Friday, October 18, 2013

Ghana’s Low Carbon Strategy Aims To Identify Emission Reduction

Mrs. Bernice Adiku Heloo

Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) has been targeted to help identify emission reduction mechanisms and financing plans to implement various initiatives for sustainable development in Ghana.

In addition, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Mrs. Bernice Adiku Heloo mentioned it would “help in our ability to quantify emission of green house gases per the key stakeholders.”

At a day’s capacity building workshop towards developing the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) under the FIRM project in the country Tuesday, Mrs. Heloo responded to a question that selecting local consultants to assist in the preparation of the LCDS was highly commendable.

And speaking to just after the first session of the workshop, the minister noted that even though the country had not started the vehicle emission control programme, “we’ve gone far.”

“Very soon, some vehicles would be subjected to emission tests and those which have problems would be treated,” she said.

She conceded the country’s carbon emission rate was not of the best and therefore, expected the introduction of the Forestry Improvement Project to grow more trees, the emissions control programme, energy saving programmes, green economy, which is yet to come on board to serve as interventions.

The workshop sought to find actionable ways to gain access to the right technology, engage private investments, improved understanding and the acquisition of new skills and business opportunities for sustainable development.

Daniel Benefor of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a presentation noted that investments into Ghana’s list of 55 NAMAs were the surest way to realizing the green growth targets.

Ghana’s policy to go green, according to him, was triggered by intentions to pursue green growth, greater private sector participation to achieve the green growth policy objectives among others.

Mr. Benefor added that pursuing a green economy also meant supporting sustainable development.

A former Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Urban Transportation, Bernard Abeiku Arthur, who gave an overview of the Bus Rapid Transit system in some countries like Indonesia, Brazil and neighbouring Nigeria, blamed Ghana’s inability to continue with its system on military coups from 1966 through to 1972.

However, bringing it back, he maintained would require deliberate national policy and action.

He further argued that transportation went beyond designs and thus, engineers ought to look beyond such scope.

Stressing that, the country’s traffic woes were not a matter of road expansions but adapting the best approach as implementing the BRT system. This, he admitted, would cut cost and save time.

The BRT system aims to improve mobility in the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) through a combination of traffic engineering measures, management improvements, regulation of the public transport industry and the implementation of the BRT system as well as promoting a shift to more environmental sustainable transport mode.

A Technical Assistant at the Ghana Environmental Conventions Coordinating Authority (GECCA), Dr. Raymond Babanawo also told there would be a follow up workshop to develop a low carbon development strategy for Ghana soon.

He noted that workshop would seek to identify the emission levels and what actions should be taken to reduce them while exploring the co-benefits of emission reduction in the areas of health and transport.

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