Sokoto — British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Bob Dewar, yesterday challenged religious leaders and faith-based organisations in the country to raise awareness on the impact of climate change by ensuring that the environment is protected.
He also said scientists have estimated that climate change will cause catastrophic changes over the next 100 years while crop yields in Africa will decline by 50 percent by the year 2020, if no concrete action is taken to tackle the scourge.
Speaking at a lecture titled 'Climate Change and Faith' held at Usmanu Danfodio University , Sokoto, Dewar maintained that religious leaders have a strategic role to play in galvanising their followers for action and educate them about climate change and its debilitating consequences on the environment.
"In Nigeria, religious leaders and followers have a moral responsibility in protecting the environment. Faith plays a critical role in every one's life, it unites Nigerians and faith leaders can have a material impact by ensuring that the environment is respected.
"Climate change is the single greatest challenge that the world is currently facing.
All religions believe in service to humanity, in actions that can help one's neighbour, thus in the presence of these difficulties, it becomes necessary that religious groups, civil societies and religious communities work together so that transformation can take place," he stated.
He lamented that the awareness on climate change is still very low in the country, pointing out that the poor are least responsible for the emissions but are largely punished and affected by global warming.
The British High Commissioner noted that people are really witnessing the consequences of climate change as rainfall patterns have become less predictable, while flooding and drought have increased to a very large extent.
Dewar revealed that the Sahel, which Nigeria is a key part, has been subject to the greatest drought that mankind has ever seen while farmlands and grazing reserves have been depleted, pointing out that climate change will endanger food production thereby leading to famine and starvation.
According to him, it was in view of the negative consequences that, the British government recently pledged to reduce carbon emissions in the United Kingdom by 80 percent by the year 2050.