The Lagos State Government has once again blazed the trail in the fight against climate change as it holds the Fourth Climate Change Summit with the theme Vulnerability and Adaptability in Nigeria: Lagos State Agriculture, Industry and Health Sectors in focus.
Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, at the opening of the summit said that the State had successfully hosted the climate change summit for four consecutive years to discuss the effects of global warming and climate change, as well as proffer solutions to them.
Speaking further, he said that the State’s approach to the challenge of climate change had been deliberate, strategic and focused with progressive plans.
On the importance of the summit, Governor Fashola asserted that ‘’ the underlying solution to climate change is knowledge, preparation and adaptation. Therefore, knowledge, information and our relentless resolve to dominate the earth will be the weapons we need to fight and win this war. When the ordinary man in the street is beginning to acknowledge that there is a problem , then it makes it easier for us to join hands together to fight it’’.
The Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello added that the annual summit was an effort by the State Government to create a forum for awareness on the menace of climate change and further sensitize the world about the looming dangers of its effects in all areas of human endeavour.
Mr. Bello also remarked that the expected outcome of the successive climate change summits was to attract the support of all national governments towards environmental sustainability.
He added that Lagos State, being a trail blazer among other States in the fight against climate change, was ever committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through Green Economy Technologies, capturing of methane generated from solid waste for electricity and alternative energy, as well as other forms of waste to wealth programmes.
The Commissioner emphasized that ‘’part of this commitment is the technical review of the vehicular emission regulation, proposed for year 2013 and the review of the final draft of the Lagos State Environmental Law whose passage into law will have tremendous impact in achieving a sustainable environment in Lagos State’’.
He added that the commitment of the State Government was also reflected in its participation at various international summits such as the C40 Cities Summit in Sao Paulo Brazil and the Resilience Cities Summit in Germany, the aim of which was to afford the State Government the opportunity to share best practices in mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
Participants at the three- day summit among other several resolutions reached, urged the Federal Government to take the lead in integrating all States in the country into its efforts to combat the challenges of climate change and that good synergies between policy-makers, scientists, the citizens and other stakeholders be promoted at all levels of governance in the country.
They also called on the Lagos State Government to strengthen its research capacity to gather, analyse and disseminate climate related data such as high resolution digital elevation land-use patterns, meteorological and oceanographic data etc, to facilitate the determination of climate change risks and impacts while also developing a comprehensive coastal adaptation strategy, identifying cost effectiveness and appropriate adaptation options for different areas and infrastructure at risk.
It was also agreed that there should be increased synergy in climate change policies and among various levels of governance (Federal, State and Local), and that Lagos State should collaborate with the Federal Government to establish an enabling environment, including tax incentives, that will facilitate large-scale adoption of LPG cookers and accessories as well as other energy efficient cooking appliances at affordable costs to the peri-urban and rural households.
The participants also added that for the effective management of Lagos State coastal and marine ecosystem in the face of climate change, the State should invest in the empowerment of research institutions to predict local impacts, partner with adjoining states to build regional response capabilities and flexibilities, prepare for adjustment to shoreline changes and protect the livelihood of the affected people, particularly the fishery sector.