Improving Urban Residents Awareness Of The Impact Of Household Activities On Climate Change

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Improving Urban Residents Awareness Of The Impact Of Household Activities On Climate Change


Abstract


The main objective of this study is to determine the impact of household activities on climate change. The study involved the analysis of rainfall and temperature data with a view to establishing climate variability. The primary source of data collected was mainly the use of a structured questionnaire which was designed to elicit information on the improving urban residents’ awareness of the impact on the climate change impact. A total of 134 respondents were selected from the population figure out of which the sample size was determined. Data collected will be analyzed using frequency table, percentage and mean score analysis while the nonparametric statistical test (Chi-square) was used to test the formulated hypothesis using SPSS (statistical package for social sciences). Findings from the study revealed that majority of the respondents were of the opinion that there is a significant impact of climate change impacts on household, there are significant impacts of mitigation measures required to control climate change and that there are some adaptation options that would be used to withstand the impact. Therefore, it is suggested that the government of developing and less developed countries should invest in the development and production of economical and environment-friendly alternative sources of household energy such as biomass, natural gas, wind and solar energy in quantity that meet energy demand of the developing countries as this is the only proviso for effective action against climate change in developing countries.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007a), climate change is defined as a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in the variability of the mean state of climate, occurring for a long period (decades or longer). On the other hand, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, 1992), defined climate change as a change of climate that is caused either directly or indirectly by the human activities, which changes the constituent of the atmosphere, coupled with the natural climate variability observed over longer period. Climate change is caused by greenhouse gasses (GHGs) such as carbon (iv) oxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). These gasses allow solar radiation from the sun to pass through the atmosphere but do not allow the reflected heat from going back into space which leads to the rise of earth’s temperature (UNFCCC, 2007). With respect to the current trends, the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its global energy forecast, estimate a 53% rise in global basic energy need by the year 2030, with 70% of the energy coming from developing countries. However, as emerging countries, such as China and India grow, their role for energy need will account for an upward proportion of the total. Fossil fuels will certainly to take highest percentage of this increase, and the resultant GHGs released will in turn cause rising temperatures. However, since 1900 our globe has become warmer by 0.7oC and will keep on rising at a predicted rate of 0.2oC per decade. However, if it is not brought under control, it leads to a global warming of at least 1.4oC (IPCC, 2001a; Nkemdirim 2003).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2007 reported that the last decade of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st have been the warmest period in the whole world measurement of temperature records, which commenced in the mid-19th century. Global warming resulted to variation in temperature and precipitation that are already noticed in many parts of the world including Nigeria (Odjugo, 2010). The main features of climate change are: rising in average global temperature; variations in cloud cover as well as rainfall on land; melting of ice caps and glaciers and decreased in snow cover; upward in ocean temperatures and their acidity, because of the absorbing heat of seawater and CO2 from the atmosphere (UNFCCC, 2007). Similarly, global release of CO2, CH4 and N2O have risen extensively due to human activities since 1750, and now are more than the pre-industrial values obtained from ice cores covering several hundreds of thousands of years (IPCC, 2007b).

Ngaira (2003) also reported that human activities are currently known as the main factors leading to climate change particularly in Africa. Land use changes such as, deforestation, overgrazing and vegetation burning add carbon load and also cause change in energy and moisture fluxes, with devastating result on weather and climate patterns at local and national levels. Similarly, for the next coming decades, it is estimated that billions of people, especially those in developing countries will encounter deficit of water and food with negative effect to health and life due to climate change. Consequently, entire global action is required to make developing countries to withstand the effects of climate change that are occurring now and will continue in the future. However, because of global warming, the type, rate and magnitude of extreme events, such as tropical cyclones (including hurricanes and typhoons), floods, droughts and intense rainfall events, heat waves are expected to rise even with little rise in temperature (UNFCCC,2007; Meehl et al, 2007).

IPCC (2007a) highlighted many uncertainties about climate change. The report stated that: warming of the climate system is now unequivocal and it is obvious that global warming is highly because of the man-made emissions of GHGs (especially CO2). Moreover, during the last century, atmospheric quantity of CO2 has risen from a pre-industrial value of 278mg/l to 379mg/l in 2005, and the average global temperature increased by 0.74°C (IPCC, 2007b). This is the greatest and quickest warming trend that scientists have been able to observe in the history of the Earth. Similarly, an increasing rate of warming has occurred during the last 25 years, and 11 of the 12 warmest years were recorded in the past 12 years (IPCC, 2007b). The IPCC report gives enough forecast for the 21st century which show that global warming will keep on progressing and the best estimates revealed that the Earth could warm by 3°C by 2100.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Human activity has already altered atmospheric characteristics such as temperature, rainfall, levels of CO2 and ground level ozone. However, increase in fossil fuel burning and changes in land use have continued to emit, increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere; and a rise in the amount of these gases has caused a rise in the amount of heat from the sun withheld in the Earth’s atmosphere, which ideally supposed to be radiated back into space. This increase in heat has resulted to the greenhouse effect, which consequently led to climate change. The current population pressure and poverty has led to certain human activities such as deforestation and bush burning to increase the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, which in turn increase global warming. Climate change and variability has already set development efforts back, and made the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) significantly more tedious in Nigeria. Zaria Local Government Area and Nigeria as whole are vulnerable to climate change because of the dependence on rain-fed agriculture which relies directly or indirectly on climate change and variability. Moreover, agricultural activities from planting to harvesting are dependant either directly or indirectly to climate change and variability. On the other hand, UNDP (2008) predicted that the impacts of climate change such as sea-level rise, droughts, heat waves, floods and changes in precipitation, could, by 2080, push 600 million people into food shortages and the number of people facing water scarcities would reach 1.8 billion.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to determine the impact of household activities on climate change. Specific objectives include;

