The experts say that when forests are cleared or degraded, they can become a source of greenhouse gas emissions by releasing stored carbon.
It is estimated that globally, deforestation and forest degradation account for almost 11 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Other sources of carbon dioxide emissions are the burning of fossil fuels and the manufacture of cement.
Ghana is basically an agricultural country mostly using crude methods of farming, and farms and their expansion demand the clearing of lands to meet production targets.
Most importantly, as a country which depends on cocoa as a major export earner and always wants to increase its production, it is natural that it would have problems with emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Carbon dioxide emissions contribute to climate change.
Globally, climate change causes more frequent and intense drought, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warming oceans, which can directly harm animals, destroy their habitats, and wreak havoc on communities and people’s livelihoods.
With the exception of the melting glaciers, all the other climate change effects can occur in Ghana.
The fact is that once populations of various places are growing, consumption will rise and production must be increased to meet demand and this cannot happen without deforestation and land/forest degradation.
What is important is what humanity can do to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to the changing environment.
For instance, countries must help people and nature in any way possible to adapt to the changing climate; adopt policies to fight climate change; and engage with businesses to reduce carbon emissions.
This is why it is good news that the country has received US$4,862,280 from the World Bank, the first of four payments expected under its Emission Reductions Payment Agreement aimed at encouraging member countries to implement activities to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. (See story on page 11).
We are happy with the assistance and based on accounts being related, we believe the country would maintain the right course in fighting carbon emission for which the World Bank is ready to give more assistance.
We say this not having the slightest intention to ascribe evil to any public officials but we know that if the government and the World Bank let down their guard, misapplication of misappropriation of some of the funds can occur.
As a public organisation and a watchdog at that seeking the welfare of the country in the face of climate change and its effects resulting from carbon emissions, we are expressing that concern to prompt the powers that be to take precaution to ensure the full benefits of the funds provided.
Even though the climate change phenomenon affects everyone, it is not in doubt that there are vulnerable people whose livelihoods can crumble from its weight and make them suffer more than others.
The managers of the emission-reduction project in the country must, therefore, have these people in mind and serve their interest rather than any parochial objective.
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