Chief Executive Officer of Global Center on Adaptation, Professor Patrick Verkooijen, has called for the need to invest in climate adaptation in Ghana and across the globe.
Prof Verkooijen revealed that there is an urgency for increased financial investment in climate change, particularly in Ghana and Africa, as they are the major victims of western industrialization which has altered the climate. He noted that this is a move the convergence of global leaders at last year’s climate summit in Glasgow sought to achieve, where President Akufo-Addo’s “strong voice” influenced the western world to agree to double their financial commitment.
The CEO of Global Center on Adaptation recounted that the western world had made prior financial commitment that“$100 billion from the North to the South would flow on an annual basis”. He however explained that they could only manage to raise $80 billion and a paltry sum of $6 billion was given to Africa.
Prof Verkooijen highlighted that the new reality with Ukraine “tells us most of our development aid in the western world is now going to Ukraine [and] it’s not coming to Africa”. Owing to this, he emphasized the need for a reset globally with the prospect and growth prosperity of the African continent.
“I think the starting proposition is smart economics. Investing in climate adaptation [and] adapting to a changing climate is good economics. Why? Because every dollar, every pound [and] every euro invested in making infrastructure more resilient has a return of 4 pounds, dollars [and] euros on that same dollar. So, the realization that investing in climate, in fact, is good economics. It creates jobs, it creates sheer prosperity; this should be front and center and not necessarily ministers of environment but ministers of finance and central bankers. It’s a financial issue which needs to be put forward much stronger to the global community.”Professor Patrick Verkooijen
Impact of climate change in Ghana
Commenting on the basis for a study conducted by his outfit which suggested that Ghana is going to be witnessing acute weather conditions and drought, Prof Verkooijen stated that the premise for the conclusion is that Ghana is “getting wetter, it’s drier and it’s getting hotter at the same time in different parts of the country”. He explained that considering the location of Ghana, the intensification of water cycle is even more drastic. As such, the capability of the country to adapt is below and the physical space to respond is also limited given the economic crisis and the fallout from COVID.
“Again, this profound injustice in the system is that the brunt of the climate impact is being felt here, the vulnerability is here… So now, the Western world has said we are willing to contribute financially…”Professor Patrick Verkooijen
Prof Verkooijen subsequently expressed that Ghana is in the“eye of the storm” because the country is recovering from COVID, experiencing surges in food and energy prices. This, he explained, are further compounded by the climate catastrophe which Ghana and Africa as a whole did not cause.
“… Less than 4% of emissions are from Africa and Africa as a continent and Ghana as a consequence, is mostly impacted. There’s a profound moral injustice in the system and our motivation behind this new study is what can we do? So, we have looked at the infrastructure in Ghana, roads, water systems, energy provision; and what are the climate risks today and what are the climate risks tomorrow? Actually, it’s quite a shocking story which we have seen.”Professor Patrick Verkooijen
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