First, I would like to state that this topic is a broad one that cannot be exhaustively treated in a single discussion. However, I will try to make the topic clearer within the scope of the questions I will be asked. Although I have developed my notes in consultation with some evidence from top development organisations, I wish to clarify that the opinions/views expressed are mine and not of those organisations. Thank you.
1. What is your perspective about Climate change
Simply defined, climate change can mean an extended deviation from the average (and normal) weather pattern usually because of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels, poor agricultural practices, and industrialisation.
Climate change is a global issue that must be addressed with a unity of purpose because its effects cut across borders. I believe that when we work together as global citizens we can achieve more and quicker in the fight against climate change. It is TEAM [Together Everybody Accomplishes More] for me in the battle against climate change.
2. How does it affect the economy of a nation
There are many ways climate change affects a nation’s economy. One thing is clear in that it is a global phenomenon. It means everyone and everything is affected, although with varying degrees. Many international development organisations have shown that low-income countries are more vulnerable to our changing climate with children, women, youths, and agri-food actors at the receiving end of this challenge. These categories of people are very important to any nation’s development, whether in agriculture or elsewhere, and as such, must be supported.
Specifically, it affects many sectors that support the growth and development of nations. Sectors like Agriculture, Health and so on are affected.
For instance, many people are going hungry due to climate change, especially in developing economies, according to the FAO of the United Nations. It establishes that our failure to act swiftly may push more people into poverty & hunger [See FAO’s Work on Climate Change – http://www.fao.org/3/CA2607EN/ca2607en.pdf], hence, we need to strengthen smallholders farmers’ resilience to climate change.
In terms of health, people will be vulnerable to more sicknesses from air pollution. Floods will increase in certain countries and nations with poor infrastructure will suffer most from the consequences of floods on their poor citizens. I wrote a non-research article about 4 years ago on “Climate and Health”, immediately after my undergraduate studies. You will find it published with the Nigerian Tribune on this link [https://tribuneonlineng.com/climate-health-healthy-climate-healthy-people/]. We must understand that a healthy climate will support the emergence of healthy people needed to drive economic growth.
3. What is the concept of the Economics of Climate change
Simply put, it is how we look at the economic costs and benefits of climate change including the measures we adopt to mitigate or adapt to its consequences.
In essence, this helps us to weigh the costs and benefits of climate change and the measures to combat its effect, thus, helping us see if it makes sense to act and why we must act NOW. According to Stern (2007), the worst level of market failure may result if the current trend in the level of emissions is sustained, thus, resulting in a significant decline in human well-being.
For deep understanding, I recommend a further reading of the “Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change”. You may find it in your relevant institutions’ libraries.
5. How do you think a nation should position itself in climate change mitigation.
I think both adaptation and mitigation strategies are important to this issue because our climate is already changing, and poor nations are already bearing the brunt of this menace. Therefore, adaptation is as critical as mitigation is. These two are the generally identified frameworks for responding to Climate change issues.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines mitigation as “reducing climate change itself, by lowering emissions of greenhouse gases” and adaptation as “taking action to reduce the adverse consequences of climate change, as well as to harness positive opportunities”.
Adaptation strategies should be holistic. It should be core to all economics policies, projects and aid efforts [OECD, 2010]. For instance, Khanal et al., (2021) posited that climate change adaptations have the potential to enhance smallholder farmers’ efficiency and productivity in food production, thus increasing the potential to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, governments and relevant stakeholders should encourage and support agri-food actors for climate change adaptations.
In terms of mitigation, the OECD (2010) explains that renewable energy technology, policies for improved energy efficiency, and the promotion of improved urban planning and public transportation may be important pathways to climate change mitigation and economic growth of nations.
NB: OECD (2010), Climate Change: Helping Poor Countries to Adapt Chapter 5
6. What are some of the current effects of climate change on the economy of a Nation
The currents effects are many and devasting. It affects our everyday lives, ecosystem, and livelihoods. The poor are the most affected. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, these effects taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.
Few of the areas where we see climate change currently hurting us are but not limited to:
- Melting of the polar ice caps is six times faster than in the 1990s, according to a report from YALE. This may be attributed to climate change.
- Intense heatwaves as we have witnessed in part of Europe in recent times. Hot regions are becoming even hotter.
- Negative health implications
- Floodings which result in economic losses
- Higher demand for energy resulting in increased energy bills for households. This is because as the temperature gets to the extremes, families will need to use heaters or air conditioners more to stay cool or warm as the case may be, thus spending more on electric bills that could have been used for other “productive ventures”.
- More people are going hungry. For instance, FAO’s reports on the locusts’ invasion in the horn of Africa reveals that smallholder farmers’ agricultural investment has been massively affected. This may likely lead to a rise in poverty level and food insecurity in this region.
- Tensions are rising in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa due to forced migration.
- I wrote about the effects of climate change on present-day Nigeria during my final year. You can find some relevant effects there. Read it here
7. What are the prospective effects of climate change on the economy of a Nation in the future of not well addressed
Many agree that effects could be long-term, meaning that unborn generations may suffer consequences of our current actions on the climate.
Some of these are:
- changes in precipitation patterns
- drought and heatwaves may rise drastically, leading to more poverty, hunger and deaths.
- Severe weather situations may begin to happen like we have never witnessed – it is happening already.
- Increased Inequality and poverty may become the order of the day. Low-income countries will be major losers.
- Africa and the Middle East may be hit with increased mortality from climate change by 2100 if we don’t act immediately [See Ten Facts about the Economics of Climate Change and Climate Policy – https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Environmental-Facts_WEB.pdf].
8. Any advice and final words.
The year 2021 must be a year of real actions, more actions, and less talk. If we fail to take actions, things could get worse. By taking continual actions, we will be able to build on the progress made thus far.