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Monday, December 4, 2023

IPCC’s AR5: Another cause for stepping up climate actions


Activist, Surveyor Efik, who is the National Coordinator, Climate Change Network Nigeria (CCN-Nigeria) and Lead Facilitator of CAN/GCCA global advocacy on IPCC AR5 in Nigeria, explores the dynamics of the far-reaching report vis-à-vis the Nigerian state of affairs


The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has expressly uphold that human influence is extremely likely the dominant cause of observed warning since the mid-20th century, and that the reality of the observation is 95 percent certainty as against the previous AR4 that was adjudged very likely with 90 percent certainty. It further stated that the warming of the climate system is unequivocal. These revelations, as contained in Working Group One (WG1), which was on the Physical Science Basis and released on the 27th September 2013 in Stockholm, show that there is evidence of marked increase in the impacts of climate change on both planet Earth and humanity.

With this fifth assessment of the global climate change situation, it may, therefore, not be incorrect to state that the increasing impacts of climate change seem to be on geometric rate while the global effort to stem the tide is on arithmetic progression. This harsh reality is hard to take. The good news is that we still have a chance to avoid the worse consequences of a warming planet – but it’s going to take an epic effort, may be at supersonic progression.

According to Qin Dahe, Co-Chair of IPCC WG1, “Our assessment of the science finds that the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased”. This however translates into increased temperature and heat waves, sea level rise, ocean warming, decreasing glaciers and ice sheets, which further corroborate what the World Bank in its June 2013 report (Turn Down The Heat: Why A 4oC Warmer World Must Be Avoided) stated in simple terms that “high temperature extreme appear likely to affect yields of rice, wheat, maize and other crops, adversely affecting food security”, stressing that “promoting economic growth and eradication of poverty and inequality will thus, be an increasingly challenging task”. This means that the effort to achieve the MDGs and the post-2015 development agenda or the future Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may become unachievable.

The reality of the postulations of the IPCC WG1 may be a great food for thought to the world, especially the developing countries, whose capacity to adapt to the impacts and mitigate the effects of climate change is either weak or non-existent, and yet will be worst hit by the ill-consequences. But the second installment of the AR5 by WG2 which focuses on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, may be more worrisome and dazing in terms of the fact that the evidence of the rate of occurrence of climate change impacts so much dwarfed the hitherto global effort to recede it. The WG2 met from 25th to 29th March 2014 at Yokohama, Japan to produce the definitive report and the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) on the impacts of climate change already being observed, as well as projected climate change impacts, with simplified breakdown analysis covering seven regions of the globe, namely: Africa, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, Europe, North America, Small Islands and South America.

From the draft of the WG2, it is admitted that “Observed impacts of climate change are widespread and consequential. Recent changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans”, while on projection, it states that “Climate change will increase the frequency and severity of many types of extreme weather: In many areas, more frequent intense rainfall events will increase the frequency of flooding. Globally, more people will be exposed to floods and economic losses due to flooding. It’s also likely that presently dry areas will become more severely drought-stricken”.

What is more, the third installment of the AR5 and its SPM will be released April 7 – 13 2014 in Berlin, Germany by WG3, which will be on Mitigation of Climate Change. Then the IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report will follow suit 27-31 October in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In all the segments that make up the IPCC AR5, one isolating fact is the clarion call for action, the need for nations big and small, rich and poor, developed and developing to redouble their efforts on geometric progression to combat climate change. It’s the need for governments, corporate bodies and the civil society to step up actions, separately and collectively. The developed countries should scale up their support in the area of finance, capacity building and technology transfer to the developing countries while also living up to expectation in their commitment towards emissions reduction targets. The developing countries should give priority to climate change mitigation and adaptation and incorporate them into their national development agenda. Donor agencies have a very important role to play in funding priority to climate action, while the international organisations should redirect their focus towards promoting national climate actions, especially in the developing countries. The Climate Action Network (CAN) and Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) global advocacy effort around the IPCC AR5 are commendable.

In Nigeria, thanks to the global effort of CAN/GCCA in promoting advocacy around the IPCC AR5 and support same advocacy in Nigeria. The Heinrich Boll Foundation Nigeria, African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC Nigerian Chapter), Nigeria Youth Climate Coalition (NYCC), Youth Vision Alliance Network (YVAN) and Climate Change Network Nigeria (CCN-Nigeria) organized national IPCC Strategy Catalyst Workshop on the 20th January 2014 in Abuja with support of Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) and Climate Action Network (CAN) International. The objectives of the workshop include serving as a catalyst for developing advocacy strategy for a collaborative effort between different civil society groups and activists working on promote climate actions and leveraging AR5 at the national level. It also strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian civil society on the use of the IPCC AR5 as effective advocacy tools for climate policy and political decision making as well as for promoting national development. One of the outcomes of the Abuja workshop was the establishment of the National Strategist Think-Tank on Climate Change to follow up on the IPCC AR5 processes.

While Nigeria is preparing ahead of 2015 elections, the Nigerian civil society under the auspices of the National Strategist Think-Tank on Climate Change, hereby urge all incumbent and prospective politicians, the technocrats, policy/decision makers to incorporate climate change adaptation and mitigation actions into their political and national development agenda. The state governors should embellish their states with green growth developments while the local government chairmen should turn their constituencies into green cities. The private sector, including the banks should not relent in their effort to promote climate-friendly investments and sustainable green businesses. The communities, academia, media, faith-based, youths, women/children, students and all other civil society bodies and individual citizens should endeavour to take climate actions on their own or collectively.

We use this medium to appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan to approve the National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action for Climate Change in Nigeria (NASPA-CCN) for implementation so as to kick-start national climate action on adaptation and further increase visibility of his government’s commitment and response, not only to combating climate change but also responding to the IPCC AR5 advocacy for climate actions

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