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MNITP, RTP Senior Lecturer, Urban and Regional Planning Department Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos and Akinpelu, A. A. MGARP, MNAPM Principal Consultant, Strategic Management Consulting, Lagos ABSTRACT Climate change, a change in global weather condition due to human activities and natural variability is one the fundamental challenges of the world while the urban poor, the downtrodden component of human society have been identified as being at the receiving end of climate change impact due to their defenselessness. The weakness and inadequate capacity of urban poor to cope with this change in climatic condition demand urgent attention. In this vein, this paper examines and assesses the level of urban poor susceptibility to climate changes with the view of proffering adaptive strategies to mitigate and help the urban poor adjust to the impacts of climate change. Keywords: Climate Change, Vulnerability, Urban Poor, Adaptive Strategies INTRODUCTION The environment is home to man, man derives sustenance from the environment; hence any negative impact on the environment will affect man. Adebayo (2010) noted that “climate change is a major environmental factor and its goes a long way to dictate so many thing about the environment and human survival”. Climate change is a change in global weather condition due to human induced activities and natural variability. Climate change has become a widely discussed phenomenon due to its devastating negative consequences on human population and the ecosystem. Though there has been skeptism on the issue of climate change, Ujah (2009) noted that this was laid to rest in 2007 following IPCC’s work and scientific evidence associated with climate change. It is no longer an issue that the world’s climatic condition is changing. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the 20th century was the warmest since records began the 1990’s the warmest decade, 1998 the warmest year. Spurgeon, Wasilewski, Ikpi and Foster (2009) noted that Nigeria is likely to be one of the most negatively impacted countries in the world as a result of climate change. To these authors, the country’s risks are
Ambrose and Ehrhart (2009) stated that the world’s poorest people are most vulnerable to climate change. sustainability of development and well-being is at stake. with more extreme weather events occurring. environment and the disrupt the social economic life style of man. Salami and Tadross (2011) Nigeria is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. helplessness. seasonality and exposure of population and infrastructure. and coping and adaptive capacity. coastal erosion. equity in terms of resource distribution and gender. one is that the consequences of climate change will be felt most acutely by the world’s poorest people and two is that in the long run. these range from tsunamis. hurricanes and recent intermitting rain in some part of Nigeria which led to flooding and lost of human lives and destruction of property worth millions of naira. defenselessness.particularly high due to it low lying coastline that is highly populated such as Niger Delta and Lagos coastal areas. Adebimpe (2011) noted that the magnitude of vulnerability varies in terms of geographical location. The poor are defenseless. Vulnerability could be attributes to different conditions. The weakness of urban poor and their glaring inadequate capacity to cope with consequences of climate change impacts requires concerted efforts. political and institutional mechanism. Acording to Abiodun. It is widely accepted that before adaptive strategies can be developed and implemented. natural resource capital. Dervis (2009) noted that there are two fundamental reasons to address climate. economic and social conditions. weakness and seemingly hopelessness in the face of ravaging challenges. The purpose of this paper examines and assesses the level of urban poor vulnerability to climate change and proffered mitigative and adaptive measures to urban poor vulnerability to climate change. Vulnerability is a state of undue exposure. storms. the impact of climate change is glaring. In recent times. both developed and developing countries. heat waves. 2 . and often times lack the wherewithal to act in the face of devastating effect of climate change. However. in this Daze. and degraded air quality affect human health. hurricanes. drought. loss of land productivity. among the rich and poor. more variability in timing and intensity of rainfall and higher temperatures over the whole country The impact of climate change is felt across different part of the world. desertification. it is worth to note that the impact of climate change is far more on the poor due to their financial incapacitation which makes them vulnerability to climate change impacts. sea-level rise. the vulnerability of a system in question must be assessed.
