The World Bank has offered Ghana a $3-million grant to build the capacity of local communities affected by climate change.
Known as Enhancing Access to Benefits by Lowering Emissions (EnABLE), the grant was approved by the multilateral bank for Ghana as a further benefit for lowering emissions in the forestry sector.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who disclosed this when he addressed a forum at Ghana's pavilion at the ongoing 27th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27) yesterday, said the country reduced emissions by 972,456 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) under the Cocoa Forest REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation plus) programme.
The ministers of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie; Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor; Energy, Dr Mathew Opoku-Prempeh, and other state officials were at the forum, which was also attended by development partners and some participants in the COP27.
President Akufo-Addo said the historic feat in reducing emissions in the forestry sector had generated a result-based carbon payment of about $4.9 million.
"Sixty-nine per cent of this payment goes directly to the local communities, without any third-party interference, as outlined in the programme's comprehensive and inclusive benefits sharing plan," he added.
He said those different stages of achievement had put the country at the forefront of dedicated action and nature-based solutions to tackle deforestation and forest degradation.
"These achievements have been chalked up through the immense support of various stakeholders, particularly donors and international partners, such as the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)," he said.
The President added that the approach for implementing the REDD+ programme was integrated and multi-sectoral, thereby helping to address pertinent issues across the mining, agricultural, labour and forestry sectors.
"Pursuant to a letter of intent signed last year at the COP26, we are also working to secure a binding emission reduction purchase agreement with Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAP) coalition to support our forest-based climate actions," he said.
Touching on the Green Ghana Project, an aggressive tree planting exercise launched in 2021, President Akufo-Addo said 31 million trees had been planted in two years.
He explained that seven million of the trees were planted in the 2021, with 24 million being planted this year.
He said the Green Ghana Project demonstrated the country's commitment to the implementation of climate actions, noting that more action was required to plant trees and take other measures to protect the environment.
The President said the government was implementing the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system as a measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation hector.
In the energy sector, he said, the government was keen on establishing renewable energy alternatives, such as wind, solar, nuclear and thermal.
"We are committed to developing our green minerals and adding value to them to contribute to the green energy transition," he said.
Regarding the way forward to win the war against the climate crisis, President Akufo-Addo said robust, dedicated and collective action was required at the national and the international levels among governments, donors, the private sector and other actors to generate and drive technical and financial capacity to sustain climate action.
For his part, Dr Afriyie said Ghana was committed to dealing with climate change because the impact of the crisis on humanity and the planet was dire.
He said building a resilient forest sector would ensure adaptation and reduction of emission.
Mr Jinapor underscored the need for stronger collaboration between the related state agencies and non-state actors to fight climate change.
In another development, President Akufo-Addo has assured the global community of Ghana’s full commitment to increase its share of renewable energy in the energy mix.
Speaking at a High-Level Event on Sustainable Energy for All organised by Bloomberg Philanthropies on the sidelines of the COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt last Monday, the President said “we will continue to increase the share of renewable energy in our electricity generation mix, as well as explore the options of hydrogen gas and other clean energy sources to meet our energy needs”.
“Energy transition has become a global responsibility for us all, especially in view of the impact of climate change and the global energy crisis brought forth by the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he said.
With Ghana being a signatory to the Paris Agreement and other international conventions which require the country to reduce its carbon dioxide emission levels, the President indicated that it had become imperative for Ghana to develop plans and strategies towards the creation of a net-zero energy sector, while aggressively pursuing the nation’s economic development.
“Our updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), under the Paris Agreement, affirms the country's resolve to address the impacts of climate change and build a resilient economy for our people,” he stressed.
President Akufo-Addo further said the country’s position on energy transition was to continue the responsible exploitation of natural resources for development and transition at its own pace.
“The government of Ghana is mindful of the actions of the developed countries in relation to energy transition and their effect on us,” he said.
To that end, he told the gathering that it had become necessary for the government to develop an Energy Transition Framework that would guide the country as the entire world moved towards realising net zero emissions.
He added that the government, being mindful of the implications of such a framework and its implementation on the entire economy, directed the committee to undertake extensive stakeholder consultations, in addition to expert input, to produce the National Energy Transition Framework to guide its transition to a net-zero economy by 2070 in a just and equitable manner, as well as minimise possible stranded assets and job losses in the oil and gas sector.
The total cost of the transition was estimated at $561.8 billion, he added.
President Akufo-Addo also addressed the High-Level Meeting on ‘Just Energy Transition’, where he indicated that Ghana had developed a National Energy Transition Framework to provide the vision and guidance for Ghana's energy transition.
In preparing that framework, he said, all existing policies were considered and the programmes being implemented towards achieving Ghana's NDC.
“Wide stakeholder consultations were held to ensure that energy transition issues in various parts of the country were captured and addressed in the framework. These included organised and non-organised labour, market women, academia, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), development partners (DPs) and the international community,” he said.
He explained that the framework provided the optimal and sustainable pathway for fuel supply security, diversified energy mix and cost-efficient electricity generation, with an estimated generation tariff of less than 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour to accelerate the socio-economic development of Ghana.
“Ghana aims to achieve universal access by 2024. The Energy Transition Framework will meet future electricity demand of 380 Terawatt-hours, with a corresponding installed capacity of 83 gigawatts (GW),” he said.
“Ghana's diversified energy mix will include 21GW of renewable energy installed capacity, which will provide the opportunity to enjoy a greater share in the renewable energy carbon credit market,” the President added.
He further said the transition would mitigate 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide of green house gas emissions and minimise energy-related indoor air pollution and associated diseases.
“It is estimated that 48,218 premature deaths will be avoided annually due to the improvement in air quality resulting from the impact of the transition,” President Akufo-Addo said.