Thursday, December 8, 2011

CARE Ghana schools MPs on Climate Change

EPA Director, explaining a point to some members of parliament during the worshop on climate change
From: Francis Npong, Accra, The Members of the Ghana’s Parliamentary (MPs) Select Committee on Environment have been urged to discuss dispassionately the policies and programmes on climate change resilience to help Ghana to cope with the effects of climate change.
The Country Director of CARE Ghana, Mr. Phil Christensen who urged the MPs when he addressed them during a capacity building workshop organized by CARE Ghana in Accra, however expressed worry over the feet dragging by developed nations to act on the Kyoto Protocolto drastically reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
The workshop was aimed among other things to educate Members of Parliament (MPs) on climate change, environmental issues, empower them to make strong cases for climate change resilience policies and programmes in Ghana. It was also aimed at getting the MPs interested in climate change and environmental issues, the need to have climate change integrated into the national development planning.
According to Mr. Christensen, the failure of the developed nations to lead ways to emission reduction poses potential severity of future impacts of climate change not only on the developing nations but also developed nations at large.
“The responsibility to resolve the climate change crisis lies on the doorsteps of the developed countries since they are the historical source of emission of greenhouse gases and enjoined by the UN Convention on Climate Change to support developing countries to adapt to the effects”, he stated.
These gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), Methene (CH4) and Nitrous Oxide (N2O) produced as a result of human activities have the ability to trap infrared radiation (sun’s energy) which reflects in the form of temperature. The addition of these gases however increases the earth’s surface temperature, sea level water, precipitation, drought and floods among other things according to scientists hence climate change.
The Director of CARE Ghana stressed that Africa, which was already saddled with development challenges would be over stretched by the additional burdens of climate change which signs are clearly showing on the continent in trying to cope with its effects.
He warned that failure by the developing countries to take what he termed “community based adaptation initiative” that seeks to develop and strengthen the capacity of the people, empower them to analyze and manage climate risk would plunge the continent into serious difficulties.
The Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment led by Honourable Raymond Tawiah, MP for Yelo-Krobo Constituency expressed worry over what they described as strict conditions or terms often attached to donor funds to developing countries.

Country Director, CARE Ghana Mr Phil Christensen delivery speech to MPs, during climate change workshop
According to the MPs, this dictates do not allowed the beneficiary nations to invest in their priority development areas of interest. “This is keeping us where we are today in terms of development”, they said. The MPs also expressed fears that the climate change financing would also not help achieve it intended purpose if strict conditions are placed on the use of such funds by developing nations.
They promised to support climate change activities after realizing the devastating effects of climate change of livelihoods. They also promised to lead advocacy for climate change resilience policies to help Ghana cope with the effects of climate change.
Energy and Climate Change Expert form the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) Mr. Tutu Benefoh who facilitated the workshop said that evidence abounds in Ghana that temperatures in all ecological zones were raising, whereas the rainfall patterns have become erratic. The country over the years he said have been witnessing long drought, thunderstorm, and flooding, food insecurity because the agriculture sector had been hard hit by climate change.
Agriculture, Mr. Benefoh said which is the mainstay of the people has declined from 51% to 36% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sea levels rise of 2.1 mm per year over the last 30 year currently causes erosion up to 3 meters every year He therefore appealed to the governments, NGOs and international bodies to work together reduce the climate change impact on the poor and vulnerable in society through climate change resilience policies, and infrastructure.

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