The Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ms Patricia Appiagyei has said that farmers, especially those into the production of cocoa, will be most affected by the effects of rising temperatures as a result of climate change. The cocoa industry, she noted, contributes about $2 billion annually. She said that despite Africa contributing less green house emissions, it will be the hardest hit when it comes to the effects of climate change.
She made these remarks at the opening ceremony of an outreach event on the significance and implications of the 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
She urged a focus on reversible actions as the report suggests such as rethinking national development plans and decoupling growth from fossil fuel emissions. She also urged governments to reconsider how cities are designed and planned.
Ms Appiagyei noted that approaches such as empowering women to mitigate against acts of pollution as well as run their businesses using energy innovations should be taken into account. ‘We should not just focus on changing systems - we need to support women as agents of change’ she stated.
IPCC's Vice-Chairperson, Youba Sokona presented the key messages of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, in a speech read on his behalf said that the outreach event is significant because it allows researchers and stakeholders to critically examine the report to make it relevant and accessible. He noted that projections made by the report on escalating temperatures in the future will result in undernourishment.
He said Ghana has recorded a significant reduction in rainfall with effects of climate change being felt in increasing temperatures, reduced rainfall and extreme weather events.
"By 2020, about 250 million people would have been exposed to severe challenges of meeting the energy needs of a major part of the continent" adding "most African cities will be at risk".
Madam Fatima Denton, Director for the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources(UNU-INRA) said that all the current energy systems available can be managed. She noted that the report enforces new initiatives that farmers can use. "It will be useful to bring renewed actions that will transform cities into smart and industrial ones.
The President of the African Academy of Sciences(AAS) in his speech noted that a committee had been set up across Africa to address issues facing the continent including climate change. He disclosed that they would seek more funding that would allow them to address climate change issues. He said that the AAS wouldwork in collaboration with other agencies such as the UNU-INRA, UG and the IPCC to consider practical ways to address climate change.
He also urged for the establishment of Youth Champions in Climate Change in every region in all countries across West Africa to effect change at the local level.
Other speakers at the event gave reports on selected topics based on results from the research.
The report of the research which was conducted by the IPCC indicates that human activities have caused global warming to reach 1.0 degrees Celsius and is estimated to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 to 2052 at the current rate. Risks are however higher if temperatures exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius and will have long lasting or irreversible effects if it peaks at 2 degree Celsius the report stated.
It also noted that these figures demonstrate risks for natural and human systems such as higher temperatures, decreased precipitation in several regions with drought and precipitation deficit, rising sea levels with effects on biodiversity and ecosystems as well as major effects on human health, livelihoods, food , water and so on.
It, however, recommends adaptation and mitigation options that reduce risks and impacts. The event was attended by various stakeholders and selected school children.