the anthropogenic factor in climate change involves human activities that either emit large amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that depletes the ozone layer or activities that reduce the amount of carbons absorbed from the atmosphere. Change in climatic condition occur due to variations in different climate parameters such as cloud cover. 2003 cited in Ozor. by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties. he thus opines that “climate encompasses not only the average weather condition. However. How do we help the urban poor in the face of their apparent defenseless against ranging impact of climate change is the focus on section five and the paper is concluded in section six. changes in the obliquity of the plane of ecliptic and changes in orbital procession while the extra-terrestrial factors are solar radiation quantity and quality among others. The human factors that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases include industrialization. section one introduces the paper. section two highlights on conceptual issues relevant to the focus of the paper. urbanization and 3 . etc (Federal Ministry of Environment. Adebayo (2010) noted that defining weather as the weather condition of a place for a long period of time is erroneous. The natural processes are the astronomical and the extraterrestrial factors. Climate change is caused by two basic factors. and that persists for an extended period typically decades or longer” this could be due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.The paper is largely based on reviewed literature pertaining to climate change. burning of fossil fuel. 2009b). The astronomical factors include the changes in the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit. RELATED ISSUES Climate is defined as long-term weather patterns of an area over a considerable time usually between 30 -35 years. precipitation. which include natural processes (biogeographical) and human activities (anthropogenic). The paper is divided into six sections. vulnerability and mitigative and adaptive strategies. The impacts of climate change on human population and ecosystem forms the core of section three while section four of the paper did an assessment of urban poor vulnerability to climate change.g. but also the deviation or variability from such average conditions. gas flaring. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) define climate change as “a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e. On the other hand. temperature and vapour pressure.
population explosion. houses. NOAA (2005) noted that up to a quarter of the carbon dioxide emissions (a factor in climate change) to the atmosphere can be attributed to land-use change. Industrialization and the release of greenhouse gases are the major contributing factors to the depletion of the ozone layer and its associated global warming and climate change. invariably there is a link between physical planning activities and climate change being witnessed across different landscape of the world. human activities such as construction of highways. while human activities that reduce the amount of carbon sinks are deforestation. Deducing from the authors explanation on the causes of climate chance. 2010 4 . alterations in land use. Odjugo (2010) conceptualis the natural and anthropogenic causal factors of climate change (see figure 1). deforestation. water pollution and agricultural practices (IPCC 2007). Figure 1: Causal factors of climate change Source: Adapted from Odjugo.agriculture. anthropogenic factors like urbanization. Odugbo (2010) noted that researchers have shown that for the past few decades. industrial estate development and urbanization process result to climate changes.
9 percent in 2010. Palutikof. rainstorm. households and communities is their access to and control over natural. and development choices that will lead to low emissions in the long term (Food and Agriculture Organisation. to moderate potential changes. based on international estimation. The poor have particularly limited access to such resources. and financial resources. which may be a consequence of several factors and may be due to inherent weaknesses of these communities or be a consequence of external threats. The adaptive capacity of individuals or social groups varies. van der Linden and Hanson. 5 . 2011). the percentage of Nigerian living in abject poverty is 60. Hence. which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities (Parry. Mitigation of climate change involves actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester or store carbon in the short term. Some of the characteristics of adaptation strategies are: orientation towards longer term livelihoods security. 2008). Adaptation is defined as “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects. Adaptive capacity is the ability of communities and individuals to adjust to climate change. Ambrose and Ehrhart (2009) one of the most important factors shaping the adaptive capacity of individuals. social. Canziani. it denotes the inadequate means or ability to protect oneself against the ad-verse impacts of natural events and. continuous process and the usage of resources efficiently and sustainably. to take advantage of opportunities or to cope with the consequences.Vulnerability is susceptibility to harm or damage potential resulting from climate change induced events (disaster – flood. vulnerability entails the inability of a system to cope or absorb stress or impacts and to recover from the effect of the event. According to 2011 National Bureau of Statistics in Nigeria. human. to recover quickly from their effects. tsunami etc). Jigyasu (2002) opined that vulnerability is a set of negative conditions within a community. Adaptation to climate change involves deliberate adjustments in natural or human systems and behaviours to reduce the risks to people’s lives and livelihoods. physical. Vulnerability defines which populations or areas are more likely than others to suffer negative consequences of climate-related phenomena Urban poor are people categorized as living below poverty line. According to Dazé. and is dependent upon their access to and control over resources. living below one US dollar per day categorized one as poor. on the other hand. and as such are most vulnerable to climate change and least able to develop viable adaptation strategies (Building Nigeria’s Response to Climate Change. 2007).
