Thank you, Mr Speaker, let me extend my gratitude and appreciation to the Hon Member who made the Statement and identify myself with it, so ably made on the floor of this House.
Mr Speaker, climate change with its own climate variability forces on us ad- aptation and mitigation measures. Many people have said that even if the industrial- ised countries were not accused of putting into the atmosphere the bio- product of fossil fuel or going industrialisation, the activities of all of us would have contrib- uted to some kind of climate change.
It means clearly that climate change is as a result of human activity, that all of us contribute in ways that affect the climate; except that some contribute more and others contribute less. And so, there is some kind of moral hazard. Mr Speaker, those who have contributed more to cli- mate change are less affected by climate variability and so, we, in Africa, who have been affected seriously by climate change have further worsened our poverty.
But places where we had water bodies that provided livelihood for fishermen, have these water bodies drying up, that farmers who hitherto had depended on climate and rainfall for their crops can no longer predict adequately when the rains would come. So, they either farm early or they farm late, leading to low harvest and further exacerbation of poverty.
This forces on us as invidious respon- sibility, that we as a people and probably, as a country, need to take the issue of
climate change serious. It is definitely not acceptable for us to continue to encourage logging and particularly illegal logging. This is because Mr Speaker, it is said and rightly, so that when the last tree goes, the last man goes.
Today, the forest cover that Ghana had pre-independence has been reduced drastically and that has a direct impact on the climate and the environment in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, of late, we have been fight- ing illegal small scale miners and people have asked, “why are you now fighting them?” We are fighting them because their activities have direct impact on the climate and the environment.
If you are talking about climate change, we do not need to look far, that forest areas of this country have been seriously degraded, degraded by illegal activities of small scale miners, which activities Mr Speaker, do not bring us money. We do not take royalties or taxes from these illegal miners and they further degrade our forest. Double agony, we do not take money. We lose our forest.
That is why we must fight them. Mr
Speaker, when we have our rivers flowing, evaporation of the river bodies enables the evaporated water to condense in the air and fall as rain. When we lose the rivers, we no longer get the rain and when we do not get the rain, our cocoa farms are affected, our maize farms are affected and our cereals, indeed, are affected.
That is why we must fight anybody who pollutes or diverts our water bodies because they are compromising our ability to lead a dignified life in this country.
Mr Speaker, climate change is real.
All of us have the responsibility to con- tribute towards its mitigation by planting trees in our houses, by churches planting trees on their compounds, by mosques
planting trees on their praying areas, by schools adapting tree planting culture, by the Department of Feeder Roads and Ghana Highways Authority ensuring that, when the road is constructed and the trees are cut, they are replanted. That way, we would not only increase the tree cover in this country but we would also help in en- suring that we have a healthy environment that would conduce to a dignified life for us to live and pass on to generations yet unborn.
Thank you so very much for this op-