The Chief of party to the Integrated Resource and Resilience Planning Project, a USAID funded project, Ananth Chikkatur, has said that Ghana risks being heavily hit by the effects of climate change if the country does not integrate climate change information in its planning processes at all levels of development.
Ghana is impacted by various risks and uncertainties, including increased storm surges, extreme rainfall, sea-level rise, flooding and increased frequency, and severity of droughts.
More worrying is the effect of climate change on community livelihoods, infrastructure stability, rain-fed agriculture, food security, spatial planning, and energy security among others.
At a two-day awareness workshop for planning officers in the Western Region around effectively integrating extreme weather and climate change risks into district-level energy frameworks and planning in Takoradi, Mr. Chikkatur spoke of the need for Ghana to pay particular attention to climate change due to its present and future threat it poses.
He explained to Citi News that “there is what we call non-climate stressors. We already have building codes in Ghana. We have environmental impact assessments that one should do. if you do not do those environmental impact assessments correctly, if you do not follow these existing building codes correctly, then whatever happens with climate will just make it worst.
“We have drains in Takoradi, we have drains in Accra. Many of these drains as we know them are clogged. You get to the Kaneshie Market during rain storms and the drains all get covered. If we do not clean the drains, it is going to make things more difficult. Does that has to do with climate change? No, it has to do with us following the building codes, we need to follow procedures, it has to do with us not throwing garbage on the streets, we make sure if they are there already, they are getting collected among others.”
Mr. Chikkatur then admonished that “if the things that we are supposed to do are not done, and on top of that we have the effect of Climate Change, its going to make things even worse. It’s not just about climate change, but following the codes for sanitation, building and other codes”.
Speaking of how Climate Change is becoming a threat to Ghana, Mr. Chikkatur mentioned of the report they have produced on Climate Change and its effect on Ghana, when he said that “in the next 20 to 30 years, there will be increased high temperatures in Ghana. It could be anywhere in Ghana and will range anywhere between 1.2 and 1.6 centigrade in the future. It means that the weather will be hotter and the rainfall pattern is anticipated to change. We anticipate that there will be more rains from the months of August to December and less rain from March to June. This will be a slight change”.
He continued that “as the temperature gets warmer, there will be more evaporation and so there will be more clouds. This presents a possibility that there will be more rains but these rainfalls could be more extreme as we have been seeing in Accra. Accra has had rainfalls at unexpected times and downpours. These patterns could be more extreme. We need to plan with these changes in patterns in mind”.
It is on the back of putting integrated climate change information into planning at the district assembly level that the IRRP is sensitizing planning officers in the Western Region to aid them factor in climate change information in their planning processes.