Climate change and disturbing fire outbreaks

GLOBALLY, climate change has become one of the most serious environmental challenges facing our planet. It has been a critical issue for quite a long time and stakeholders have been deliberating and devising ways of combating it.

Annual evaluation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that scientists learn more about the consequences of global warming, and many agree that environmental, economic, and health consequences are likely to occur if current trends continue.

It has become a known fact that the prevalence of fossil fuels and its usage such as oil, gas and coal are burned to generate energy, large amounts of the greenhouse gas CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere.

Moreover, the emissions of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide increased in the last decades because of intensive agriculture. All these gases allow solar radiation to get through the atmosphere to the earth’s surface but prevent the radiation from returning. This has no doubt resulted in global warming.

Certain gases in the atmosphere block heat from escaping. Long-lived gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere and do not respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are described as “forcing” climate change. Gases, such as water vapor, which respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are “feedbacks.”

An overwhelming research has it that extreme heat waves have caused tens of thousands of deaths around the world in recent years. And in an alarming sign of events to come, Antarctica has been losing about 134 billion metric tons of ice per year since 2002. This can speed up if we keep burning fossil fuels at our current pace, some experts say, causing sea levels to rise several meters over the next 50 to 150 years.

Strangely, the climate change has begun to have its impact on the Nigerian environment. It is now a normal scene for fire outbreaks in Nigeria as reported in various national dailies and social media platforms.

Early this year, virtually all the states had fair share of fire outbreaks in one way or the other which could either be blamed on human errors or natural disaster considering the weather.

However, unlike before now when some months are certain to have rainfall and others sunny weathers, that has become very hard to predict. Also, there have been increasing fears for flooding in Nigeria, especially when the rainy season commences fully. One wonders what would likely happen to a society like Nigeria where there is little or no awareness on climate change. The fact is that fear remains very rife.

In its shocking revelation, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), has predicted horizontal visibility to improve over north and central, adding that there would be increased cloudiness over the inland and coastal cities within period of forecast.

A national summit on climate change and its growing effect would not be out of place while relevant agencies responsible for tracking climate and its factors should act now that we can still contain the changes in the atmospheric situations in and around Nigeria.

  • Alabidun Shuaib Abdulrahman,

Abuja.

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