The Federal Government has raised the alarm over the bad effects of coronavirus pandemic on Climate Change Response but warned that if prompt measures were not taken, the consequences could be worse.
The government specifically said that although COVID-19 was bad, CCR could cause serious damages and spread over a much longer period with speed.
The Director/Permanent Secretary Designate in the Department of Climate Change at the Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr Yerima Tarfa, stated these in an interview with journalists during the opening ceremony of a workshop on the Nigeria Climate Change Response Programme.
He however expressed optimism that Nigeria as a responsible global citizen was committed to tackling climate change.
At the event organised by the European Union under its Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Programme, the EU Head of Section (Economic Development and Energy), Kathryn Thomsen, said that the EU was committed to assisting Nigeria in meeting its pledges through the Nigeria Climate Change Response Programme.
She said the EU attached importance to addressing the climate change in line with the EU Comprehensive Strategy for Africa and the Post COVID-19 Green recovery support.
Tarfa said, “This workshop was earlier planned to hold in March 2020 but for COVID-19. It is correctly stated in prevailing situation that COVID-19 is awful, but climate change could be worse.
“Climate change could cause as bad damages and losses as COVID-19 and could spread over a much longer period in an irresistible manner.
“Hence, it has become even more imperative to recover from the global pandemic without compromising our efforts to combat climate change and its major causes.
“Certainly, you would have seen in the opening remarks of the ministry that COVID-19 has impacted negatively on the socio-economic development of Nigeria. But as we are recovering from COVID – 19, we have to factor in sustainability issues.
“The sustainability plan that the government has put in place also have to factor in issues of carbon emissions so that these projects will be resilient in the agricultural sector.
“We can’t continue business as usual, that is planting and clearing huge samples of land for agricultural purposes.”
According to Yerima, the Federal Government is working towards greening the economy to reduce carbon footprints in the various activities going on in the country.
He stated that the government was promoting solar as part of clean energy, ethanol instead of fuel to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas and had midwifed the green bond programme.
Yerima explained that the event was organised to work towards the fulfilment of Nigeria’s commitment signed by Nigeria under the Paris Agreement to reduce climate change, stressing that Nigeria was committed to reducing its emissions unconditionally by 20 per cent and 45 per cent with international support.
He said, “Emissions coming from all our economic activities in the country will be reduced with international support.
“The EU offered to help build our capacity, put in place institutional structures and legal framework to enable the country to meet the 45 per cent target.
“Nigeria as a responsible global citizen is committed to tackling climate change. In 2015, Nigeria committed to the Paris Agreement, with ambitious targets, both conditional and unconditional.”
Since then, he added, it has developed and pursued vigorously plans and activities towards meeting this very important global commitment.