WASCAL schools West African climate managers, scientists


The Capacity Building Department of the West African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Land Use, WASCAL, has organized a five-day intensive workshop on climate change impact, mitigation and adaptation for fifteen scientists drawn from the ministries and government departments of environment, agriculture, water resources, meteorology, space and environmental protection agencies from Ghana, Benin, Togo and Nigeria.

The workshop which was organized at the headquarters of WASCAL in Accra is the first in the series of workshops lined-up by WASCAL under the sponsorship of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany (BMBF).

The workshop was part of WASCAL’s strategic vision to extend its capacity building beyond its graduate studies programmes run in partnership with ten lead universities in West Africa.

In an interview with Professor Janet Adelegan, WASCAL’s Director of Capacity Building Programme and workshop coordinator at WASCAL, she highlighted the key objectives of the workshop;

“The essence of this workshop was to educate West African managers and scientists in relevant government agencies on the implications of climate change variability on livelihood, adaptation and mitigation strategies in West Africa”

“Also, the workshop was designed to promote linkage between research and practice, create an environment for the exchange of experience, identify research priorities, and highlight capacity building needs for policy research in Climate Science in West Africa”. She expounded.

WASCAL seeks to strengthen the existing human capacity of member countries to allow them participate in the on-going global discourse on climate change and respond to current and future adaptation and mitigation challenges. Its training programmes are intended to build the capacity of mid-level scientists and policy analysts, and produce first class students interested in careers in academia.


Source: modernghana.com

The AWF and NEPAD-IPPF Foster Climate Resilient Water Resources Development in Southern Africa

By Bi Gohe P BOTTY


Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2017 – The African Water Facility (AWF) and NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) signed on January 31, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa, a letter of agreement with the Orange Senqu River Basin Commission (ORASECOM) to launch the Climate Resilient Water Resources Investment Strategy and Multipurpose Project Preparation for the Orange-Senqu River Basin, shared by Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa.

The co-financed project, amounting to about €3.5 million, includes contributions from AWF of about €2 million and $1.2 million from NEPAD-IPPF. The main objective of this project is to promote sustainable socio-economic growth in the basin riparian countries through climate resilient water resources development in the framework of basin-wide cooperation led by the ORASECOM. The project will foster enhanced sustainable water resources management of the basin, increased investments based on better planning allowing more multipurpose projects to address the livelihood needs of the communities living in rural and urban areas.

Ensuring Water Security in Southern Africa. The Orange-Senqu River Basin originates in the highlands of Lesotho and runs over 2,300 km to its mouth on the Atlantic Ocean in Namibia/South Africa. The river basin spans over 1.0 million km2 and is one of the largest river basins in Africa. It encompasses all of Lesotho, a significant portion of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. The basin poses complex water management challenges for safeguarding future water security. The central challenge being the assurance of water security under increased hydrological variability compounded by climate change impact.

“Thanks to this support from AWF and NEPAD-IPPF, ORASECOM will develop an optimised water resources investment strategy and plan and select a priority transboundary project which will be prepared at feasibility level. Climate resilience will be integrated in the planning and development of water infrastructure. ORASECOM will also, through this project, reinforce its capacity and institutional development since for the first time it will help riparian governments prepare a transboundary project,” said Lenka Thamae, ORASECOM’s Executive Secretary.

Major Economic Impacts on 19 million people. The Orange-Senqu River basin is of major economic importance to South Africa and Lesotho as it contributes to respectively 26% and 100% of their GDP. The beneficiaries of the project will be the 14 million people living in the riparian communities in the basin as well as 5 additional million inhabitants in South Africa that despite being located outside the basin will benefit from its water resource through water transfer schemes. The water basin resources development will greatly improve livelihoods and engender sustainable socio-economic growth in the region.

“There are multiple problems related to deteriorating environmental conditions and lack of inclusive water resources development in some parts of the Orange-Senqu River basin to support economic growth and alleviate poverty. The solutions to these problems are to be addressed through optimisation of the water resources development based on balanced economic, social and environmental considerations. This project is part of these solutions,” said Shem Simuyemba, NEPAD-IPPF Manager.


Source: modernghana.com

Acute water shortage hits Sunyani and its environs



The Brong Ahafo Regional capital, Sunyani and its environs, have been hit by acute water shortage for the past month.

The situation, according to residents, has made life unbearable and difficult compelling most of them to resort to the use of unsafe and unwholesome sources of water for their survival, coupled with its attendant health implications.

