Appraising The United Nation Framework For Addressing Climatic Change And Environmental Protection

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Appraising The United Nation Framework For Addressing Climatic Change And Environmental Protection


The study appraises the United Nation Framework for addressing climatic change and environmental protection.

The study adopted Mixed i.e. historical and survey research method as the scientific approach in the study. Mixed research design using qualitative and quantitative approach was divided into two broad categories, i.e. questionnaire and interview. While historical deals with the qualitative critically appraising the UN framework for climate change and environmental protection in Nigeria. Data collected was analyzed using frequency tables, percentages. Hence the secondary data which stemmed from books, journals, articles related to the study were analyzed using literature review and thematic analysis.

The findings revealed that; The UN Framework for Climate Change (UNFOCC) were faced with limitation, challenges and barriers;. The causes of climate change and its implication on the environment to be; disruption to food chains and species loss; reduction in agricultural productivity to increase in illness, morbidity and mortality rate; migration rates of birds and animals; changes in seasonal periodicity; declining soil carrying capacity and heat related problems on humans, crops and livestock, among others were identified as the causes and implication of climate change to the environment;. The role of United Nations in mitigating climate change and global warming showed that, to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere; express their commitment to protect the planet from degradation and take urgent action on climate change; helps to sustain environment and prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, among others were identified in the study.

The study concludes that, reducing the emissions of GHGs to a point where its focus in the atmosphere can be stabilized at an agreed level would help to delay and reduce the unfavorable consequences of climate change on natural systems and human development.

The study further recommends that; A global policy that will regulate climate change be formulated. There is the need to put in place good and effective enforcement mechanisms that will enhance the capacity of the United Nations Framework for Climate Change in the prevention of climate change. Government and other relevant stakeholders like UN should extensively fund research in climate change in tertiary institutions and other research institutes across the nation. Efficient database management system on climate change occurrence and related events should be developed.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Climate is a most important part of nature, the basis for human survival and development, a crucial resource, and the basic condition for sustainable economic and social development. Since the industrialization of human society from the 19th century, coupled with the marked increase in human activities, the already variable climate of the Earth has been influenced significantly by such human actions. The rise in global temperature is accelerating, with the warming climate significantly affecting natural ecosystems and the economic society globally.

The progress of humankind has been marked by a relationship with and interactions among people, the economy, society, and nature. In recent years, however, the recognition has grown that climate security has become a new and non – traditional issue. Therefore, actively responding to climate change and accelerating low-carbon development have become the consensus of the international community. However reviewing the evolution of the idea of development and the progress on the scientific cognition of climate change. The development of human beings encompasses evolving from natural beings into self-conscious ones. With the increasing knowledge about the Earth and human evolution, humans have gradually come to embrace the notion that development is global and includes all mankind. The vast progress brought about by the industrial civilization has inspired a human desire to “conquer nature” and, conversely, the damage done by the environmental crisis to human interests has deepened human understanding of industrial development. Air, water, and soil pollution and the degeneration of the ecology are contrary to the original targets of development and have, therefore, aroused rational thinking. Although using fossil energy has brought about substantial improvements in productivity, the excessive use of this resource has led to a significant burden on the environment and even the occurrence of natural disasters. In the mid-20th century, people with insight proposed a more in-depth discussion of the relationship between human beings and nature, resources and environment, and development and protection. A series of actual observations of and the substantial number of studies on global climate change from the 20th century to the present have been augmenting the scientific understanding of modern climate change. A comprehensive analysis of the latest global climate observation data confirmed that in 2017 the global surface average temperature was approximately 1.1 °C higher than was the pre-industrial era (1850–1900).

In 2017, the value of global ocean heat content was the highest since the start of modern ocean observation. Because of differences in natural geographical conditions and socioeconomic situations, the effects of and risk related to climate change on a global scale are heterogeneous; therefore, the responses vary as well. Furthermore, as regards the risk of future climate change to sectors, research results differ because of the difference in climate models, scenarios, data, and the like. However, the trend of the long-term climate risk is certain. It indicated that adverse effects of climate change on food production are more pronounced than the beneficial effects. Globally, the average biophysical production could be reduced by 17% by 2050 compared with that under a constant climate condition. By the end of this century, food production would have decreased by 0% – 2% per decade, whereas the projected food demand would have increased by approximately 14% per decade by 2050. The cropland area and cropping frequency are more sensitive to climate change than crop yield.

