate change, Michael stated that in addition to a vote for climate campaign, GIFSEP had also planted thousands of trees in a number of states, including Zamfara, Kastina, Borno Sokoto, Kebbi, Taraba, Benin, Benue, Nasarawa, and Cross River, among others.

He added that as part of its efforts to develop clean energy, GIFSEP provided free solar lights to IDP camps in Borno and Benue and that plans were in the works to expand its operations to Lagos, Bauchi, and Kaduna.

With the help of our “Project Trees for Schools,” we have planted over 10,000 trees in Nigeria.

“We planted almost 2000 trees only in Abuja. Currently, we are testing briquette production, and after the general elections, we intend to expand it to Nasarawa State.

Ibrahim Joseph, the programme manager for GIFSEP, stated that during the past year, GIFSEP has worked with the government of Nasarawa to create a climate risk register and strategy to aid in enhancing the region’s capacity for overcoming difficulties.

“Climate change is the world’s most important issue right now. A vote for climate is a vote for life, for food security, for renewable energy, for health, for a healthy environment, for equity and fairness, and for a sustainable future.

“The only way the future administration can lead by example is by putting an end to initiatives that will force people to continue generating carbon for years to come.

“These include ending gas flaring, eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels, and making Nigeria coal-free.

These pose threats to the environment and the climate as well, therefore they must be phased out as soon as feasible, he said.

African Activists for Climate Justice’s project officer for GIFSEP, Joseph, said that given the impact that climate change issues have on people’s lives and the nation’s economy, they shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“With just a few weeks until Nigeria’s general elections, it seems that climate change has no place in this election as other topics take centre stage.

“Climate change is a factor in flood disaster, food shortages, and insecurity. If the candidates for office are not outlining how climate change affects these issues and outlining their solution, there is a problem.

If we can’t stop the current trend and create climate resilience, we will be doomed, he added. “The terrible reality is that these crises will continue in frequency and size.

An advocate for addressing climate change, Obadiah Ovye urged voters to choose politicians who would address the issue.

He stated: “There is a need to support politicians who have clear-cut solutions to reduce carbon emissions, promote clean energy, and apply adaptation policies that will salvage agriculture, combat harsh weather, and foster clean air.”

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