We must work to solve climate crisis

On Thursday, April 20, 2023, the U.S. Ambassador, Virginia Palmer, announced the winners of the U.S. Embassy’s ‘Capture the Change’ photo contest ahead of this year’s commemoration of Earth Day.

The contest is an innovative approach by the U.S. Embassy to whip up the interest of Ghanaian youth in exploring ways of tackling the global climate crisis.  

It is worthy to note that more than 100 young people submitted photographs highlighting the impact, potential mitigation and adaptations Ghanaians are adopting to face the climate crisis.

In the words of the U.S Ambassador, “these photos clearly show how young Ghanaians are experiencing our changing climate, and I am really impressed by their creativity and optimism, as well as their emotional resolve to address the climate crisis.”

Since 2021, the Biden administration has invested and plans to work with the U.S Congress to provide at least $1.1 billion to support African-led efforts to support conservation, climate adaptation and a just energy transition. 

The Daily Graphic supports the initiative by the U.S Embassy to harness the potential of young people to tackle the global climate crisis through innovation. 

African countries, including Ghana, are already experiencing some of the worst impacts of climate change and need proactive action to survive. According to Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) – Africa, the African continent accounts for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions, at just 3.8 per cent, compared with China’s 23 per cent; US’s 19 per cent; and the European Union’s (EU’s) 13 per cent.

Yet, Africa is the hardest hit in terms of climate-related disasters such as floods, droughts, displacements, food and water insecurity.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says global temperatures are increasingly warming, with Africa experiencing an average rate of 0.3 °C per decade between 1991 and 2021, faster than the warming from 1961-1990, at 0.2°C.

The African coastlines are also witnessing sea level rise at a higher rate than the global mean rate, with an estimated 116 million people on the continent expected to be exposed to sea level rise risk.

Furthermore, droughts have claimed over half a million lives on the continent in the past 50 years, with over US$70 billion recorded losses in the region.

This is apart from the more than 1,000 flood-related disasters that were reported over the period, involving more than 20,000 deaths. Again, it is estimated that by 2050, climate impacts could cost African nations US$50 billion annually.

It is in the light of the above grim picture that the Daily Graphic believes that efforts to tackle the global climate crisis must be inclusive and all-encompassing. While policy makers advance policies to tackle the climate crisis, other stakeholders must rise up and act to protect the environment from destruction.

As countries work towards keeping emissions below the 1.5°C target under the Paris Agreement, it is important for measures to be taken to control vehicular emissions. It is also essential for flood-mitigating measures to be rolled out to curb perennial flooding in many parts of the country.

All actors at the community, national, regional and global level need to work together in a coordinated manner to stem the tide.

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