The most affected areas are depending on the Abesim water pump to supply water from the Tano River, forcing other residents to resort to water sourced from polluted dams and ponds for domestic purposes.

The situation is gradually crippling commercial activities as Restaurant operators, Hotels, Car washing bays, laundry service providers are in distress. Students are also forced to trek for several miles to fetch water from Ponds and Dams.

The Brong Ahafo Regional Chief Manager of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Engineer Charles Brobbey in an interview with Citi News, explained that the region was experiencing the shortage as a result of inadequate rainfall this year, bad attitude of residents who indiscriminately fell trees, dumping of refuse and farming on river banks, and illegal mining along the tributaries of the Tano River.

He lamented the situation has led to the reduction of the volumes of water produced daily by the company by half, and distribution of water from 1.6million gallons to 800,000 by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL).

Engineer Charles Brobbey further explained that, the sources of water for treatment and distribution in that part of the region, is from the Tano River which is almost dried up, compelling the Abesim water treatment plant to reduce production.

He dispelled the notion that his outfit run short off chemicals to process and treat water for consumption, saying they haven’t had any breakdown of machines as alleged. He appealed to residents to exercise restraint as the company works to restore permanent water supply to satisfy residents.

The Regional Manager said in the interim, the company was implementing a rationing system in the supply of water until the situation is restored to normalcy, and advised residents to conserve and use water wisely.


Source: modernghana.com

Climate Change: Food Production And Footing The Bill!

By: Akwasi A. Tagoe


Climate change has been a major topic for discussion in recent years, being an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, countries have adopted a set of 17 global goals to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Goal 13 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is marked to ‘take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’. A pact was agreed on at Paris that provides a basis of action for governments, international organizations, donors, local authorities, civil society and companies.

In Ghana, efforts to prepare, mitigate and adapt to changes in climate are important as it affects various aspects such as food production, health and economy. For instance, climate variability and changes is a challenge to food productivity as it adds pressure to the already fragile food production systems. That said, how Ghana addresses climate change today would determine how well present and future generations would be fed. In tackling climate issues however, a major question that needs to be answered is ‘what the real cost of addressing climate change would be?’

The answer to this question is simple once we have assessed and know what method(s) would be used to address climate challenges that will be boosting resilience, which is preparing and preventing climate shocks. This cost will take into consideration planning, facilitating and implementing. For instance, if we wanted to start by reducing our carbon footprint as a nation, we could calculate how much money it would take to do so by multiplying the units of dirty energy by the cost of converting into clean energy to give us a cost of transition to clean energy. Or to ensure farm resilience and adaptability to extreme climates, we could calculate the amount of money needed by farmers to store water for irrigation to plant protection activities arising as a result of risk of potentially new pests and diseases which are likely to increase as result of changes in temperatures. So, lets say we have a farmer-based organisation (FBO) made of 40 vegetable farmers we want to equip with irrigation facilities to ensure continual food production especially during dry seasons, the average cost of drilling bore holes to provide irrigation channels per farm or FBO group and maintenance of such will in the interim be the cost.

To operate and maintain our society and food production, there is some amount of money that is needed. If the amount is greater than current supply of money, then there is the need to consider increasing the money supply either sourced from the Internally Generated Funds or Grants and also reprioritising policies for the entire value chain of food production. In 2016, GH502 million was budgeted for Food and Agriculture representing 21% of the economic sector budget to focus on acceleration of agriculture mechanisation and sustainable natural resources management, funding of the Shea unit of the Ghana Cocoa Board, rehabilitation of cocoa roads and the implementation of rice development strategy. As climate issues become more essential, we will be forced to increase spending by either being proactive or reactive to climate issues. Prioritising and making budget allocations for climate issues will be across all sectors. Whether it is installing solar panels or windmills to provide clean energy or breeding drought resistant plants to the provision of technologically enhanced storage systems. If increasing the money supply and reprioritising of the use of funds must take place, what will be the effects of that on our economy?

In addressing all aspects of climate change, development of new infrastructure or enhancement of existing ones will come at a cost. It important to note that infrastructure put up has a life cycle. That is to say, everything that is built needs to be maintained, rehabilitated and replaced someday. It is important to note the lifecycle costs, time to make large capital investments (25 to 50 years) and be planned for in the long-term.

