At the COP26 World Leaders’ Summit: We’ll continue climate combat …but won’t abandon use of natural resources – President

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says Ghana would continue to implement measures to combat climate change repercussions but it would not abandon efforts to develop the country through the use of its natural resources.

He said it is completely unfair for the world to demand that Africa abandons the exploration of its abundant natural resources to help address climate change when that is the continent’s best shot at development and ability to cope better with climate change.

“Ghana acknowledges the importance and effects of Climate Change, and the urgent need to combat it, and we acknowledge equally the importance of protecting our development.

“We believe that a balance must be struck and maintained between our social, economic and environmental imperatives”, he said this yesterday when he delivered the country’s statement at the World Leaders’ Summit as part of the 26th  United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) underway in Glasgow, Scotland.

 The Summit, a special session of the 12-day global conference, created the platform for 125 presidents to speak on how to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

President Akufo-Addo, taking his turn, expressed disappointment in the failure of wealthy nations to honour their commitments of making available US$100 billion annually to the poorer countries to assist them in the fight against climate change.

He said it was worrying that the development of these same nations who are insisting that the continent abandon the opportunity for rapid development, was hinged on the exploitation of their natural resources at the expense of pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases.

Even today, he said the western world is responsible for 76 per cent of carbon emissions.

“That would be tantamount to enshrining inequality of the highest order, a totally unacceptable conclusion. We must find a solution that is equitable and fair; a solution that levels the playing field; a solution that recognises the historical imbalances between the high emitters and low emitters.  Ghana, therefore, supports the call for debt-for-climate swaps, which will address a multitude of issues in one fell swoop,” he said.

President Akufo- Addo said even though Africa are the least of the contributors to this phenomenon, which is less than four per cent of the global volume of carbon emissions, it suffers the most because its resource-driven economies were peculiarly susceptible to the effects of climate change, and it’s capacity to withstand its shocks is weak.

He said agriculture, water, energy, and the extraction of mineral resources which were the essential drivers of developments were at the same time sensitive to changing climate.

The African Development Bank, he said, had stated that the continent needed some US$3 trillion “in mitigation and adaptation by 2030” to implement its nationally determined contributions although it could not afford it”.

“Let us use this Summit as a turning point to create a more prosperous, greener, and fairer world, which maintains the balance between the social, economic and environmental requirements of all nations of the earth, rich and poor. Success, in this endeavour, is the greatest inheritance we can leave for current and future generations,” he said.

More than 30,000 delegates from across the globe have converged for the COP26 on the theme “Keeping 1.5 alive; ensuring it is still possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees”. Ghana is represented by a high-powered delegation of experts and government officials who would be making a case for support for Ghana’s climate actions.

FROM JONATHAN DONKOR, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

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