NIGERIA, IN WESTERN Africa, has a population of over 144 million. It has an area of 356,669 sq. mi. (923,768 sq. km.). Nigeria is not heavily industrialized; however, it contributes carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere through gas flaring and deforestation. These actions have significantly added greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, contributing to global warming, as is apparent in Nigeria's coastal communities that have been threatened by rising sea levels.

Rising sea levels are a prominent consequence of increased surface temperatures, which could cause a submergence of low-lying communities, such as most settlements on Nigeria's Atlantic coastline from Lagos to the Niger Delta. Change in rainfall patterns, sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion, loss of biodiversity, drought, habitat loss, and freshwater depletion and pollution are possible changes Nigeria will face in the near future. In northern Nigeria, recent reports point to increased surface temperatures, which could result in droughts. The release of CO2 into the atmosphere through uncontrolled gas flaring (especially in the Niger Delta) is capable of exacerbating the fragile climate elements in the country. For instance, the humid, tropical areas of southern Nigeria could witness variation in climate elements (precipitation and temperature), resulting in warming of the region. Increase in rainfall and change in precipitation by 2-3 percent might be expected for the humid zones of Nigeria, and could increase evapotranspiration, leading to droughts.

Nigeria's environmental problems are worsened by excessive cultivation (resulting in loss of soil fertility), deforestation (at a rate of about 2.4 percent), oil spills, the burning of toxic wastes at dump sites, gas flaring, and increasing urban air-pollution due to transportation, use of petrol and diesel generators, and industrial activities. The amount of CO2 and sulfur IV oxide (SO2) emissions are growing; Nigeria was listed among 50 nations as one of the world's highest emitters of CO2 in the early 1990s, totaling about 96.5 million metric tons. Gas flaring has been another major source of anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases; a report estimated that over 70 percent of the 3.5 billion standard cubic ft. of associated gas produced in 2000 was flared. The World Bank also estimated that, by 2002, flaring in the country had contributed more greenhouse gases to the Earth's atmosphere than all other sources in sub-Saharan Africa combined. These practices continue, and the environmental concerns they create are alarming, leading to extreme weather damage and the risk of further problems such as the increased spread of disease.

SEE ALSO: Deforestation; Niger; Oil, Production of.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. T. Aloa and F. Abiodun, "Global Climate Threats," Guardian of Nigeria (June 11, 2007); T. Falola, The History of Nigeria (Greenwood, 1999); International Centre for Energy, Environment & Development, www.iceed (cited June 2007).

Nsikak Benson Oluseyi Olanrewaju Ajayi Covenant University, Nigeria

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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