As we start the pursuit of climate-smart agriculture; an approach that aims to achieve food security and chart a sustainable pathway for agricultural development in a changing climate adequate prioritisation and budgeting for projects and programmes related to such is needed. Climate smart agriculture seeks to increase farm productivity in a sustainable manner, supporting farming communities to develop and adapt to climate change by building resilience of agricultural livelihoods and ecosystems. Considering our local food production dependence on climate, related disasters such as drought, floods and storms must be of significant concern in costing and building of resilience. Looking ahead to 2030, as a farming nation, we need to consider also long-term demands, operating costs and associated capital needed for capacity building and infrastructure. We must be aware that climate issues will come at a cost and the capital needed to reduce the negative effects of such be adequately budgeted for.

Author: Akwasi A. Tagoe (MSc. Agricultural & Environmental Science)



Source: modernghana.com

Ghana’s Volta Delta under threat


Ghana’s Volta Delta is yet to be recognized as a critical and viable potential ecosystem that could spur sustainable development for communities, Mr. Ken Kinney Executive Director, Development Institute has said.

According to him currently communities situated at the countries Volta Delta wallowed in abject poverty. The Volta Delta is near Keta and Dzelukope in the Volta Region.

Mr. Kinney noted that the Volta Delta was under threat of resource exploitation such as salt mining, commercial agriculture, fragmentation of habitats, unplanned human settlement, salt water intrusion, siltation and destruction of mangroves and coastal erosions.

Mr. Kinney was speaking at a Volta Delta Stakeholders meeting in Accra organized by the Development Institution, an initiator of the creation of the Delta Alliance–Ghana wing.

The meeting was attended by Civil Society Organisations, the Volta River Authority, (VRA), Volta Basin Authority, Water Resources Commission, experts from Delta Alliance an International non-governmental organization and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It also aimed at improving the resilience of the world’s deltas in the face of climate change as well as seeks the mandate of the Development Institute to continue to lead the process for a full membership of the Delta Alliance–Ghana Wing.

Mr. Kinney noted that the country was waking up to the need for a long term development planning for the Volta Delta, which would be fed into a research agenda for the nation.

Mr. Fred Smiet, First Secretary, Water and Climate Change in the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana, noted that Ghana could not deal with Deltas without managing river basins.

Mr. Smeit noted that activities in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Benin could affect the Volta Delta.

He however expressed regret that 100 kilometers of Ghana’s beaches were full of plastics waste, adding that the Netherland would continue to support advocacy.

According to him despite the availability of researches, Ghana continues to suffer massive deforestation, water pollution, and galamsey activities.

Mr. Smeit urged stakeholders to push for enforcement of laws to revert the adverse effect of climate change.

Dr Nick Beunders, DI Programmes Consultant recounted that Ghana’s Volta Delta had a unique ecosystem and landscape which when tapped would offer livelihood for many communities saddled with poverty.

Dr Beunders mentioned the sea defence, oil exploration, port development and encroachment as some of the factors militating against deltas.

He said it was important for the government to establish an effective structure for monitoring and enforcement of regulations in the management of Deltas.

Dr Beunders indicated that Ghana’s Volta Delta “is a treasure well hidden to the world but this has to get onto the map.”

Dr Peter van Leelen, a member of Delta Alliance Secretariat, Netherlands noted that the secretariat has 17 active Delta wings in Ghana, Kenya, China, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, and Spain among others.

Dr van Leelen, said it was crucial for these countries to come together and share knowledge, research data and assess various deltas and innovation benefits associated with them.

He identified erosion and flooding as some of the challenges confronting delta in member countries.

Mr. Maxwell Boateng- Gyimah, Executive Secretary, Global Water Partnership, Ghana, said the country has 32 river stations and nine water reservoirs nationwide.

However, Mr. Boateng-Gyimah said water governance had been saddled with challenges including conflict of use of water, inadequate legal and regulatory mechanisms, poor attitude towards handling of the environment and political interference.


Source: mordenghana.com

Ghana, Beware Of Climate Change

Ghana, Beware Of Climate Change

File Photo
By: Francis Diawuo

Even today, there are people who still do not believe that climate change is real. Climate change is directly or indirectly the result of anthropogenic and natural processes that heat up the Earth’s atmosphere. Climate change a living phenomenon. Climate change has been noted as a major peril to sustainable development, infrastructure, human health, settlement, agriculture and food security as well as forest ecosystems. Given its geographical position, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) alerts that Africa’s survival is at risk as no other continent will severely experience the impacts of climate change as Africa.

