Need for Accelerating Urban Action for A Carbon-Free World; An Address by TPL. Godswill Unekwuojo Musa, Secretary General, Association of City Managers in Nigeria (ACMAN), During A City Walk in Celebration of World Habitat Day 2021, At the City Gate, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.

TPL. Godswill Unekwuojo Musa, Giving his Address, during Abuja City Walk.

Climate Change

Climate change is the long-term change in global weather patterns, associated especially with increases in temperature, precipitation, and storm activity. From 1906-2005, the average global temperature rose by 0.74ºC, with most of that warming occurring since 1970. By 2015, the average global temperature had warmed by over 1ºC since pre-industrial times. Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have been in 21st century.

A dominant environmental problem associated with climate change in the last three decades is global warming. It is an increase in Earth’s average surface temperature, mostly due to the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), water vapour, Nitrous oxide NO2, chloro-floro-carbons (CFCs), among others, into the atmosphere by human-induced activities such as increased fossil fuel consumption.

The main causes of climate change

Human’s increased use of fossil fuels – such as coal, oil and gas to generate electricity, transportation and power industries

Deforestation – because living trees absorb and store carbon dioxide

Increasingly intensive agriculture – which emits greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide

Industrialization – Various countries including Nigeria have built their economies on burning fossil fuels to provide electricity, transport and to develop industries.

The effects of climate change

  • Rising temperatures
  • Rising sea levels
  • Higher ocean temperatures
  • An increase in heavy precipitation (heavy rain and hail)
  • Shrinking glaciers
  • Drought

The indirect consequences of climate change, which directly affect us humans and our environment

  • An increase in hunger and water crises, especially in developing countries
  • Economic implications of dealing with secondary damage related to climate change
  • Health risks through rising air temperatures and heatwaves
  • Loss of biodiversity due to limited adaptability and adaptability speed of flora and fauna 
  • Ocean acidification due to increased Bicarbonate (HCO3) concentrations in the water as a consequence of increased CO₂ concentrations
  • Increasing spread of pests and pathogens
  • The need for adaptation in all areas (e.g. agriculture, forestry, energy, infrastructure, tourism, etc.)

Climate change is evident in increase in the occurrences of drought, desertification, rising sea levels, erosions, floods, thunderstorms, bush fires, landslides, radiation, and loss of biodiversity.

Need for Accelerating Urban Action for A Carbon-Free World

Today, cities account for about 75 per cent of the world’s energy consumption and are responsible for over 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The way cities are planned, built and managed, is key to reducing carbon emissions and keeping global warming within the limits set by the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The mission of Association of City Managers in Nigeria (ACMAN) is to promote equitable, liveable and sustainable cities for enhanced quality of life and healthy environment in Nigeria.

This is incidentally in line with The United Nation’s Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Development Goal 11 “to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” puts sustainable urbanization as one of the key priorities of the global agendas for development.

World Habitat Day (WHD) highlights the state of our towns and cities, as well as the basic right of adequate shelter for all. It also reminds us we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities, towns, and communities. This year’s theme is Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world.

This City walk was organized by the ACMAN, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, in Celebration of world Habitat Day, as part of the global Urban October activities, is because there is a need for Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world.

Actions for A Carbon-Free World

It has been estimated that GHG emissions from cities can be reduced by almost 90 per cent by 2050 using technically feasible, widely available mitigation measures. This means that city actions can potentially reduce global emissions by over 70 per cent.

A suggested by UNHABITAT, Reduction in global emission can be achieved through a combination of measures that target the urban form in expanding cities as well as the buildings, transport, material efficiency and waste management sectors.

Urban planning can steer urban growth towards low carbon urban development through advancing climatefriendly urban forms (compact, mixed land-use and connected and accessible cities) geared towards reducing vehicular trips and instead, encouraging the use of non-motorized transport such as walking and cycling.

Public and green areas play a key role as carbon sinks, in regulating temperature and reducing urban heat-island effects. Simultaneously, measures can be taken to improve access to basic services while reducing their carbon footprint. These could include better water demand management, waste-water treatment through nature-based solutions, better municipal waste management and material recovery, uptake of micro-grids, renewable energy and net-metering, retrofitting buildings to improve their energy efficiency, promoting a transition to shared and public transport and the uptake of electric mobility.

Other specific activities for accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world at individual levels should include to:

  • Plant trees
  • Reduce cutting trees
  • Reduce paper waste
  • Use electronic media
  • Use solar energy
  • Use energy saving bulbs
  • Turn off the lights not in use
  • Use public transportation often
  • Reduce air pollution
  • Recycle your waste
  • Save water from waste
  • Harvest rainwater
  • Don’t build on floodplains
  • Properly dispose waste

Together we can achieve accelerate A Carbon-Free World.

Thank you.

ACMAN ACMAN

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