Story: Caroline Boateng
BY the year 2080, cocoa, which is Ghana’s main export crop, may cease to grow in the country as a result of climatic changes.
It is predicted that by that time, temperatures will witness increases of about 4.5 degrees Celsius, making the country too hot for the crop to grow.
The production of root crops such as cocoyam and cassava may also decrease in yields by 43 and 53 per cent, respectively.
These are some of the predictions by Messrs Jonathan Allotey and William Kojo Agyemang-Bonsu of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their review of the Human Development Report (HDR), 2007/2008.
The report, launched in Accra last Tuesday, paints a very gloomy global picture for the next few years and beyond if immediate action is not taken.
Focusing on changing climatic conditions and the impact on development, the report has the theme, “Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World,” and predicts that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) may not be met, while gains made in development by developing countries may be eroded.
“Progress development is increasingly going to be hindered by climate change. This is a fact that has been established by our local studies on climate change and poverty linkages,” they pointed out.
Presenting the review that sought to relate the HDR 2007/2008 to Ghana’s situation, Mr Allotey said climate change was already affecting the poorest and most vulnerable communities globally.
The floods in the northern parts of Ghana, according to him, were some of the immediate costs of climate change.
Among other things, the reviewers called for a change in focus in the fight against poverty.
They proposed the mainstreaming of climate change initiatives into all development agendas to sustain gains and move ahead.
“This will be a challenge for democratic governance. Political systems will have to agree to pay the early costs to reap the long-term gains. Leadership will require looking beyond electoral cycles,” they said.
In a welcoming address, the United Nations Resident Co-ordinator, Mr Daouda Toure, said climate change posed “profoundly important questions about social justice, equity and human rights across countries and generations”.
He pointed out that although global warming, as it related to climate change, had several aspects, it was fundamentally a development issue that knew no national boundaries.
“Climate change should, therefore, be addressed in the context of our broader international development agenda and co-operation. What is at stake is the future and well being of our planet,” he said.
Mr Toure listed desertification, tidal waves eroding coastal towns, drought and floods as some of the effects of climate change that could not be ignored by countries like Ghana.
A Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Prof George Gyan-Bafuor, who launched the report on behalf of the Minister, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, said the government had shown its commitment by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, the main framework for dealing with climate change.
He said implementation posed challenges that required collaboration from all.
The Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Mr Kwabena Adjei-Darko, who chaired the function, asked Ghanaians to resort to the traditional methods of conserving the environment that had served Ghanaians well in the past.
DAILY GRAPHIC, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2007, PG 31