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General News
Don''t Delay Action On Climate Change - Mills 12/19/2009

President John Evans Atta Mills has drawn the attention of world leaders to the fact that Africa will bear the brunt of the devastating effect of climate change if they fail to take action to mitigate the situation.

Using the recent experiences of floods, change in rainfall patterns and drought in Ghana as a reference point, he said, “Putting on hold actions on climate change will be disastrous.”

Addressing the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, yesterday, President Mills said the measured and timely response to the global financial crisis was testimony enough that “we have the capacity to deal effectively with the climate change challenge”.

He, therefore, asked the international community not to regard the current economic challenges as an excuse to delay action on climate change.

The summit is being attended by world leaders, including President Barack Obama of the US, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the UK, Prince Charles of England and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France.

The UN conference, which includes the 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Fifth Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP5) to the Kyoto Protocol, was opened in the Danish capital on December 7, 2009 and is expected to close today, December 18, 2009.

More than 15,000 people, made up of officials, experts and journalists from 192 UN member states, are participating. By the agreed road map, a framework for climate change mitigation beyond 2012 is to be agreed at the conference.

The Heads of State and representatives of governments of more than 100 countries are attending the summit.

President Mills said our experiences in dealing with different crises in the past informed us that postponing action was always dangerous, adding that the fear of the unknown was always defeated by the power of leadership and fortitude.

Scientists have predicted that the temperature of the Earth is likely to increase by 0.6 degree Celsius in the next few years if no drastic action is taken to mitigate the effect of climate change.

The melting of ice in the North and the South poles is causing flooding and the sea level to rise. In Ghana, the population is experiencing the effects of changing rainfall pattern which has become more erratic, drought has intensified, floods have become more frequent in unusual places and the impact of sea-level rise on our coastal towns and villages has become more pronounced.

President Mills said it had been sufficiently reported that climate change had the potential to push many development countries back into the poverty trap and progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) eroded.

The President said Africa''s weak ability to adapt to those additional stresses would further increase its vulnerability and heighten the risk of agricultural decline, chronic hunger, water shortage, deteriorating health, biodiversity loss, among others.

“We urgently need an integrated policy response to climate change that is formed in the context of national sustainable development priorities.

This explains why Ghana and other countries in Africa have a vital interest in the strongest possible deal on climate change,” he stressed.

Reports have it that the summit is grappling with the problem of fashioning out a common agreement on climate issues.

President Mills said a strong global deal that insisted on the leadership of developed countries on emission cuts, promoted equity and recognised that Africa and other developing countries would need financial support, adaptation, technology and capacity-building, with the key objective of achieving growth and fighting poverty, was urgent.

“We need agreement on an ambitious mid-term target which is built on a long-term goal for emission reductions that are meaningful to all, including those who are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change,” he said.

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