The world is getting warmer, so world leaders at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as ‘COP26’, are racing to find lasting solutions to save the planet.

President Akufo-Addo at the COP26 reiterated Ghana’s resolve to ensure a cleaner and greener environment.

“Ghana acknowledges the importance and effects of Climate Change and the urgent need to combat it, and we equally recognize the importance of protecting our development. However, we believe that a balance must be struck and maintained between our social, economic, and environmental imperatives,” he stated.

Here in Ghana, one primary sector that leaves a massive carbon footprint is the petrol-dependent automotive industry.

In its recent July 2021 Monetary Policy Report, the Central Bank said vehicle registrations by the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) surged to 21,389 during the period, from an earlier 16,007 vehicles registered during the corresponding period of 2020 – an addition to the carbon footprints emitted.

Out of this number, less than a percentage utilises green energy. This is where Belinda Akaba comes in. She is a young engineer whose dream is to see an upscale in green cars, whilst women lead the charge.
” I am driven by the urge to lead many young women like myself into engineering. As the world goes electric, I believe this is an opportune moment for me to spread my wings and remain influential in the lives of women and girls who wish to venture into this male-dominated field of engineering,” he stated.

For many Ghanaian females, venturing into a male-dominated space as an engineer comes with its challenges, but Belinda is focused on succeeding.

“I will say growing up was not as easy as I thought it could be. I grew up with my dad in the Volta Region. After High School, my dad lost his job, and things became very hard. I didn’t get support from anyone to enter the university.”

“So, I decided to get myself involved in teaching, beadwork, and some small ice cream business to help me save enough money to go back to school during my one year of staying in the house,” she narrated.

As global demand for petroleum products increase, consumers in Ghana have no choice than spend close to 300 each week for petrol. This is much less for drivers of electric vehicles who spend just 40 a week in recharging.
 
“It is cost-effective to drive and maintain an electric car than petrol-driven cars. But, not to think about the negative carbon footprints that these cars leave, making our environment warmer,” she narrated.

If a ban were introduced on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and replaced by electric vehicles, the result would be a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

That is the finding of new research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, looking at emissions from the entire life cycle — from the manufacture of electric cars and batteries to electricity used for operation.

However, the total effect of a phasing out of fossil-fuelled cars will not be felt until the middle of the century — and how the batteries are manufactured will affect the extent of the benefit.



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