A whisper from the woods

On Effect of Climate Change on Soil and Water in Nigeria

Aug 23, 2023

From all around the world we hear reports about extreme weather events, from wildfires, to floods, to extreme drought.

July 2023 was the hottest month in record.

Imam Maiyaki, our regional coordinator in Nigeria, comes back with an article about climate change and its impact in his country and globally.

On Effect of Climate Change on Soil and Water in Nigeria

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. The world is already seeing the effects of global warming, including rising sea levels, more frequent and severe weather events, and a decline in biodiversity.

The scientific consensus is clear: human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, are the main drivers of climate change.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a series of reports over the past few decades, providing evidence that climate change is happening and that urgent action is needed to mitigate its impacts. The latest report, released in August 2021, warned that the world is dangerously close to reaching the 1.5°C temperature rise limit agreed upon in the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement, signed in 2015 by 196 countries, aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, with a goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C. To achieve this, countries have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change.


Climate Change in Nigeria

Climate change is having significant impacts on soil and water in Nigeria, as in other parts of the world. The country is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its high dependence on agriculture and limited water resources.

Climate change is also affecting water resources in Nigeria, with increasing water scarcity and reduced water quality due to higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns. This has negative impacts on drinking water supply, agriculture, and ecosystems, as well as increasing the risk of water-borne diseases.

In addition, flooding is becoming more frequent and severe, leading to the loss of lives, property, and infrastructure. Furthermore, the rise in sea levels due to melting ice caps and glaciers can lead to saltwater intrusion, contaminating freshwater resources and making them unsuitable for human consumption. This can lead to conflicts over water resources between communities and nations.

‘Overwhelming’ disaster leaves more than 600 people dead, in Nigeria // Image source: BBC News


One of the major impacts of climate change on soil in Nigeria is desertification. The northern part of the country is experiencing increasing levels of drought and desertification due to rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall, leading to soil degradation, erosion, and loss of biodiversity. This has negative impacts on agriculture and food security, as well as the livelihoods of many communities.

“Desertification is a type of land degradation in drylands in which biological productivity is lost due to natural processes or induced by human activities whereby fertile areas become arid.” // Source: Wikipidia

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This requires a transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. It also requires improvements in energy efficiency, changes in land use, and the adoption of sustainable agriculture and forestry practices.

In addition to reducing emissions, adaptation measures are also needed to cope with the impacts of climate change that are already happening, such as sea level rise, heat waves, and more intense storms. These measures include improving infrastructure to withstand extreme weather events, developing early warning systems, and promoting nature-based solutions, such as wetland restoration and mangrove planting.

Climate change is a global challenge that requires a collective response. Governments, businesses, and individuals all have a role to play in addressing this issue. The urgency of the situation demands immediate action, and solutions are available.

The Nigerian government has recognized the need to address the impacts of climate change on soil and water, and has developed policies and programs to mitigate and adapt to these impacts. These include initiatives to promote sustainable land management, reforestation, and water conservation, as well as efforts to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, more needs to be done to address the urgent challenges posed by climate change in Nigeria.

In conclusion, climate change is having a significant impact on soil and water, which are essential components of our planet’s ecosystems. Soil erosion, nutrient depletion, desertification, and reduced agricultural productivity are just a few of the consequences of climate change on soil. Meanwhile, changing rainfall patterns, droughts, floods, and sea-level rise are affecting the availability and quality of freshwater resources. It is crucial that we take action to mitigate the effects of climate change on soil and water to ensure the long-term sustainability of our planet and the well-being of all its inhabitants.

It is up to us to take the necessary steps to protect our planet and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.


Imam Maiyaki wrote from Kaduna


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