Climate warming has caused precipitation changes and snowmelt in many regions, particularly in the permafrost regions of high-latitude and high-altitude mountains. Warming also affects downstream runoff and water resources. At the same time, it promotes the potential evaporation of most land areas and accelerates the hydrological cycle. Currently, approximately one billion people live in watersheds with water shortages. By 2050, there would be more than 50 million to 3.1 billion people suffering water shortages because of climate change. With a global warming of 2 °C, the population at risk of serious water shortages would increase by 15%. During the 21st century, ecosystems would face a substantial risk of regional-scale mutations and irreversible changes, such as the Arctic tundra and Amazon forests. The geographical distribution, seasonal activities, migration patterns, and abundance of some biological species have changed already. Climate change directly affects plant physiology and ecosystem functioning, resulting in changes in global productivity and generating indirect effects Global temperature.

In the 21st century and beyond, combined with other pressures, most terrestrial and freshwater species would be at a higher risk of extinction. Studies have shown that between 1979 and 2013, climate change has caused an increase of 25.3% in wild forest fires worldwide, and the average length of the fire season has increased by 18.7%. This situation could worsen, thereby significantly affecting global ecosystems. Coastal areas could be affected adversely by submergence, flooding, and erosion, caused by the rise in sea level. By 2030, the global urban area of high-frequency coastal floods would have increased from 30% in 2000 to 40%. By 2100, more than half of the global delta regions would be inundated, considering the predicted sea-level rise.

In the absence of adaptation measures, the population of the global coastal zones at risk of flooding would reach 0.2%–4.6%, and the average GDP loss would be 0.3%–9.3%. In addition, climate change would affect human health and the socio-economic system. Moreover, it threatens the process of global sustainable development. Hence the role of United Nations in climate change is geared towards reducing emissions globally, this is however achieved through the UNFCCC.

The UNFCCC is a Rio convention adopted on the 9th of May 1992. It then entered into force on the 21st of March 1994, and has been ratified by 197 countries, it is the unique framework of the United Nation regarding climate change and its effect on mankind and how to address it. As knowledge and consensus grow within this framework, the agreement is supplemented by a series of protocols and amendments imposing progressively more specific and more stringent obligations on the treaty parties. The Vienna Convention did not directly impose controls on ozone depleting substances but instead created a process for the collection of information and the negotiation of a later agreement (the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer) containing specific emission limits. Similarly, the UNFCCC contains few specific requirements and, notably, no enforceable requirement for signatories to reduce the emission of GHGs. The parties announce a goal of stabilizing GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, and developed country parties agree to adopt national policies to mitigate climate change with the “aim” of returning to their 1990 levels of anthropogenic emissions of GHGs.

The UNFCCC was designed primarily as a means to begin and support a process for future, and more detailed, agreements about how to respond to climate change. Some of the most significant ways that the UNFCCC has influenced, and continues to shape, international climate negotiations includes the UNFCCC endorsing the concept of common but differentiated responsibility in the climate context. This means that while developing country parties are expected to contribute to climate mitigation, because of superior capacity to undertake mitigation and greater contribution to the problem of climate change as a result of historical emissions, developed countries are expected to “take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.” The Convention repeatedly references the need to promote sustainable economic growth, particularly in developing countries; developing countries are subject to less stringent reporting and other requirements than developed countries under the Convention, and the performance of developing country parties is expressly conditioned on the adequate provision of financial support and technology transfer from developed country parties. The UNFCCC also instituted a process for countries to generate and share data about domestic GHG emissions. Under the UNFCCC, all parties are required to submit national GHG inventories, and developed country parties are required to submit more detailed descriptions of mitigation policies and projections of the projected impact of these policies on GHG emissions. The data collected through the UNFCCC have proved important to developing scientific understanding of the climate problem, and later agreements have built upon the UNFCCC’s reporting requirements.

