Knowledge Update

Global Warming and the Role of Individuals in Developing Countries

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Global warming is an issue that affects the entire world. It is one of the most pressing environmental problems facing humanity today, and its effects are felt in all parts of the globe. Global Warming can simply be understood as an increase in the average temperature of the earth. The term is used to describe climate change that is attributed to human activities. It was first used by Wallace Broecker, who published an influential paper titled “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” in 1975.
The current scientific consensus on climate change is that it is caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, which release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into Earth's atmosphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summarizes current scientific thinking with their best estimate of future climate change and its impacts. In 2007 they concluded that most of the observed warming since 1950 is likely due to anthropogenic causes. Many governments have signed agreements committing themselves to reductions in emissions, primarily through limitations on carbon dioxide emissions or increases in efficiency; there are also many non-government actions being taken as well. These agreements are generally considered insufficient to prevent significant global warming.
Human activities that cause global warming include burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil; clearing land for agriculture, forestry, and development; and driving vehicles. Burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which trap heat from the sun’s rays inside the Earth’s atmosphere causing Earth’s average temperature to rise. Clearing land also releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and reduces the number of trees available to remove carbon dioxide from the air. Driving vehicles emit pollutants that contribute to global warming. Reducing your reliance on fossil fuels, driving less, and supporting reforestation are all ways you can help reduce global warming caused by human activity.

Carbon dioxide is emitted when fossil fuels are burned for electricity, transportation, heating and industrial processes. Carbon dioxide is also emitted when we burn trees and other plants as part of deforestation. And carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere every time someone drives their car or flies on an aeroplane. Many scientists have said that these activities can cause changes to our planet’s climate over time that could disrupt weather patterns and alter ecosystems. We’re already seeing some of those effects today with things like more extreme storms and rising sea levels due to melting ice caps.

The federal government has said as of 25th October 2022, at least 603 people have been killed in floods across Nigeria with 1.3 million persons displaced from their communities.
Some of the states where deaths from floods have been reported include Kogi, Anambra, Kebbi, Delta, Bayelsa, and Jigawa with about 31 states said to have experienced flooding in 2022. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, revealed that about 82,053 houses had been totally decimated, 2,504,095 million persons were affected, and 332,327 hectares of land were completely damaged. Other statistics indicated that the number of injuries is 2,407, while houses that were partially destroyed totals 121,318, and farmland partially decimated is 108,392.

Though human activities in Africa are not wholly responsible for global warming, Africans and others in developing nations bear most of the brunt. In effect, deliberate efforts must be made in developing nations to limit the activities that could lead to further environmental degradation. There are a number of steps that individuals in Africa can take to reduce the effects of global warming. Firstly, it is important to increase awareness of the issue and its potential impacts. This can be done through education and outreach programmes which target both adults and children.

Secondly, energy efficiency measures should be adopted in order to reduce emissions from power generation and use. This includes using energy-efficient appliances, insulating homes and office buildings, and promoting the use of renewable energy sources such as solar power. Thirdly, individuals must desist from activities related to deforestation like cutting down trees without replacement. Again, water conservation efforts must be undertaken in order to reduce the amount of water used for irrigation and other purposes. This includes installing low-flow showerheads and toilets, using greywater systems, and planting drought-resistant vegetation. By taking these simple steps, Africans can make a significant contribution towards mitigating the effects of climate change.

Reference

Broecker, W. S. (1975). Climatic change: are we on the brink of a pronounced global warming?. Science189(4201), 460-463.

Bakam, A. (25TH Oct. 2022). Floods killed 612, injured 2,776 in 2022 – Minister. Punch.

 

Nyam Elisha YAKUBU is a lecturer II in the Department of International Relations of the School of Arts, Management and Social Science in Skyline University Nigeria. He holds an M.Sc. in International Relations and Strategic Studies, B.Sc. in Political Science both from the University of Jos, Nigeria.

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