The Paris Agreement; a legally binding international treaty on climate change (mitigation, adaptation and financing) was born during the first binding global climate accord, where most countries sought to establish rules and policies to allow for the proper implementation. Ghana also signed the Paris Agreement in April 2016 and ratified it in September 2016 and since then a little effort is being made in Ghana by government, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) to make the net zero attainment a reality. In reality, a lot needs to be done in the areas of reduction of emissions, energy saving, recycling and making better consumption choices among others. The role government plays in climate change cannot be underestimated and in order to ensure a better future for all, government still needs to contribute on a large scale to climate change.
One key thing that government needs to do to fight against climate change is the protection of the ecosystem. Protecting and restoring the ecosystem is seen as one of the most feasible, realistic and fair option because it benefits humanity and all species. It is therefore necessary to encourage and implement the safeguarding of rivers, oceans, wetlands and forests that absorb large quantities of carbon, slows down warming which in turn prevents extreme weather events and hereby protects them from destruction. It is worthy to note that 35% of global emission comes from energy production, but more development in a nation means more energy use.
Also, developing a proper power mix like solar, wind, geothermal, oceanic and other projects that the environment can adapt to is a step in the right direction for government and the energy industry because being diversified in energy needs, will help save money and infrastructure. The energy industry is one of the first places considered when talking about climate change, so government can actively put in place public policies or strategies as a mechanism to help the energy company’s work together in achieving a carbon neutral environment by 2050.
To add to this, an effective control of pollutants like ozone, methane, black carbon and hydro fluorocarbons among others through national policies and regulations can also accelerate the fight against climate change. Since these gases cause air pollution, measures to mitigate them would directly benefit human health.
Furthermore, adaptation mechanisms should be in place for environments where damage has already been caused. Mostly, climate change solutions seem to be geared towards mitigation strategies like planting more trees and encouraging zero emission at production site among others. It is important that action is taken to prevent catastrophes and reduce vulnerability. The impact of climate change is already a reality for many, thus, the national climate change adaptation strategy if seriously implemented, and not just a written document, will be best for these environments as mitigation mechanisms are also in practice.
Time is of the essence when it comes to talking about climate change as we are already witnessing extreme natural phenomena, like degraded forests that are losing their ability to absorb carbon. Most governments have the extra time now to show that they don’t only set targets but have a clear plan in place to meet them and are capable to ensure these plans are delivered. CSOs, NGOs, private firms, individuals and Government of Ghana (constituting of executive, legislature and judiciary) in particular, needs to support the climate change discussion as it commits to working effectively towards the benefit of everyone and the environment which will help to prevent the worst-case scenarios
The writer is a climate and sustainable environment advocate