The government is implementing 13 adaptation and 34 mitigation programmes to mitigate climate change impact in the country, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI) has said.
The implementation of the climate action will generate absolute greenhouse gas emission reductions of 64 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO).
Dr Afriyie disclosed this in a speech read on his behalf at the inauguration of an international greenhouse gas monitoring and global change research station for the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Sunyani.
The Bia Tano station is a joint scientific research project between UENR, the Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Republic (CzechGlobe) and other governmental institutions including the Ghana Forestry Commission and the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG).
It would be responsible for the direct measurements of forest-atmosphere exchanges of carbon dioxide, water, energy, and other trace gases that would allow for the University to observe the whole forest ecosystem metabolism (including soil measurements).
The station would further empower the University to quantify the role of forests as sources of trace gases, the input of gaseous pollutants and nutrients and the role of the nation’s tropical forests in cleansing the atmosphere through carbon uptake from the atmosphere.
Dr. Afriyie said Ghana remained committed to its fight against climate change through its regular national annual reports on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Currently, he explained that the country’s NDCs comprise about 47 adaptation and mitigation measures on climate change and embody efforts by countries to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
These measures are in line with Article 4 of the Paris Agreement to regulate the global temperature below 2.0 °C, he said, indicating the interim NDCs sought to advance climate-responsive food production systems, lowering deforestation and landscape restoration.
It will also scale up renewable energy and sustainable energy transition, promote clean electric mobility, and mobilise investments into climate actions.
Dr. Afriyie said Ghana’s forest and its relevance in developing sound climate change mitigation policies to promote sustainable forest management practices to regulate deforestation.
“Climate change is a defining issue of our time, and we need bold and pragmatic actions today to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to build resilience in terms of mitigation efforts.”
Tropical forests, he explained, had a crucial role in cooling temperatures on the earth’s surface by extracting carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.
“Two-thirds of their cooling power comes from their ability to capture CO2 and store it while the remaining one-third comes from their ability to create clouds, humidify the air and release cooling chemicals.”
This signifies the important role played by these tropical trees in the global carbon cycle and the need to protect and better understand them.
Despite its significant role in global carbon sequestration, only a few studies mostly based on remote sensing applications and short-field research campaigns had been conducted in Africa to understand the sequestration capacity and resilience of African forest ecosystems to recent Land Use Changes (LUC) and future global climate change.
Dr. Afriyie said the ministry remained committed to the success of this project, and promised to help the University to acquire a partial waiver on the sensors that were donated by the CzechGlobe.
Officials from the Ministry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would also closely work with the scientists from the University on the project to provide the needed technical assistance and guidance for effective management and utilization of the data for maximum impact.
Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister, regretted Ghana was fast losing her wildlife and biodiversity, with many species facing extinction.
She said the high deforestation rates experienced in the country and many other developing countries within the tropical region had led to the increased loss in the carbon sequestration capacity, and additional negative consequences to global warming by the release of forest carbon.
Mad. Owusu-Banahene added through this project, scientists could get to understand better the physiological changes that occur in the forest ecosystem under changing climatic conditions.
“Through these efforts, the University and its partners can contribute resourcefully to the government’s effort in combating climate change through the effective implementation of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in Developing Countries programme (REDD+)”, she said.
Earlier in a welcoming address, Professor Elvis Asare-Bediako, the Vice Chancellor of the UENR expressed appreciation to the government of Ghana, the Czech Embassy, the CzechGlobe and its (University’s) entire local communities which had helped in diverse ways for the growth and development of the University.
He said though it was still one of the youngest public universities in the country, the university could boast of its tremendous contributions to scientific research and education since its establishment 10 years ago.