The IPCC further alarms that climate change is a threat in Africa to economic growth, long-term prosperity and survival of the already vulnerable populations. I totally agree with the formal President of the United States of America, Barrack Obama that “the danger from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change brought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of land across the globe”.

In Ghana, climate change has been identified as a major impediment to development. Ghana’s second national communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gives evidence that many of Ghana’s economic assets such as the coastal zone, agriculture and water resources are affected by climate change, which is also affecting the social fabric in terms of poverty reduction, health and women’s livelihoods, to which the combined impact is an obstacle to its proceeding development. Already Ghana has experienced a little of what climate change can do. The 2007 floods in Northern Ghana that displaced about 317,000 people, the 3rd June 2015 heavy downpour in Accra and the more recent heavy rainfall in Accra that ripped off the roofs of Ghana’s Parliament House on 31stJanuary, 2017 are some of the repercussions of climate change on human life and properties in the country. Ghana, beware because climate change is knocking on your door.

While all these are happening, one pitiful thing is that many Ghanaians are not aware of the ‘animal’ called climate change. In my previous post (27/02/2016) on “Communicating Climate Change Impacts in Ghana”, I recommended climate change adaptation on key issues like water, agriculture and health. Today, I wish to recommend to government and individuals to educate the public on climate change. Ghanaians need to be aware of the reality and severity of the impacts of climate change. I think government in particular owes Ghanaians the duty of making known to them what climate change is, its causes, observed and potential impacts as well as the mitigation and adaptation strategies.

There is a saying that the only way for evil to succeed is for good men to sit aloof and do nothing. Although government has developed the National Climate Change Policy, communicates regularly to the UNFCCC and is embarking on some mitigation and adaptations projects (such as REDD+), a lot more need to be done on public education. Government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), and Forestry Commission (FC) should spearhead the climate change advocacy.

They can also support, partner or sponsor organisations to get down to the grassroots, especially smallholder farmers and educate them on the “nemesis of agriculture” called climate change, because our entire economy depends on agriculture. Ghanaians need to be educated on the need to go “green”; the need to plant more trees, the need to avoid indiscriminate felling of trees in their homes and in the forests in order to control the excessive heat in the atmosphere. The public education should therefore be a wake-up call to all Ghanaians to rise up and face the challenge, to rise up and be agents of change.

The public education could however be in vacuum if we (Ghanaians) do not change our ways of thinking. The power to stop the severe impacts of climate change rests within the “individual consumers” of environmental resources. Change begins with the mind and if only we could renew our minds as people and agree with Stewart Udall that “plans to protect the air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man”, we could make the Earth a better place. Archbishop Duncan-Williams says that “we cannot control the negative atmosphere of the world, but we can control the atmosphere of our minds”. Maybe we cannot control the causes and impacts of climate change now; we can make the Earth a better place for posterity by renewing our minds to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle.

Francis Diawuo,
Email: diawuofrancis@gmail.com
University for Development Studies -Wa, Ghana.

Former EPA Scientist Weighs In On Fate Of Climate Science Under Trump

The relationship between the Trump administration and the Environmental Protection Agency is off to a rough start. The new administration has instructed officials to freeze its grants and contracts, external communication has been frozen, and academic papers by agency scientists may be subject to review before publication. NPR’s Robert Siegel talks with Tracey Woodruff, a former senior scientist and policy advisor at the EPA under the Clinton and Bush administration, about whether previous transitions in administrations have always had been this rocky.


We’re now going to hear from another scientist who used to work for the federal government. Tracey Woodruff spent 13 years at the Environmental Protection Agency. She was a senior scientist and policy adviser starting in the Clinton administration, and she stayed through the George W. Bush administration. The focus of most of her research was air pollution. Dr. Woodruff, welcome to the program.


SIEGEL: Earlier this week, the Trump transition team barred the EPA from communicating with the public – no blog posts, no social media postings, no press releases. That’s been described as a temporary freeze, and it applies to scientific research papers, too.

You went through a transition from a Democratic administration to a Republican one. Is what you’re hearing familiar, as par for the course or something unusual and different?

WOODRUFF: Well, I would say that actually during the transition between Clinton and Bush, there wasn’t a general announcement that people should not put out scientific information, but we did actually experience some questioning about some work that we were doing related to children’s health and the environment. And we actually got a lot of pushback from the White House about some information that we had been trying to publish.

So I don’t think it’s unusual that the administration might take a look and see what the scientists are doing at EPA, but I think the experience makes some of the scientists worried at EPA that they might see a return to that.

