Pragmatic policies needed to mitigate rising temperature

Environment experts have urged the government to come up with pragmatic policies and measures to mitigate the rising temperature in the country.

They said the increased temperature, which has been caused by the release of greenhouse gases such as carbondioxide and methane, had reduced farm yields in the ecological zones and forced herdsmen to migrate with their cattle to other places. 

The Director of the Environment and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Chris Gordon, and the acting Director of Ghana Wildlife Society, Mr Reuben Ottou, said this at the launch of the Ghana Climate Change Coalition (GCCC) in Accra yesterday.

The GCCC is the Ghana chapter of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a continental coalition of civil society organisations engaged in the promotion and advocacy of climate-friendly and equity-based sustainable development in Africa.

  Rising temperature
Prof. Gordon said a number of studies had been conducted which had used historical data between 1960 and 2000.

He said the studies showed that all the agro-ecological zones in Ghana were becoming warmer and drying up.

“So the net result is that the temperature is getting hotter. We are also getting more frequent storms and more unpredictable rains.

“We have realised that the onset of first rains is changing and so the growing season has also been shortened,” he said.

  Causes/impact of climate change
Prof. Gordon said the primary factor in climate change was the release of human-generated gases mainly carbondioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

He mentioned the release of carbondioxide by many vehicles, the indiscriminate use of electricity and the cutting down of trees with chainsaws as some of the causes of climate change.

The environment expert said the impact of climate change on Ghana could erode all of the country’s economic gains.

He said Ghana depended on rain-fed agriculture, while most of the power came from hyrdo sources or biomas (plants and trees).

Therefore, he said “We may end up using our economic growth to solve the problems that have been created by climate change.”

Prof. Gordon urged Ghanaians to stop being wasteful in the use of electricity and the cutting down of trees.

He suggested that the government could make hybrid vehicles or low carbon-emitting vehicles tax free to encourage their use on the roads.

He again suggested the promotion and patronage of the mass transit system to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads.

Prof. Gordon urged the media to also try to send appropriate, true and factual information on the climate by contacting experts on climate change for information.

Siding with Prof Gordon, Mr Ottou stressed the need for people to adapt to the various shocks of climate change.

He suggested that authorities could put in place interventions that would protect livelihoods and the developmental efforts of the country.

For instance, he said it should be possible for the people to have a technological sophistication to predict the rain and plant the appropriate plants at the appropriate periods.   PACJA-Ghana coordinator

In his address, the acting Coordinator of  PACJA-Ghana, Mr MacDonald Bubuama, expressed worry at the devastation caused to Ghana’s environment, particularly, through illegal mining activities with the connivance of some influential local authorities.

He, therefore, urged the government to strictly enforce its policy measures, including prosecution, and radical approach in combating the menace of environmental degradation.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Joe Oteng Adjei, hinted that the government would launch a national policy on climate change by the end of this year.

He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to working with civil society organisations and other stakeholders to mitigate the effect of climate change on Ghana.

Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, who represented the Gender Action on Climate Change for Equality and Sustainability (GACCES), underscored the need for a concerted effort to curtail the rising temperature.

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