Climate Makers and Takers

Climate Makers and Takers

By The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX

Sea levels are rising – and the United States has a lot to learn from countries that are already adapting. Reporter Shola Lawal of the podcast Threshold explores how two communities in Nigeria are dealing with it. 

Lagos, the booming coastal city of Nigeria, is growing even as rising water levels threaten its future. Lawal visits the informal community of Makoko, where people have learned to live with water: Many homes are built on stilts. In a community where many people make a living fishing, small houses rise above the water, vendors sell vegetables and goods from floating markets, and locals ferry people to destinations in canoes. A lack of dry land has forced residents to innovate in creative ways. But the government has threatened to destroy Makoko, declaring the neighborhood an eyesore.  

Next, Lawal visits Eko Atlantic City, an “ultra-modern” luxury city that a development company is building on sand dredged up from the ocean floor. In contrast to the scrappy adaptations Makoko residents have made to live on water, the million-dollar apartments of Eko Atlantic are protected by an enormous seawall. 

Each year, global leaders gather to discuss the climate crisis at COP, the United Nations climate conference. Threshold Executive Producer Amy Martin talks with Reveal host Al Letson about this year’s COP27. While nearly every country on the planet attends these annual conferences, a much smaller number – about 20 economies – are responsible for 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s left more vulnerable countries asking – what are the richest countries going to do to pay for the damage they’ve caused? 

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