have irregular or low income. mostly rural habitant and women. Also vulnerable group have characteristics such as being very poor. furthermore. Urban poor are also unable to effectively address climate change health induced challenges due to the harsh weather condition. These are groups are without substantial support and in severe and chronic poverty. Dervis (2009) opined that climate change projections points to intensified tropical 6 . Vulnerable groups are section of the society that are less privilege and with limited capacity and resilience. with limited defenses in case occurrence of serious events or shocks. Aledare and Okesoto (2010) noted that vulnerable groups are usually the poor representing the most vulnerable in the society because they not have the financial capacity to respond to challenges as they arise. expose us to fiercer storms or more severe droughts and likely force large numbers of people to move from their homelands. also these set of people live more on marginal lands. change where we can find water. as noted by Brown and Crawford (2008) “climate change will redraw our coastlines. IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE Impact of climate change varies from geographic location. flood plains and other environmentally sensitive areas which are highly susceptible in the event of climate change induced disaster. affecting developing and developed countries and all sectors of society. economic disadvantage. some of these challenges are excessive heat resulting in rashes on body.URBAN POOR VULNERABILITY The high vulnerability of urban poor to climate change could be attributed to their limited financial resources constituting a hindering factor to the poor access to decent housing units and good environment. and climate change endangers human health. alter where we can grow food. tuberculosis etc. lack productive assets. the author noted that the poor will also suffer from heightened water stress and scarcity. living in poor housing unit. Urban poor are particularly vulnerable to impact of climate change as their settlements are often located on marginal land and comprises of sub-standard housing and infrastructure. Cline (2007) predicted that developing countries will suffer an average 10-25 percent decline in agricultural productivity. unable to take advantage of profitable opportunities if they emerge. hence they resort to living in housing units which are unable to withstand climate change induced disaster. lack access to capital resources. Urban poor are also one of the components of vulnerable group. it cut across different continents of the world.
Based on this. more frequent floods and drought. In his report on climate change effects in Nigeria. it expected to be more fierce on urban poor due to their financial incapability to cope with the consequential impact of climate change which the rich could exhibit mitigative and adaptive measures. desertification. such as Lake Chad the disappearance of some species of flora and fauna. the drying up of most lakes and natural ponds in Nigeria. He further noted that the primary direct effects of climate change are an increase of droughts and floods. however. 7 .storms. ii. According to FMRH&UD (2008) climate change is a serious environmental threat and it noted impact of climate change in Nigeria as: i. the author estimated that globally. and land degradation. Ozor (2009) is of the opinion that the variation in weather and climate has led to a lot of devastating consequences and effects in various parts of the country.6 kilometers per year. heat stress. one could also state that some of the internal crisis in Nigeria is an indirectly caused by climate change impact on the people. on fragile hillsides or flood prone river banks and these set of people are most vulnerable these extreme weather events. These include flooding. more seasonal peaks in river flow. also the effective harsh weather in the northern part of Nigeria has led to dryness of waterbeds and resulted to movement of people to the south causing tension and conflicts between original inhabitants and the newcomers. iii. Dervis (2009) stated that climate change is likely to adversely affect the health status of millions of people with low adaptive capacity. drought. over one billion people live in urban slums. sea level rise. changes in climate variability (rainfall events may become more erratic in some regions). Hence. Akingbade (2010) noted that due to the harsh weather condition agricultural activities has been affected. Ujah (2009) opines that climate change impacts and consequences have the potential to wipe out development gains and significantly reduce the standard of living and thus concludes that climate change is one of the most significant challenges threatening the realization of MDGs in Nigeria and other developing nations of the world. According to Eboh (2009) climate change manifests in a number of ways. erosion. these include: changes in average climatic conditions (some regions may become drier or wetter on average). Sahara desert encroachment speed at the rate of 0. Though climate change is expected to impact on both he rich and poor. pests and diseases. and a higher probability of stronger tropical storms. changes in the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events and changes in sea levels. erratic rainfall patterns.
