https://www.myjoyonline.com/unraveling-the-threads-of-unseasonable-warmth-a-climate-wake-up-call/-------https://www.myjoyonline.com/unraveling-the-threads-of-unseasonable-warmth-a-climate-wake-up-call/

As we bask in the unexpected warmth of recent weeks, it’s crucial to recognize that our weather patterns are sending a powerful message about the state of our planet.

The unseasonably warm conditions we are experiencing are no mere glitch in the meteorological system but a stark reminder that now, more than ever, we must confront the reality of climate change.

The increasing global warming shows that our climate’s stability is uncertain. Scientists have long argued that the unprecedented departure from historical weather patterns is directly linked to the growing impacts of global climate change, including higher temperatures, more extreme weather, and disrupted ecological systems.

Source: IPCC Working Group III, 2022.

What is Climate Change?

The World Bank Portal on Climate Change says, "Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. A changing climate may lead to rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events, making it more difficult for people, plants, animals, and ecosystems to survive.”

A quick look at the graph above shows that human-caused emissions over time for individual greenhouse gases are a significant cause of climate change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel use and industry is the most critical contributor to global emissions, accounting for 64%. Carbon dioxide from land use change and forestry accounts for 11%, and methane (CH4) contributes 18%: source - IPCC Working Group III, 2022.

Climate change does not only influence the weather; it is a crucial factor in dictating the kind of world we all live in. Factually, human activities are responsible for the increase in ‘heat-trapping’ greenhouse gases, which are responsible for the disruption we are currently experiencing.

However, there are other climatic influences, according to experts. These include the sun, volcanoes, and natural variability, but they “cannot alone explain the timing and extent of the observed changes.”

That leaves the primary drivers, good old human activities, thus burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), deforestation, land-use changes, and agriculture. Our desire to live somewhat comfortable lives seems to be killing us, and one repercussion, like temperature, is staring us right in the face. We are emitting far too much of that greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Hence, the heat waves we are experiencing in recent times.

What is at stake?

It cannot be over-emphasized, but the earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the known history of the environment, obviously as a result of human activities. There is scientific consensus that if this is not mitigated soon, carbon emissions, obviously a human activity, will lead to global warming of at least several degrees Celsius by 2100, resulting in high impacts of local, regional, and international risks to human society and natural ecosystems.

The danger still lurks around until we change our way of life. Global climate change has already impacted the planet across every region of the earth and many economic sectors. The impact is what we have all been experiencing in recent times. Heat waves in our part of the world.

Ghana, for example, will experience even hotter days if we do not change our lifestyle. Countries such as the Americas and European nations will see colder winters and hotter summers, the glaciers and ice sheets will continue to melt, and human health, agriculture and food security, water supply, transportation, energy, biodiversity, and ecosystems will be impacted. These impacts are expected to become increasingly disruptive in the coming decades. We need to change our ways!

What are the legal implications? Ghana's commitment to climate change

Ghana is fully dedicated to abiding by international climate agreements such as the Paris Agreement. This commitment shapes our domestic legislation and policies to respond to the prevailing warm weather trends effectively.

Here’s a recount of how committed we are as a nation, evidenced by codified laws and treaties entered into. Now is the time to revisit some of these legislations and take action.

  1. Climate Change Adaptation Policies:

Ghana has embraced numerous climate change adaptation policies and is taking decisive action to transform the landscape. The National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) articulates the vision and objectives for adept adaptation, social development, and mitigation. Its overarching goal is to secure a climate-resilient and conducive economy while achieving sustainable development and promoting equitable low-carbon economic growth for Ghana.

  1. Renewable Energy Legislation:

The Renewable Energy Act, 2011 (Act 832) is a pivotal legislation in these critical times. It facilitates developing, administering, and utilizing renewable energy sources for heat and power production. The prevalent warm weather trends in Ghana necessitate a heightened emphasis on renewable energy sources, fostering the adoption of renewable energy technologies and establishing targets to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Now is the time to revisit this Act to measure performance against set targets.

  • Natural Resource Management Laws:

Urgent implementation of legal measures is essential to regulate water usage, safeguard biodiversity, and ensure sustainable resource management in response to potential impacts on water scarcity and the ecosystem brought about by the warm weather.

  • Agricultural and Land Use Regulations:

Immediate review of regulations about crop patterns, irrigation practices, and land use planning is crucial to bolster resilience against climate-related challenges from the warm weather.

  • Water Resource Management Laws:

The Water Resource Commission Act of 1996, entrusted with managing water resources in Ghana and formulating conservation plans while advising entities on pollution, must be fallen back on in these critical times. This regulation addresses water conservation, allocation, and the protection of water sources and, therefore, necessitates reassessment in light of changes in water availability due to the warm weather.

What is the way forward?

While the recent warm weather may seem like a temporary reprieve, it underscores the urgency for global cooperation.

International collaboration is vital to address the transboundary nature of climate change. Countries must share technological advancements and support developing nations like Ghana in building sustainable economies to achieve the already set emission reduction target.

With these changing weather patterns, Ghana's policymakers must prioritize and enact comprehensive climate policies to supplement the already set world emission target. However, these policies should aim to reduce carbon emissions and address the broader environmental impact of human activities.

Embracing renewable energy sources, fostering sustainable agriculture, and protecting natural habitats are essential components of a holistic approach to combating climate change.

It must be noted, however, that it is not just about unseasonable warmth; it’s about the systemic changes occurring in our climate. In as much as we need the collaboration of Governments worldwide, industries and individuals must also unite to implement sustainable practices, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and invest in clean energy alternatives.

The time to act is now! Companies and organizations should embrace sustainable practices, invest in green technologies, and prioritize environmental responsibility. Consumers, in turn, can influence corporate behavior by supporting eco-friendly products and businesses committed to reducing their carbon footprint.

Furthermore, public awareness and education play a pivotal role. Citizens must be informed about the consequences of climate change and empowered to make environmentally conscious choices. Education campaigns can inspire individuals to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives, from reducing energy consumption to minimizing waste.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the recent warm weather conditions are a poignant reminder that climate change is not a distant threat but a present reality. It is a call to action for individuals, communities, businesses, and governments to strive for a more sustainable and resilient future collectively.

Our decisions today will shape the climate our children and grandchildren inherit, and our responsibility is to ensure that it is a world worth inheriting.

Together, let’s secure the future of our planet! This is indeed a wake-up call!

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The author, Edna Obiri, is a Lecturer at UPSA Law School.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.


DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.



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