Posted by Adaora Anozie

On January 29, 2016

–  FG May Introduce Carbon Emission Tax… 

From what is obtainable, the world is going green. In a short while, products would be assessed by standard organizations based on their compliance with green codes. Any one found wanting would be placed on a danger list and may even be denied of some trade benefits. How prepared is Nigeria in this regard? AgroNigeria writes: 

Climate and agriculture are like Siamese twins; as the survival of one is largely dependent on the other. So, the ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ (CSA) being propagated by Conference of Parties – COP 21- among others, is germane and highly apt for the advancement of agriculture in Nigeria.
Carbon emissions immensely contribute to climate change, and these can have serious consequences on humans and their environment. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, carbon emissions, in the form of carbon dioxide, make up more than 80 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted in the United State.

Carbon Emissions: Agriculture’s Albatross 

Changing weather affects the agricultural industry and human food supply. Thus, carbon emissions invariably contribute to increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation, changing the growing conditions for food crops in many areas. These emissions raise global temperatures by trapping solar energy in the atmosphere. This in effect, alters water supply, weather pattern, changes the growing season for food crops and threatens coastal communities with increasing sea levels.

According to the United States Global Change Research Program, carbon emissions are causing warming in California’s Central Valley that is projected to significantly reduce the yields of tomatoes, wheat, rice, maize and sunflowers in this region.

Major changes in crop yield will expectedly cause food prices to rise around the world. In addition, climate change influenced by carbon emissions forces animals – many of which are hunted as food – to migrate to higher altitudes or northern habitats as the climate warms.

The determination to ensure a reduction of carbon emissions’ effect on agricultural products among others, gave rise to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 which held in Paris, France, last December.

COP 21 to the Rescue

The world forum was a crucial one because of the need to reduce global warming to below 2°C . Building on the achievement of COP 20 held in Lima, Peru, COP 21 sought to make an even greater international commitment towards climate change.

With this in mind, an agreement tagged ‘Paris Agreement’ was birthed at the conference. It was adopted by member states to reduce emissions, as part of the methods for reducing greenhouse gas.

According to France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, the agreement is an “ambitious and balanced” plan and a ‘historic turning point” in the goal of reducing global warming.

The conference which centred on global warming, climate change, climate smart agriculture and renewable energy, considered amongst other things, the import of climate change on food security as a result of altered growing season, rainfall patterns and flood disaster. The place of renewable energy as critical mitigation strategy in climate change was also deliberated upon.

The birth of the conference was sequel to the international political response to climate change which began at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where the ‘Rio Convention’ included the adoption of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

This convention set out a framework of action aimed at stabilising atmospheric concentrations of Green House Gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The UNFCCC, which entered into force on 21 March, 1994, now has a near-universal membership of 195 parties. The main objective of the annual Conference of Parties (COP) is to review the Convention’s implementation.

The first COP took place in Berlin in 1995; and significant meetings since then have included COP3, where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted; COP11, where the Montreal Action Plan was produced, COP15, in Copenhagen, where an agreement to success Kyoto Protocol was unfortunately not realized; and COP17 in Durban, where the Green Climate Fund was created.

Speaking on the importance of COP, Director, Carbon Exchange Trade, Lagos, Mr Innocent Azih noted that the conference provided a platform for the meeting of parties who have been on negotiation for climate change agreement for 21 years.

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