he noted that the negative impact of climate change-related disasters can pose a development challenge for both the 7-point agenda/NEEDS II and the MDGs. selecting scenarios. The general environmental effects of climate change include. the adaptive capacity or resiliency approach. and low institutional capacity. are likely to suffer the most because of their geographical location. testing the method and sensitivity. natural hazards or risk approach assesses vulnerability in terms of biophysical changes to a system. VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT OF URBAN POOR TO CLIMATE CHANGE Before any successful adaptation strategy can be developed. 8 . assessing biophysical and socio-economic impacts. rise in sea level due to melting of ice caps. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. selecting a method. these are hazards. and increase in intensity of atmospheric disturbances such as thunderstorms and line squalls (Anyadike. Concluding this section. natural hazards or risk approach. The final approach. assesses how vulnerable a policy is to climate change impacts. For a health perspective on methods for assessing climate change vulnerability. as well as their greater reliance on climate-sensitive renewable natural resources sectors like agriculture (Eboh. the magnitude of the climate change was clearly depicted by Ujah (2009). reduced rainfall amounts in some areas and increased rainfall amounts in others. low incomes. leading to flooding. The vulnerability approach assesses vulnerability in terms of the values at risk to the hazard. policy-based. assessing autonomous adjustments. and hurt the poor in the short run while reducing their chances of escaping poverty in the long run. and the policy approach. Flooding of coastal areas like the Bar Beach in Lagos.. Such disasters can hinder economic growth. and evaluating adaptation strategies (Carter et al. 2009). the vulnerability approach. changes in dates of onset and end of the rainy season. 2009). A hazards. for example Antartica. Lynch et al. including Nigeria. (2008) identifies four approaches to vulnerability assessment.iv. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identifies a seven-step method for vulnerability assessment. Assessing vulnerability with a focus on the availability of resources or the ability to cope with change to a biophysical system is an adaptive capacity/resiliency approach. cause sharp increases in poverty. the vulnerabilities of the system must be assessed through a vulnerability assessment process. 2007). these are: defining the problem. slow the pace of human development.
discussions with experts or thought experiments. The methods also encouraged the use of climate scenarios to reduce uncertainty in estimating future vulnerability. iv. In conducting vulnerability assessment for urban poor. then evaluate the adaptation strategies Downing and Patwardhan’s (2005) identified a list of five steps activities for conducting a vulnerability assessment. review potential health impacts of climate change. ii. identify gaps and adaptation strategies to address them to further reduce health impacts. Many aim to achieve this level of understanding by engaging stakeholders and those who will be most affected by the impacts of climate change. these are: determine the scope of the assessment. describe current distribution of climate-sensitive disorders. Finally integrate the assessment results with adaptation policy Commenting on the above vulnerability assessment measurement. The majority states the need to define the scope of the assessment. (2006) iii. Next identify vulnerable groups and any assessment barriers. these are i.. socio-economic conditions and any existing adaptation strategies. Structure the assessment. with stakeholders agreeing on definitions.Berry et al. (2008) noted that Health Canada has used a seven step guide. This paper adopt the steps of Downing and Patwardhan’s (2005) in assessing urban poor vulnerability to climate change based on the premise that poor). assess current vulnerability of the selected system by examining climate hazards. identify current strategies/policies to decrease the number of climate-sensitive disorders. frameworks and objectives. noted although the assessment methods are for very different sectors it is interesting to note their similarities. Assess future vulnerability through case studies. the first steps is develop a framework for the process through interaction with relevant stakeholders reaching consensus 9 it makes provision for identification of the group the assessment is meant for. that is the vulnerable group (urban . making sure definitions and frameworks are understood and agreed upon. Lindley et al. create an assessment report. v. Doing so ensures an assessment that is informed by both expert and experiential knowledge of both the biophysical and social systems. use future climate change scenarios to estimate future health impacts.
