A grim future has been predicted for agriculture-based economies, including Ghana’s, if climate change is not factored into their development agenda. In Ghana, the projection scenario is said to indicate a further increase in temperature, with an accompanying decrease in rainfall, which could severely affect the country’s agriculture.
This could also affect the country’s hydro power potential, water quality, health, industry, among other things.
This alarming scenario ran through the various presentations when an array of speakers from diverse backgrounds, including politicians, traditional leaders and academics, converged on the Accra International Conference Centre for a forum on “Climate Change” as part of the country’s preparations for the 15th Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled for Copenhagen, Denmark, from December 7 to 18.
The Vice-President, John Dramani Mahama, who was the main speaker, predicted dire consequences on the economy, particularly agriculture and health, if there was an increase in the factors that contributed to climate change.
Mr Mahama expressed the fear that if the “current trajectory remains unchanged, cocoa trees, as well as maize crops, cannot thrive in Ghana in the near future”.
He, therefore, reiterated the call by the international community to minimise additional stresses and burdens on climate change, particularly on its adverse effects on the vulnerable and poor communities in the country.
He said the government had considered climate change basically as a development and governance issue which required the integration of civil society and gender mainstreaming into a critical mass for adaptive decision making.
He said although Africa as a whole contributed only four per cent of the global carbon emission, the continent was among the climate change “hot shots” in the world where its impact was predicted to be potentially the greatest.
Mr Mahama expressed the optimism that the Copenhagen conference would be a landmark event which would save the future of the world for generations yet unborn.
“Globally, the adverse effect of climate change is inflicting severe damage on humans and the environment in many parts of the world.
Though we can do little to control the timing and intensity of climate change and its related hazardous events, what we need to do, and can do, is to increase our commitment to mitigate its effects and also increase our capacity to cope with its extreme occurrences,” he stressed.
The Vice-President said Ghanaians were very much aware of the changing world climate and how the conference was vital to the future and the opportunities that climate change offered the nation.
“This awareness is underpinned by the fact that recently Ghana experienced a series of extensive flooding and drought spells at the rate of recurrence which is beyond what has been realised over the past three decades,” he stressed.
Those events, he said, had generated disasters which had cumulatively depleted local communities’ traditional coping strategies to climate variability and change, stressing that it also had a significant impact on lives and property, infrastructure, water resources, industry, governance and the country’s food security.
The Vice-President said the country’s position on climate change was a call on developed countries to demonstrate more commitment to reduce emissions to levels that could effectively mitigate global warming and climate change, preferably 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
He said the government was vigorously pursuing proposals which would adopt an integrated waste management system, adding that “this will ensure cleaner cities, good health, conversion of waste to energy, reuse of the recyclable and carbon dioxide emission reduction”.
The Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Sherry Ayittey, said since 1992 Ghana had taken the necessary incremental steps towards the implementation of the convention, both at national and international levels, and had worked towards meeting “our commitments under the Framework of Convention on Climate Change”.
“The task ahead of us, as policy makers, during the Copenhagen summit is a daunting one. The decision that we make in Copenhagen can lead to a complete revolution in terms of the way humanity thinks, behaves and acts on this planet,” she said.
Credit: Daily Graphic