Speaker of Parliament, Rtd. Hon. Alban S.K. Bagbin has cautioned that Ghana’s economy risks suffering the negative impact of climate change because the national economy is dependent on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, energy, forestry and others.
In an address delivered on his behalf on Monday at the launch of Climate Communication and Local Governance Africa (CCLG-Africa) in Parliament, the Speaker observed that in Ghana local authorities do not have enough resources to provide climate and energy-related services to the population.
He noted this is basically because climate change and its adaptation come with huge costs that local authorities cannot afford.
The Speaker observed that by 2060, the cost of inaction on climate change could reach a staggering $44 trillion, with the highest anticipated GDP losses in the Middle East, Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.
“In 2018 for example, there were 14 extreme-weather events that resulted in more than $1 billion in damages.”
“Recent happenings in Germany, Japan, and London, not forgetting our own backyard in Kumasi, clearly indicate that the effects of global warming and climate change cannot be underestimated.”
“It is imperative that we in Ghana begin to think about what path we will chart with respect to the emerging issues about global warming and climate change,” he said.
Speaker Bagbin explained that global warming refers to the long-term warming of the planet, whilst climate change, though encompassing global warming, refers to a broader range of changes to our planet.
These, he said, include rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica, and the Arctic, and shifts in flower and plant blooming times.
According to him, human activity, especially greenhouse gas emission, is considered the dominant cause of temperature increases, which refers to the way the earth’s atmosphere traps and absorbs solar energy.
He welcomed the efforts of CCLG-Africa to support in communicating innovations and approaches of rene3energy generated from various sources that are safe, efficient, and affordable to the population.
He noted that more ought to be done at the local level by way of a determined and conscious effort to sustain the environment, protect and restore ecosystems, address land-based pollution as well as education and awareness creation on the lifestyle issues that have brought about the vagaries of climate change.
“The CCLG-Africa initiative is a unique one in support of our common efforts to fight climate change and global warming, become more resilient to its negative effects, and ensure energy access to our populations.”
“This initiative could not have come at a better time than this, particularly when the world is experiencing global warming at its peak,” he added.
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, in a keynote address delivered on his behalf stated that increasing awareness, enhancing communication, and the participation of the legislature and religious organizations in efforts aimed at stopping up climate actions especially at the local level is very critical to achieving the global climate targets.
Ghana’s experience of the impacts of climate change, he said, is no different from the rest of Africa and many developing countries.
“We have large portions of our vegetative cover depleted and almost turned into desserts through many uncontrolled and improper human activities.”
“Our river bodies are silted due to erosion, poor mining methods with some drying up for lack of vegetative cover and it cyclical effect of climate change and many factors,” he said.
Dr. Kwaku Afriyie called for more international-level collaboration in the bid to halt climate change at the national level.
He expressed hope the launch of CCLG-Africa will bring a spotlight on the practical ways to mobilize the needed resources to support the implementation of national climate actions, especially at the local level.