Climate change activist asks govt to fast-track energy transition

Climate change activist and freelance journalist, Yasin Billy, was urging the government to fast track transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to Electronic Vehicles (EV) to address hikes in petroleum products.

He was speaking to the Ghanaian Times in an interview in the wake of increasing crude oil prices on the international market.

Mr Billy, who is the Executive Director of A Better Community for All (ABC4All), urged the government to learn from South Korea who pledged to fully transition to 100 per cent EVs by 2035.

“Many countries are accelerating their transition from using internal combustion engine vehicles to Electronic vehicles (EV) to combat climate change.

Countries such as South Korea have pledged full transition to 100 percent EVs by 2035. The government has pledged to ban the new registration of internal combustion engine vehicles starting 2035 to tackle climate change,” he added.

He told the Ghanaian Times that Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport had stated that of the 1.74 million new vehicles registered in 2021, 10,439 were EVs , accounting for 5.8 percent of the total. 

Mr Billy commended South Korea for its intervention to invest in EV project.

“I am calling on the government to step up and create an enabling environment and invest in the new zero fossil fuel-driven automobiles as a conduit to improve transportation and protect our environment.”

In addition, Mr Billy suggested to the government to reduce subsidies on locally manufactured and imported E-Vehicles and build more charging facilities across the country.

Mr Billy said recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia had taught the world a lesson, such that countries could no longer depend on fossil fuel as a reliable source of energy.

He said , “Ghana is a net exporter of crude oil, however, the war between Russia and Ukraine is impacting the prices of petrol in Ghana. It is significantly affecting its economy and the living standard of the people badly.”

The climate change activist said Ghana was bearing the worst impact of climate change as rickety vehicles and industrial pollution negatively impacted the economy.

He said Ghana was a signatory to the 2015 Paris Agreement and should implement policies to meet the goals under the Agreement by 2030.

Mr Billy lamented that Accra was becoming less congenial for human habitation due to climate change, adding that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that 18,000 Ghanaians could die annually from pollution-related diseases. 

“One life lost is one too many. These deaths are needles; and we can avoid them by banning rickety vehicles and effective regulation of industrial pollution,” he added.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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