SIEGEL: I mean I think there’s a difference between science and policy that’s in some way related the science. I mean if you were asked to do a particular project, were you to say, no, that’s a minefield; I don’t want to do that; I know it’s going to happen to it?

WOODRUFF: Yeah, that’s a really good point because we have science, which is the pursuit of information, whereas public policy is really about taking the science we have at hand and then using it with the other factors that are important for making a decision. How do people feel about the decision? What are the costs and benefit? Who’s going to be impacted? The policymaker should factor in those other factors in addition to the science when they make a decision.

But I think sometimes what ends up happening is science becomes a crutch in making decisions in terms of, well, we’re going to wait until we have the absolute definitive proof from the science before we make a decision. The challenge with that for an agency like EPA is that, for example, in air pollution, people will be continued to be exposed to air pollution while we’re waiting for more and more science to come in.

SIEGEL: As a former EPA scientist, are you pretty confident in the future of research at EPA, or are you concerned about its future?

WOODRUFF: I’m concerned. I think the statements about climate change being a hoax are concerning. Scientists around the world agree that climate change is important and that human activity is contributing to climate change. I know scientists who have been retiring or are thinking about retiring because they’re worried about what’s going to happen with their science or what’s going to happen to them if they speak up about their science in the new administration.

SIEGEL: Given that you did research on air pollution – and I know your special interest. You’re now at the University California, San Francisco OB-GYN department. You’re interested in effects – environmental effects on prenatal and early life health. How significant was EPA’s contribution to information in that field as opposed to, say, big university departments or other laboratories?

WOODRUFF: Oh, I think EPA’s contribution to understanding the role the environment and health is critical. Actually some of the early studies that were done on the links between air pollution and mortality, which went to lead to a lot of the rule making that EPA has subsequently done, were done by EPA scientists.

And yet I think very few people think of EPA as an agency that’s directly related to health. Not having EPA at the table in terms of talking about the science related to environment and health would be a big loss. And I think their contributions cannot be overestimated enough.

SIEGEL: That’s Tracey Woodruff. She’s a professor at the University of California, San Francisco. She was a senior EPA scientist and policy adviser under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Tracey Woodruff, thank you for talking with us.

WOODRUFF: All right, thank you.

Source: npr.org

Abibiman Foundation’s Kenneth Amoateng…Using Clean Cookstoves To Change Climate


Kenneth Nana Amoateng, Middle, With One Of The Products During Last Year's COP22 Climate Change Conference In Morocco


The 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP 22) ended in Marrakech, Morocco in November last year 2016.

The session had an African Action Summit of African Heads States on Climate Change, where a declaration was issued to boost the climate change resilience drive in Africa.

It also made way for the issuance of a proclamation to signal a shift towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development.

Since the conference ended and as global leaders prepare to gather again in Bonn, Germany for 2017 COP23, the activities of African climate changers have been of high interest to the climate change industry players.

It is in this regard that Kenneth Nana Amoateng and his Abibiman Foundation has been at the fore front of working towards achieving the Climate Change agenda.

Mr. Kenneth Amoateng exhibited his scientic innovation, during last year’s Marrackech conference with his specially designed Clean Cookstove to deal with smokes emerging from village and rural kitchens across Ghana and some other African countries.

Abibiman Foundation, is a member of the Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GHACCO) and has piloted this cookstove initiative over the past few years.

Also, Abibiman Foundation last year 2016 participated in the 2nd ordinary general meeting of the Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GHACCO) as member of the Alliance.

The 2nd ordinary general meeting was held to brief members of the achievements and on-going activities of the alliance and to discuss new developments for effective promotion of clean cookstoves in Ghana towards the achievement of the sustainable energy for all agenda.

The workshop saw the participation of about 50 members including the presence of Arjit Basut and Kwesi Sarpong of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves who also briefed the members on the programs that the Global Alliance is implementing in Ghana and West Africa which includes the Awareness Creation Campaign and lessons learnt.

Executives from the Regional Steering Committees from the Ashanti (Mr. Michael of Man and Man Enterprise)and Greater Accra regions were also present and shared their activities for the year, challenges and experiences and plans for the rest of the year.

The meeting provided opportunities for members to be updated on on-going activities including the evidence based advocacy voices for Change project of SNV, the awareness creation campaign, elections of regional executives and the clean cooking festival of the Ghana Education Service aimed at educating youth on the clean cooking.

