The development challenges, which she said could ‘at least have their intensities magnified by climate change’ are identified as food and water shortages, increased displacement of people, coastal flooding and also poor and erratic rainfall patterns.
According to her, the World Bank’s conviction of Ghana’s transition from a low middle income to is a lower middle income country meant that the country was bound to be ‘energy-hungry’ and also witness an increase in growth, meaning matters relating to climate change could not be taken lightly.
At an International Conference on Climate Change and National Development held yesterday in Accra, the minister indicated that the cost of the response to climate change remained a serious obstacle to the ever-increasing growth and energy concerns of the country, stressing that ‘there is already evidence of the impact of climate change on the national economy, with clear signs that the coastal zone, responds to flooding disasters every year.’
Ms Ayittey further mentioned that the possibility of climate impacting negatively on the development investment of the economy was not in doubt, given, for instance, the 2010 floods, which claimed 24 lives, rendered about 1000 families homeless as a result of the destruction of several homes.
The floods, which effect was pegged at millions of dollars in property losses, also caused the evacuation of some 5000 people from Tema and also caused the collapse of a bridge linking Ghana and neighbouring Togo, thereby creating travelling inconveniences between the two countries, which to the minister, was enough evidence that climate change had over-bearing consequences.
To give credence to her argument, the minister again recounted the sad affliction that country had to suffer in the hands of the June 2015 rains which left thousands displaced, many dead and lost in many properties.
Furthermore, damage had been caused to some road networks, accruing to millions of cedis government has not budgeted for.
In the light of this upshot, the Ministry of Environment, Science and Science under the headship of Mr. Mahama Ayariga has outlined a National Climate Change Policy, with five policy areas being its priority.
They, among other things, include agriculture and food security, disaster preparedness and response and natural resource management.
The rest are equitable social development and energy, industrial and infrastructural development.
A PhD student in Environmental Science, Paschal Arsein Mugabe, during his presentation at the conference noted that there was an increase in temperature in recent times, compared to the past and that could be a contributory factor to the change in climate in the country.
Nana Yamoah Asafu-Adjaye and Joseph Amikuzuno from the Department of Climate Change and Food Security at the University for Development Studies in their study on the Socioeconomic Impact of Climate Adaptation on Smallholder Farmers in the Lawra District of the Upper West Region concluded that:
“Smallholder farmers in the district will have mean net returns of about 900 cedis to 2500 cedis with climate change as against a mean net returns of 9000 cedis to 14700 cedis without climate change.”
This finding is indicative of the fact that a decrease in farmers’ net revenue in the face of climate change without adaptation is expectant.
They argue that climate change in 2030 and 2050 would lead to estimated poverty rates rising from 51% to 52%. “The adaptation results also indicates a good response of crop yields under irrigation, increasing mean net revenue of smallholder farms to 5200 cedis and 5300 cedis under all farms scenario in 2050 in the district,” they claim.
The study also concluded that farms—both upland and lowland farms—with adaptation will have a lower poverty rates as compared to farms without adaptation to climate change.
Source: The Chronicle