HMS Endurance, the only Ice Patrol Ship of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, has arrived at the Tema Harbour to whip up African interest on issues of climate change.
This is part of the global effort to bring climate change issues to the fore as a run-up to the United Nations General Assembly meeting on Climate Change in New York next month.
The UN meeting is expected to take concrete action and set up specific time lines on gas emissions and actions to deal with the global challenge.
The HMS Endurance is a world class climate and ecological research vessel that operates in the Antarctica collecting data on climate change and has already spent six months there.
The visit of the ship, coincides with the high level talks on climate change under the auspices of the UN framework for Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aimed at securing effective emission reduction framework under the auspices of the Kyoto Protocol.
At a press conference held on the ship, Captain Bob Tarrant, the captain of HMS Endurance, said a useful platform for dialogue on climate change would be presented by the experienced and varied nature of the skills of the more than 100 people living on the ship that included scientists, photographers, engineers, chefs, surveyors, soldiers and air crew.
He also expressed the commitment of the UK in providing solutions to and engaging with partners like Ghana on the challenge.
An African Climate Change and Environmental Adviser of the UN Department for International Affairs, Mr Sean Doolan, said climate change implications for Ghana would be in the mining, energy and water sectors.
He said there was, therefore, a real stake within the country to forge response on the issue and lead an African voice to contribute to solutions to the challenge.
He said although a lot of work had been done already, there was the need for wider national consultations to achieve an international framework by 2009.
Mr Doolan advocated a strong African political mandate on the issue as an African response was generally missing from the debates.
He was sure that Ghana had the potential to provide leadership for the sub-region and, indeed, the continent.
An officer of the UK Meteorological Office, Ms Kirsty Lewi, said the activities of the ship were geared towards understanding climate change, causes and impacts on regions.
She said further that work so far had shown that climatic change was of a global scale, affecting temperature and rainfall pattern.
Currently, the ship was finding out the impact of climate change on regional blocs and data was being collected for modelling climate change in West Africa that would show the impact of climatic change trends specifically on the sub-region.
An official of the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Ms Hannah Ryder, said the high level talks on climate change were part of the action plan towards the reduction of emissions and redressing climate change and its effects.
She said these seminars presented opportunities for technological adaptations, and the use of technology and finance as supporting mechanisms to tackle the challenge.
She said discussions in Ghana would also focus on deforestation as forests were critical in redressing emissions and contribute to solving the challenges posed by climatic change.
A representative of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr Emmanuel Arthur, said the EPA, which was at the forefront of local initiatives on climate change, was implementing a programme geared at sensitising particularly rural dwellers to their engagement with the environment.
The HMS Endurance will be in the country till August 26, 2008, and will also host a series of seminars on maritime security.
DAILY GRAPHIC, FRIDAY AUGUST 22, 2008, PG 23