Source: mordenghana.com

2016 Was The Hottest Year Yet, Scientists Declare


Last year, global warming reached record high temperatures — and if that news feels like déjà vu, you’re not going crazy.

The planet has now had three consecutive years of record-breaking heat.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released its annual State of the Climate report, which says it’s the hottest it has been since scientists started tracking global temperatures in 1880.

A separate analysis, by NASA scientists, came to the same conclusion.

The news comes as a confirmation hearing begins for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has been nominated to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt has ardently defended fossil fuels and fought against federal efforts to regulate greenhouse gases that warm the planet.

President-elect Donald Trump has professed open-mindedness about climate change. Still, he once called it a hoax, and scientists have been worried by his picks for his transition team and administration, as well as by the questions asked about climate scientists at the Department of Energy.

As the politics swirls around them, climate scientists keep churning out data.

“[Last year] was the warmest year on record, beating 2015 by a few hundredths of a degree, and together those two years really blow away the rest of our record,” says Deke Arndt, chief of the monitoring group at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, N.C.

He says 2016 was about 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit above the global average for the 20th century. “And that doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you take that and you average it all the way around the planet, that’s a big number,” Arndt says.

The warming was truly global. “Some part of every continent, and some part of every major ocean basin was warmest on record,” Arndt says, adding that in the United States, only Georgia and Alaska had record-setting warmth but “pretty much the entire country was above normal, and well above normal.”

This represents long-term warming along with the short-term effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon, he explains, predicting that the streak of breaking records will probably end this year as those El Nino effects dissipate. But the long-term warming trend should continue to go up and, Arndt says, threatens new records almost every year.

“The long-term warming is driven almost entirely by greenhouse gases,” Arndt says. “We’ve seen a warming trend related to greenhouse gases for four, five, six decades now.”


Source: npr.org

Climate change is a serious threat to Ghana’s development – Prof Gordon

By: Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, Jan. 19, GNA – Climate change is a serious threat to Ghana’s ambition of becoming a fully-fledged middle income country by 2020 as the country’s emissions of Green House Gases (GHG) had increased since 2004.

Professor Chris Gordon, the Director of Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, University of Ghana, said this when speaking on the topic; “ICT, Climate Change and Agricultural Production,” at the 68th Annual New Year School and Conference at the University of Ghana.

“It is already affecting economic output, livelihoods and, therefore, long-term development prospects, even though Ghana’s own contribution to global climate change has been negligible,” Prof Gordon said.

Prof. Gordon said in 2014, which is the official latest reporting year to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Ghana’s total GHG emissions, excluding the agriculture, forestry and other land use sectors, were estimated to be 16.51 MtCO2e.

He said carbon dioxide had increased by 82 per cent, nitrous oxide by 22 per cent and Methane by 16 per cent; adding that the mean annual temperature had risen by 1.0 °C since 1960.

“The number of ‘hot’ days per year has increased by 13.2 per cent, while the number of ‘hot’ nights per year has increased by 20 per cent,” Prof Gordon stated.

“Cold days and nights per year have decreased by 3.3 and 5.1 per cent respectively,” he added.

He said in 2005 – 2010, the period between start and end of rains varied by as much as 30 per cent from year to year.

“The reason for Ghana’s vulnerability is the reliance on sectors that are sensitive to climate change such as agriculture, forestry and energy production,” he said.

“Evidence already shows the impact of climate change on our national economy, with clear signs that the coastal zone, agriculture and water resources are all negatively affected, with consequent impacts on poverty, health and women’s livelihoods,” Prof. Gordon said.

He said at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Policy Dialogue with Political Parties on the Paris Climate Change Agreement held in October 2016, prior to the December 7 general election, it was very clear that not one of the multitude of political parties had factored in or mainstreamed the effects or response needed to deal with climate change appropriately in their manifestoes.

“The question we have before us is how can we turn the negatives of climate change into positives so that we can sustainably increase agricultural production using ICT,” he said.

He cited better acquisition of weather data, early warning systems for farmers and better marketing of produce that impacts the lives of the small holder farmers who make up the bulk of the agriculture sector in Ghana as means of increasing agriculture production.

The 68th Annual New Year School and Conference is on the theme: “Promoting National Development through Agriculture Modernisation: The Role of ICT”.

It aims at creating the forum for passionate discussions on how ICT could be integrated into agriculture to modernise the sector for sustainable national development.

It is being organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education, University of Ghana, under the auspices of the MTN, Eximbank Ghana, and Kosmos Innovation Centre.


Source: mordenghana.com