Copy and Paste Solutions will not Save Africa

Published on 19th June 2007

There is comic relief each time politicians try with desperate frustration to lay blame on other phenomena rather than themselves when problems arise. The recent floods and energy crisis in Ghana are a case in point.

The crises have exposed our cut and paste solution to problems. We have been playing cat and mouse with rain water for almost 20 years. How wrong we have been, as we are given back, often in calamitous proportions what we invested in Mother Nature!

The usual chorus is promise of utilizing all resources at our disposal to solve the problem but this is never translated into action. Predictably, an escape goat must be found. So, recent political murmurings of climate change as responsible for our drought, floods and energy crisis should come as no surprise.

Yes, climate change is an ongoing phenomenon, and given the thirty or so years that the climate of an area can be determined, what happens in the intervening years is very important. Of greater importance is an aggregate of these climatic periods for say, the last 150 years. I chose the last 150 years for the purposes of comparison. 150 years ago, extremely hot climatic conditions were experienced globally. Incidentally, it was the same period associated with economic progress in the western world. Probably, most of Africa would have made use of its iron age, to develop too, were it left alone by colonialists.

History and climate science thus conclude that climatic optimums are associated with rapid economic growth whilst cooler periods are associated with low economic growth. In fact, about thirty years ago, climate alarmists predicted that the world was getting colder hence we were all going to be chilled. Today, the same alarmists say we are getting warmer and will be fried soon. What shows that in my humble 150 year period, the phenomena of hot and cold had not been changing positions every 30 years and we might soon be expecting cooler weather?

The aggressiveness with which European countries under Tony Blair has embellished the problem calling for tougher actions which have the capacity to derail economic progress in advanced countries is worrying. Apart from making African poverty a Whiteman’s burden, I find it extremely disingenuous the attempt to make Africa appear helpless in fighting an extremely mythical war on climate, whilst it emits less of the so called green house gases and is confronted with the clear and present dangers of poverty, disease and corruption.

Rather than combat climate change with technology, we have resorted to fear mongering and inability to pick from the limitless solutions at our disposal. How did the world fight off the dengue fever, small pox and other dangerous diseases that reduced the global life span of humans to less than forty years? Or how did we overcome the alarmist theory of over population in the middle 18th century when the social scientist Von Thunen predicted death and hunger for a world population which was less that a billion? Aren’t we six billion and counting on the same planet today as improvement in medicine and agricultural technology ensure lower deaths?

What about the honesty of some of the noisiest supporters of fear-filled climate change? Former US vice President Al Gore, a man, who through his Oscar winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth urged Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home was found to be using nearly 221,000 kWh of electricity per year, an amount nearly 20 times the national average of 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Some environmental activists and rumour mongering NGOs are making the work of politicians easier by preventing them from focusing on practical adaptation measures to climate change. Governments are rushing to set up questionable bureaucracies to fight off climate change because free aid money is assured. Asking the World Bank for free money to form a Christian Coalition on the environment in the face of climate change is a complete departure from biblical ethics!

Ghana ought to enforce its Urban Planning law which has not worked since its promulgation in 1972, to stem floods. Metropolitan authorities must be emboldened to enforce building regulations. As for the energy crisis, the only way out is to fashion out a forward looking strategy of tapping numerous sources such as solar, thermal and nuclear. In the mean time, the aggressive passive behaviour of the energy ministry must give way to a real non-partisan solution while other agents of the government should desist from entertaining promises of end dates.

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