  1. To study the climate change impact on household.
  2. To come up with some mitigation measures required to control climate change.
  3. To propose some adaptation options that would be used to withstand the climate change impact.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the impact of household activities on climate change?
  2. What are the mitigation measures required to control climate change?
  3. What are the adaptation options that would be used to withstand the climate change impact?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Hypothesis I
  • H0: There is no significant impact of climate change impact on household.
  • Hi: There is a significant impact of climate change impact on household.
Hypothesis II
  • H0: There is no significant impact of mitigation measures required to control climate change.
  • Hi: There is a significant impact of mitigation measures required to control climate change.
Hypothesis III
  • H0: There is no significant impact of some adaptation options that would be used to withstand the climate change impact.
  • Hi: There is a significant impact of some adaptation options that would be used to withstand the climate change impact.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The study involved the analysis of rainfall and temperature data with a view to establishing climate variability and also to study the impact of climate change and variability on household. However, mitigation measures needed and adaptation options to the impacts of climate change on household were incorporated in the work.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

The demanding schedule of respondents made it very difficult getting the respondents to participate in the survey. As a result, retrieving copies of questionnaires in timely fashion was very challenging. Also, the researcher is a student and therefore has limited time as well as resources in covering extensive literature available in conducting this research. Information provided by the researcher may not hold true for all research under this study but is restricted to the selected respondents used as a study in this research especially in the locality where this study is being conducted. Finally, the researcher is restricted only to the evidence provided by the participants in the research and therefore cannot determine the reliability and accuracy of the information provided. Other limitations include:

Financial constraint:

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint:

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Findings

The objectives of the study were to;

  1. To study the climate change impact on household.
  2. To come up with some mitigation measures required to control climate change.
  3. To propose some adaptation options that would be used to withstand the climate change impact.

Findings from the study revealed that majority of the respondents were of the opinion that there is a significant impact of climate change impact on household, there is a significant impact of mitigation measures required to control climate change and that there is a significant impact of some adaptation options that would be used to withstand the climate change impact.


5.2 Conclusion and Recommendation

This study has examined largely the awareness and understanding of urban population about the causes, contributors and consequences of climate change and show that despite the fact that majority indicate various level of awareness, their understanding of the phenomenon and consequences vary significantly while the knowledge of the causes is generally low. The level of energy demand for household activities in urban centres is substantially augmented with other sources such as petrol, kerosene, diesel, coal and wood due to erratic electricity supply. With increasing urbanization and population growth, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission will increase in developing countries. Of more concern however is that majority of urban population still attribute climate change to natural causes and industrialization as shown in Table 5 and could not understand how household activities contribute to greenhouse gas emission and causes climate change. In order to control household energy consumption pattern in developing countries, proper sensitization of urban residents on causes of climate change, particularly the role of household activities in greenhouse gas emission is very important. Majority of the respondents identify their sources of information as television, radio and newspapers (Table 7). However, it is suggested that climate change education be incorporated in basic, secondary and tertiary school curricula. Moreover, majority of urban residents are living in rented apartment that are either managed by the owner or (professional or quack) agents. The terms of lease agreements most times are concerned with the protection of the subject property from abuse, arbitrary alterations, maintenance and repair as well as rent consideration.

Estate surveyors and valuers are deemed to have sufficient basic knowledge about climate change (Otegbulu et al., 2011) and therefore a veritable tool for sensitising urban residents particularly on greenhouse gas emission emanating from household activities. Also advocated is the use of public lectures, seminars organised at local government level as well as sensitization in places of worship. It is anticipated that a lot could be achieved in reducing greenhouse gas emission from household activities in future provided proper sensitization begins now. Aside raising urban residents’ awareness, there is the need for government of developing and less developed countries to invest in the development and production of economical and environment-friendly alternative sources of household energy such as biomass, natural gas, wind and solar energy in quantity that meet energy demand of the developing countries as this is the only proviso for effective action against climate change. Other areas such as adaptive capacity of urban residents to climate change are open up for further research in this study.


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