We can, so we must!!!


The much awaited COP 15 in Copenhagen, Denmark is finally here and from today, Monday 7th December till Friday 18th December, the world will witness with full stare the commitment of our leaders…better still If I may borrow the words of Connie Hedegaard, whether our leaders are ready to “move the world from an era of talk to an era of change’.

Since the inter-sessional climate talks in Bangkok, I have seen increased interest by Africa and for that matter my country Ghana, in the governance of climate change. Ghana government and other NGOs in Ghana such as Friends of the Earth, Civic Response and SEND Ghana have expressed the need to pressure the developed countries to take on emission reduction commitments that are required to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change that threatens the survival of humans as a species.

Over the past couple of months, my government has undertaken what one may call necessary baby steps in the governance of climate change especially in the vein of having a participatory climate change governance system in-country. The genesis of this participatory process has involved information sharing on the issues of climate change and subsequent discussions to pick up from the Ghanaian citizenry their ideas on addressing climate change. Workshops and seminars have been held for variant citizenry groups such as NGOs, traditional authorities and media. The culmination of all these workshops was a national forum held on 2nd December that informed citizens the position that Ghana was taking to COP 15. Among other things, the main highlight from the national forum was that Ghana along with the other countries of the African Group was going to COP 15 to ask for the developed countries to take on emission reductions of at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.

Coming from a country that is experiencing impacts of climate change and may experience worse, I am hoping that developing countries can actually make the Annex 1 countries especially USA to feel the heat for the need to take action. It is a welcome thought that Presidents and Prime ministers of certain countries will be present at the COP 15 but let us hope that they do more good than harm; it is either they are instrumental in helping come out with a good legally binding deal or by their presence, rather draw attention to themselves and let focus be lost in the negotiations and thus they delay the process.

We all know how great an orator President Barack Obama is, and I for one am worried that USA may be playing the “Obama-mania’ card with his Excellency”s presence at the COP. Serious negotiations under COP 15 may become arrested due to the presence of “Pollywood celebrities’ such as his Excellency President Obama. For those of us from developing countries, the possibility of this stunt spells double doom as a USA is not prepared to take on serious commitments and may by this act delay what the negotiations could achieve.

I am not familiar with the USA system of governance but it is interesting to note that when it comes to Climate change negotiations, the President declares his inability to contribute anything concrete until a bill is passed through the senate; however, when about 30,000 soldiers had to be sent to Afghanistan, there was no waiting for the senate to decide, the President just announced it…this leaves me to wonder, how devastating does USA want Climate change and its impacts to become before they get serious?

As a working partner of the CARE “Southern Voices Project’, I am by this asking the developing country delegates and negotiators to pressure the developed countries to take on deep emission reduction commitments and also asking the Annex 1 countries especially USA to “STEP IT UP’…if greenhouse gas emissions continue, it is not Mother Earth who will die but rather the human race who will as Mother Earth adjusts other components in her system in accordance with the GHG concentration in the atmosphere to ensure a balance.

We owe it to the generation yet unborn to save our climate …we can, so we must!!!