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Opinions Sun, 21 Sep 2014

Call For Climate Action Part 1.

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every

man’s greed”- Mahatma Ghandi. The world keeps increasing in population

and demand for resources keeps increasing; the thought of this should

be enough to inspire the attitude of conservation and ‘ecocentricism’

among individuals. However, world leaders are being economically

inclined to exploit more resources to better economy than to secure a

healthy ecological environment for future generations. Over

exploitation, and other anthropogenic activities is leading to a

predictable unsafe environment for future generations.

With our inability to ensure maximum biodiversity- which is essential

to sustaining the living networks and systems that provide us all with

health, food, wealth, energy and the vital services our lives depend

on, thousands of species are risk to extinction from disappearing

habitats, changing ecosystems and acidifying oceans. According to the

IPCC, climate change will put some 20% to 30% of species globally at

increasingly high risk of extinction, possibly by 2100. These

organisms, ecosystems and ecological processes supply us with oxygen

and clean water. They help keep our lives in balance and regulate the

climate. Yet this rich diversity is being lost at a greatly

accelerated rate because of human activities.

Countries of ecological interest has started campaigning and taking

action against global warming and climate change as well as every

activity that connote these impacts. On the other side, most

developing countries- due to economic instability and temporal

resource exploitation benefits do not prioritize climate action.

Most developing countries regard developed countries as more carbon

producers and therefore think it’s right for such countries to put a

price on carbon, however, climate change is a global phenomenon and

its impact will affect every country.

Ghana provides an excellent example of the additional challenges that

climate change and variability places on development. It has made

significant economic progress in recent decades and achieved middle

income country status. Like all other countries, this progress is

accompanied by rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and Ghana has

moved from being a net carbon sink to a net emitter. The sink decline

is due to deforestation. Net GHG emissions rose from an estimated

minus 16.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 1990, to 23.8 MT in

2006, with 40% of the emissions from energy, 24% from agriculture and

25% from land use, land use change and forestry (MEST, 2011).

Diseases like malaria which result in the death of most citizens every

year in Ghana could become more difficult to control even in areas

where it's currently cold for the parasite to spread year-round. The

malaria parasite itself is generally limited to certain areas by

cooler winter temperatures since it is not able to grow below 16°C. As

temperatures rise, diseases can grow and disease vectors (the carriers

that transmit disease, such as mosquitoes) will mature more rapidly

and have longer active seasons. A warming planet threatens people

worldwide, especially tropical countries like Ghana -causing deaths,

spreading insect-borne diseases and exacerbating respiratory

illnesses. The World Health Organizationbelieves that even the modest

increases in average temperature that have occurred since the 1970s

are responsible for at least 150,000 extra deaths a year—a figure that

will double by 2030, according to WHO's conservative estimate.

As part of the Millennium Developmental Goal, food security is one of

the sectors that drive most developing countries into famine and

extreme poverty. Ghana currently depends on Agriculture for a higher

percentage of employment; the agriculture sector provides as with

foods and has a significant percentage of the nation’s Gross Domestic

Product (GDP). Farming basically depends on the fertility of lands and

more importantly weather conditions. Over exploitation in Ghana has

led to increased soil degradation caused by soil-nutrient mining,

erosion, deforestation and desertification, water logging, falling

water tables, over salinization and potentially, climate change render

barren the marginal cropland the poor had counted on for survival.

To be continued........

Columnist: Amponsem, Joshua