INSULATING URBAN POOR AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS The issue of climate change impact on urban poor requires concerted efforts among policy makers and decision makers. relevant case studies and expert discussion. there is need to effectively implement zoning and planning regulations. this has to be taken beyond rhetoric level. The third step in the process of vulnerability assessment involve the assessment of current vulnerability of the system through by examination of climate hazards. socio-economic conditions and any existing adaptation strategies. it was noted that the warning was just few hours before the occurrence of the phenomenon. their socio-economic profile. when the people have financial wherewithal they could be able to adapt well to impact of climate change. to guide against development of marginal lands and environmental 10 . among which include the frameworks and objectives of assessment. there is need to take urgent steps to insulating the poor against the effects of climate change. Also government need to do more in the area of poverty alleviation. this would be largely sourced from relevant secondary source literature among vulnerability such literature include: national adaptation strategy and plan of action on climate change for Nigeria and reports on government initiated study on climate change and vulnerability.of issues that pertain to the assessment process. a major tool that could be used in this is Delphi technique to gather anonymous expert opinion. This could take the form of provision of climate proofed infrastructural facilities in areas inhabited by urban poor and enactment of relevant regulatory framework to combat the defenseless of the poor. The final step is to use the result of the process to develop an adaptation strategy to address the vulnerability of urban poor to climate change. Some other measures that could be taken include engaging on constructive urban slum upgrading. since these set of people often lack the capacity to take necessary actions against the impact of climate change. There is need to ensure better and well coordinated early warning system. this aid the development of appropriate adaptation strategies for these set of people. in recent tornado occurrence in the United States of America lives where saved when residents where warned early. it is well noted that household with secure income can invest well mitigative and adaptive measures towards impact of climate change. the subject (urban poor) future vulnerability will be assessed based on the outcome of their profiling. Urban planners need to effectively deplore physical planning tools to address urban poor vulnerability to impact of climate change. Fourthly. The second steps involve identification of the subject of assessment.
youth and children sensitive sustainable growth Addressing climate change issues and impact should take a multi-sectoral. Building up resilience to increasing climate variability is the most significant climate challenge facing countries. Adaptation to climate risks and change is increasingly important in developing countries. Strengthening capacity for policy research and management of development-climate linkages. Knowledge: promote policy research and knowledge. and monitor national and state mitigation impacts. Dissemination of targeted information to ensure that urban poor have a better understanding of climate change and is consequences. for advocacy. 2009). Strengthening private-public partnership for the development of viable clean energy technology-based commercial activities as well as climate mitigation business. including Nigeria. vi. Countries will need to factor climate risks and climate change adaptation into their developing planning. and business and the community iii. Develop institutional capacity to estimate. in same vein. ministries.sensitive areas by urban poor. provision of critical infrastructures such as good drainage network and localized building standards. The impact of climate change on urban poor could be effectively mitigated through enhanced planning activities. v. he stated that: i. and consider the range of interventions that will increase their resilience to climate change (Eboh. and coordinated participatory approach across several government federal. Strengthen national mitigation and adaptation planning through formulation of integrated master plans in different sectors and regions that are critical for both 11 . departments and stakeholders. the government need to take a proactive measures in provision of affordable and decent housing units and livable environment to urban poor. vii. report. iv. state. Strengthening of institutional arrangement for a coordinated approach to climate change response. central to this is the creation of awareness of what needs to be done in the face of ranging impact o climate change. viii. ii. Climate change response must ensure equitable and gender. while Odele (2010) proffered the following measures at addressing the issue of climatic change in Nigeria. awareness raising and improved education.
REFERENCES 12 . or limited access to basic services (Dazé. and ii.climate change adaptation and for low carbon economic development. In order to reduce urban poor vulnerability to climate change. such as poor governance. 2009) According Food and Agriculture Organisation (2008) steps for selecting adaptation comprise of collation of local. these are: i. iv. Disaster risk reduction strategies to reduce the impact of hazards. introduced and improved adaptation options. Ambrose and Ehrhart. Promotion of climate-resilient livelihoods strategies in combination with income diversification and capacity building for planning and improved risk management. Capacity development for local civil society and governmental institutions so that they can provide better support to communities. Synthesizing to potentially suitable adaptation options for location specific conditions. scientific validation of adaptation options and Local prioritization/selection of adaptation options for field testing CONCLUSION From all indications as revealed by different literature reviewed. there is need to conduct a comprehensive vulnerability assessment and use this as platform for the development of appropriate adaptive capacity on urban poor to reduce their exposure to climate change impacts. it is glaring that climate change is inimical to human health and sustainable development. Advocacy and social mobilization to address the underlying causes of vulnerability. some of these adaptive measures were proffered in this paper. (b) state and local-government-specific action plans to respond to climate change To address current urban poor vulnerability through building of adaptive capacity involves four inter-related strategies. hence the need to address this ravaging global phenomenon most especially among the urban poor because they have limited access to resources that could facilitate adaption to climate change impact. households and individuals in their adaptation efforts. iii. lack of control over resources. particularly on vulnerable households and individuals.
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