1.2 Problem Statement

The weight of scientific evidence indicates that human-induced global climate change is occurring and is having biophysical, social and economic impacts at local, national, regional and global scales. It is likely to become more severe over the coming decades. Like many developing countries, climate change has become a major threat to the attainment of sustainable human development in Nigeria. Climate change will exacerbate impacts such as droughts, floods, extreme weather events and sea level rise, which may contribute to food shortages, infrastructure damage and the degradation of natural resources upon which livelihoods are based. For Nigeria, a recent study by DFID (2013) predicts a possible sea level rise from 1990 levels to 0.3 m by 2020 and 1m by 2050, and rise in temperature of up to 3.2°C by 2050 under a high climate change scenario (IPCC Research, 2014). The scale of climate change will increase with high anthropogenic emissions, greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration, and average global temperature. With specific reference to Nigeria, DFID’s (2013) study predicts that climate change could result in a loss in GDP of between 6% and 30% by 2050, worth an estimated US$ 100 to 460 billion dollars. Because of the resultant disruption of economic activities, climate change is no longer just an environmental issues but a development issue. It has become a major threat to the sustainable development of Nigeria, like many other developing countries. Hence Nigeria supports United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) framework to respond to climate change from both mitigation and adaptation angles with strategic approaches from policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks and capacities.

In general, the effectiveness of the UNFCCC and other environmental policies in Nigeria as well as their potentials to support adaptation and mitigation measures is yet to be fully realized. Most of the policies remain very broad and are not in position to provide the country the required focused response to climate change concerns of the country. The policy framework for aligning human development and climate change management remains largely undeveloped in the country. The framework contains no enforcement mechanisms to help better the climate as there is no specific binding limits on how much greenhouse gas can be emitted from a country but Nevertheless, Government has recognized the need to adapt exiting national policies, strategies and plans to address climate change response. Hence the study will appraise the United Nations framework for addressing climatic change and environmental protection.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objective of this study is to appraise the United Nations framework for addressing climatic change and environmental protection. Hence the specific objectives are to:

  1. Appraise the implementation limitation, challenges and barriers facing United framework in addressing climatic change and environmental protection
  2. Examine the causes of climate change and its implication on the environment.
  3. Evaluate the role of United Nations in mitigating climate change and environmental sustainability for the development of society

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions are inquiries about certain issues which emanate from the objectives of the study and will be the focus of this research.

  1. What are the implementation limitation, challenges and barriers facing United framework in addressing climatic change and environmental protection
  2. To what extent is the causes of climate change and its implication on the environment?
  3. What are the roles of United Nations in mitigating climate change and environmental sustainability for the development of society?

1.5 Significance of Study

This study will be of significance in the following ways; it will create awareness on the existence of climate change, the factors and human activities that affect and alter it, this study will also be of tremendous benefits to various national government, scholars and students on the importance to implement and be committed to the UN policy on climate change and environmental protection, this study will also be of importance to environmentalist on enlightenment about practical steps that can be taken to reduce emissions and damage to the ozone layer.

1.6 Scope of Study

This study will adopt the use of mixed method design in examining and appraising the United Nations framework for addressing climatic change and environmental protection. Both primary and secondary data will be obtained.

1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

Climate Change:

It is also referred to as global warming, which is the rise in average surface temperature on Earth.

Environmental Protection:

This is the practice of protecting the natural environment by individuals or organizations.

Perma Frost:

This can be defined as any ground that has been frozen for at least 2 years straight and are most common in areas with high mountains.

Global Warming:

This can be defined as the gradual long term increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. It is influenced by changes in rain patterns, and changes in the prevalent severe weather conditions. It is an aspect of climate change related to the Greenhouse effect.

Greenhouse Effect:

This can be defined as an event caused by the increased emission of gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapor and methane in the air, where they trap the heat from the sun and cause a gradual rise in the earth’s temperature. This devastating process can be fuelled by the continued burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests which help absorb carbon dioxide.

1.8 Organization of the Study

The study is organized into five chapters which are as follows:

  • Chapter one is the introduction which provides a solid foundation for the further development of the research.
  • Chapter two will contain the appraisal of diverse research works that are related to this research and examine views on important theoretical literature.
  • Chapter three will show a critical analysis of the United Nation framework for addressing climatic change and environmental protection, the effects of the framework and its influence towards climate mitigation.
  • Chapter four will contain the solutions to improve climate mitigation and maximize the benefits of a safe climate.
  • Chapter Five will present the conclusion and summary on the subject matter, as well as recommendations, thoughts and views of the researcher.

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