1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Climate variability refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the mean and or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer (IPCC, 2013). Natural resources all over the world on which millions of people (particularly rural communities) rely on for their existence, including land, agricultural crops, forests and rainfall are today being adversely affected by climate change. In recent decades, climate variability is likely to alter temperatures and distribution of rainfall, contribute to sea-level rise and advance the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events in East Africa. In fact, much widespread climatic variability has already been noticed in the region. Climate variability will have both a direct impact on development of climate-dependent activities (such as infrastructure and agriculture) and indirect consequences for social systems (such as issues of poverty, conflict, health and education). As a result, climate change has the potential to undermine, and even undo, socio-economic development in East Africa (Orindi et al, 2012). According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (IPCC, 2013), extreme events such as floods, strong winds, droughts and tidal waves are the main threats to Africa from Climate Change. The daily dependence of Africa’s impoverished, and mostly subsistence-based, rural communities on natural resources for their survival has meant that they are the worst affected by the ravages of climate change. The prevalent inadequacy of resources (including physical and financial assets) coupled with inherent poverty-related challenges call for coping mechanisms to counter the disruptions to their lives occasioned by the effects of climate change. Climate change will affect coastal habitats, resources and populations to changes in physical variables, namely temperature, rainfall, relative humidity and winds, but in addition the coastal domain will be dramatically affected by changes in sea-level, groundwater level, salinity, wave climate, sediment budgets, storm events and erosion patterns. Physical changes will themselves result in a wide variety of biological changes at the population, community and ecosystem levels, which in turn will affect the suitability of the coastal zone and its resources for use by the human populations (IUCN,2011 ). It is very likely that subsistence and commercial agriculture on small islands will be adversely affected by climate change. Sea-level rises, inundation, seawater intrusion into freshwater lenses, soil salinisation, and decline in water supply are very likely to adversely impact coastal agriculture (IPCC, 2008). Global climate changes are expected to affect coastal communities around the world, many of which are already considered vulnerable to ongoing climatic variability. Of these changes, accelerated sea-level rise has received much attention and may entail elevated tidal inundation, increased flood frequency, accelerated erosion, rising water tables, increased saltwater intrusion, and a suite of ecological changes. These biophysical changes are expected to cause various socio-economic impacts including loss of land infrastructure and coastal resources as well as declines in associated economic, ecological, cultural and subsistence values (Dolan and Walker, 2003). While there is overwhelming evidence the world over to support the occurrence of climate change, different regions around the globe by virtue of their unique and varied characteristics (including environmental, social and economic), are impacted in diverse ways by this phenomenon. No two regions anywhere in the world can be said to suffer the exact same effects of their environment and communities as a result of climatic change. In order to effectively address the resultant impacts (social and other) of climate change on a community, it is necessary to firstly determine the nature of these impacts. This study intended to reveal the exact nature of the social and economic repercussions that have befallen the Taraba state due to changes in climate. Climate change is having disastrous effects on the lives and resources of impoverished rural communities all over the world. Their very survival which is dependent on their access to life’s basic needs - water, food, shelter, and security (Adger et al, 2012) is being threatened by this silent but globally pervasive process. Climate change is an all encompassing threat, directly affecting the environment, the economy, health and safety. The inhabitants of taraba state are a predominantly farming community, and this livelihood coupled with small-scale, mainly subsistence, agriculture make up the main socio-economic livelihoods. Alternative livelihoods that are not natural-resource based are very few. Agriculture is however totally reliant on suitable climatic conditions for them to be productive. This in fact means that for the community in Taraba state, climate change is a threat to their very existence: it is literally a matter of life-and-death. This study’s main objective was to determine the perceived impacts of climate variabilities on socio-economic activities in Taraba state. Methods of mitigating the effects of climate change, coping strategies and forms of adaptation practiced by the local communities were also considered.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In Nigeria as in many parts of the Africa climate variability could include greater and more rapid sea level rise than previously projected, and more frequent coastal storms, threatening the lives and livelihoods of coastal communities; the increased incidence of extreme weather events; substantial reductions in surface water resources leading to accelerated desertification in sensitive and zones; and greater threats to health (such as malaria), biodiversity (including bleaching of coral species on the African tropical reef systems) and agricultural production a predicted decline of 12 per cent in production in Nigeria by 2020 (Jimoh, 2008). The Nigeria borders are demarcated by river channels and basin watersheds, and most major rivers traverse national boundaries. These are sensitive to even moderate reductions in rainfall as are projected for much of northern western and southern state. Such reductions could lead to an increase in inter-communal and inter-state conflicts over scarce water resources and threaten the sustainability of hydro-electric power generation (Majekodunmi, 2015) Projected significant reductions of perennial surface water in southern Africa by the end of the century could threaten key ecological and livelihood resources, such as the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and large urban centers, such asgreater Cape Town. Acidification and greater extremes of climate potential extinctions of endemic species and disruption of physical ecosystems – such as the remobilization of Kalahari dune systems represent only a few of many significant projected impacts on local sustainable livelihoods and ecological resources. The projected impacts of unmitigated climate change in Nigeria are likely to have significant impacts on human livelihoods, health, water resources, agricultural production and food security as well as nature-based tourism (Fatile, 2013). All would undermine economic prospects across much of the states. Indeed, most SMR in Nigeria are among those least able effectively to respond to, and cope with these adverse effects.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the impact of climate variability in socio-economic activities. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of climate variability on socio-economic Activities in Taraba state.
H1: There is a significant impact of climate variability on socio-economic Activities in Taraba state.
H0: There is no significant relationship between climate variability and socio-economic activities
H1: There is a significant relationship between climate variability and socio-economic activities.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of benefit to researchers, academicians, policy makers and the government in general. The study would also be of immense benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
The study is restricted to the impact of climate variability in socio-economic activities.
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.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Climate: Means the usual condition of the temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, and other meteorological elements in an area of the Earth's surface for a long time. In simple terms climate is the average condition for about thirty years.
Socio-Economic: Relating to or concerned with the interaction of social and economic factors.
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