Ophelia Mensah Hayford (seated middle), Minister of MESTI; Peter Dery (seated 2nd from right), Director of Environment at MESTI; and Kingsley Ekow Gurah-Sey (seated 2nd from left), EPA Director for Environmental Assessment and Management
Ophelia Mensah Hayford (seated middle), Minister of MESTI; Peter Dery (seated 2nd from right), Director of Environment at MESTI; and Kingsley Ekow Gurah-Sey (seated 2nd from left), EPA Director for Environmental Assessment and Management

Tackling climate change: Strategy to reduce Ghana’s methane footprint in the offing

The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), in collaboration with various stakeholders, is developing a policy document to address climate change by cutting back on the nation’s methane emissions.

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Dubbed; Ghana's National Methane Roadmap (G-MRAP), it will outline the steps and actions required to reduce the country’s methane pollution thereby aiding in the 30 per cent global reduction efforts.

It will also serve as a guide for policymakers, stakeholders and implementing agencies to navigate the process of the policy’s development, implementation and evaluation. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas which, in 20 years, causes global warming 80 times faster than carbon dioxide because it is a short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP). It has contributed to about 30 per cent of global warming since the start of the industrial era.

Its main sources are agriculture, fossil fuels and waste. Other SLCPs with devastating effects include black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The roadmap is part of Ghana’s commitment to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), convened by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote rapid reductions in SLCPs to protect life in general.

Therefore, the ministry is developing the policy through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and collaborating with the CCAC, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), local NGOs and academia.

Speaking at an inception workshop for the preparation of the strategy held last Monday at Peduase in the Eastern Region, the Minister of MESTI, Ophelia Mensah Hayford, lamented the impact of climate change and underscored the urgency of addressing them.

Developmental gains

She said it was eroding developmental gains and prosperity while contributing to the widening of existing challenges such as poverty, inadequate and expensive health services and lack of access to clean and affordable energy.

“Therefore, cutting emissions requires deliberate planning to target each emission source or activity type and importantly, all forms of gases, with attention to creating the needed transformational socio-economic outcomes,” Ms Hayford added.

She stressed that G-MRAP would employ a systematic and all-inclusive mechanism to outline the various activities in the oil and gas, agriculture and waste sectors creating methane emissions; and come up with abatement options and costs while creating the needed economic opportunities from its abatement.

The Director for Environmental Assessment and Management of the EPA, Kingsley Ekow Gurah-Sey,  described the initiative as a systematic and collaborative effort that involves identifying the current sources of methane emissions within the country, proposing effective actions to mitigate these emissions and outlining the necessary steps for implementation.

He said the expertise, insights, discussions and deliberations shared during the workshop would set the stage for the practical steps stakeholders would take in the coming months and years to reduce methane emissions effectively.

“Together, we have the power to make a significant impact on methane emissions in Ghana. Let us seize this opportunity to work collaboratively and innovatively towards a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future for our nation,” Mr Gurah-Sey added.

A representative from the CCAC, Catalina Etcheverry, commended the country’s commitment to addressing climate issues and said Ghana’s national plans showed its recognition of the strategic power of acting on pollution and climate by focusing not just on carbon reductions but also on SLCPs.

She added that many methane-cutting interventions would deliver major development benefits, including capturing wasted gas to boost energy security; increasing livestock productivity and cutting food waste to boost food security and accelerate economic growth; and improving waste management which delivers health and air quality benefits. 

Sideline agreements

On the sidelines of the event, MESTI signed separate bilateral agreements with Sweden and Singapore to cooperate in the fight against climate change. The agreements were according to Article 6 of the global Paris Agreement on climate mitigation, adaptation and finance, which sets out how countries can cooperate to reach the climate targets of their nations [ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

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