The costs associated with the continued use of fossil fuels as a driver of the economy are high now and may go even higher, and it is important that Ghana, as well as her neighbours and the rest of the developing world urgently put in place comprehensive, viable plans to cater for the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, Vice President Bawumia has stated.
The Vice President, who issued the clarion call on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, said the effects of global warming, primarily caused by the emission of greenhouse gases through the use of fossil fuels, are becoming increasingly evident, with the costs to humanity becoming increasingly prohibitive.
It is therefore imperative, he maintains, to take actions to slow down climate change and put in place measures to address the costs associated with it as soon as practicable, including costs arising from the transition from the use of fossil fuels to renewables.
Dr Bawumia made the call when he addressed the opening ceremony for a National Energy Transition Forum organized by the Ministry of Energy in collaboration with the Ministries of Transport, Finance, and Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in Accra. It is under the theme ‘Moving Ghana Towards A Net-Zero Future.’
“It is estimated that the way in which we produce and use energy accounts for more than 80% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. Although we still need the energy to improve our economy, it has become imperative that we reduce emissions from production and the use of energy by replacing high emitting fuels, particularly fossils with sustainable fuels, such as renewables.
“We all have to aware that this transition is going to take place over the next 30 years, but the costs of that transition are being felt today. There is less and less funding available for oil exploration and exploitation, and we are seeing this in an increase in oil prices globally. We in the developing countries are facing these very high costs of petroleum prices, and that is resulting in many economic impacts such as inflation as prices of goods increase in response to the increase in petroleum prices.
“There are many who have said that the petroleum price increase is going to remain at the high levels; we are not going to see any major declines. How do we as developing countries like Ghana adjust to this new reality, if it becomes a new normal of high oil prices and its impact on the macro variables in our respective economies? It is very clear that we need a plan,” he emphasized.
For starters, Ghana must seek to increase its natural gas-based electricity generation, Dr Bawumia indicated, explaining that the country will harness the use of her gas resources by expanding gas pipelines to key demand centers across the country and increase access to LPG for cooking in households.
“We shall increase the share of modern renewable energy (wind, solar, Waste to Energy, Small/Medium hydropower, hydrogen, etc.) in the national energy mix. Government shall also take steps to promote clean energy sources including biofuels, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Electric, Hydrogen fuels, etc. as fuels for vehicles and provide low-carbon and highly competitive energy supply to establish Ghana as an energy and e-mobility hub for the West African Sub-Region.”
To make Ghana’s transition even more effective, Vice President Bawumia proposed an ECOWAS-wide consultation and planning, given Ghana’s leading role in the provision of electricity and the similarity in dynamics in the sub-region.
“Our sub-region has similar challenges; and as a leader in the provision of energy to our neighbours any transition strategies adopted by Ghana will have an effect on our sub-regional neighbours.
“I am therefore encouraging the Ministry of Energy to extend these consultations to our regional stakeholders to incorporate the risks and opportunities the transition offers us as a group.
“It is also perhaps important for ECOWAS to begin to consult on the need for a sub-regional energy transition plan based on our individual countries’ plans. As chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will champion this initiative of ensuring that the West African sub-regional area makes the best out of the global energy transition.”
The Minister for Energy, Hon Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, disclosed that five other fora will be held across the country to solicit the views of all stakeholders to ensure a nationally-inclusive transition plan.