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Jan 15, 2014

Ex-President Kufuor addresses African Ambassadors

John Kufuor

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has called for a global effort to tackle the menace of climate change which is impacting negatively on human endeavors, irrespective of geographical location, stage of development, race, gender or religion.

“We count on you as representatives of your governments to help raise awareness in your various countries about the real and potential dangers faced by all of us if we continue our lifestyles in the same ways without safeguarding our earth”, he stated.

Former President Kufuor stated at a meeting with African Heads of Missions at the United Nations in New York made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra through Ghana’s Mission.

He said “the disastrous consequences of the change, including high temperatures, melting polar icecaps, rising seas, destruction of coral reefs, hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, tsunamis, desertification, contamination of rivers and polluted air are not selective. They affect all of mankind”.

The former President said indeed climate change had been creeping in on humanity since the 1800s, but it was not until 1989 that the UN adopted various measures to confront the creeping catastrophe.

He said the last 12 years had been the hottest in recorded history, adding that “scientific indications are conclusive that things are getting worse unless, all of us collectively take measures to arrest the intensifying carbon dioxide emissions which have been identified as the main cause of the change.”

Former President Kufuor said in Africa and much of the developing world, desertification was increasing at such a fast rate that whole communities and farmlands would soon be laid bare.

He said pollution of once safe water course through mining and other economic activities had meant that a large number of the people were left without clean water, resulting in ill health with its attendant effects and also dislocation of peoples.

“Island states, are particularly in danger of being washed from the surface of the earth, as they face the brunt of the continued worsening of climatic conditions in rising seas and dying coral reefs”, he said.

Former President Kufuor said degrading gas emitters from vehicles and industry in cities all over the world had reinforced the catastrophic effect of the climate change since the impact was seen in the adverse effects on health, agriculture, water resources, coastal and forest areas and species and their natural habitats.

Apart from working towards the World Climate Summit in September, Former President Kufuor said their aim was to mobilize political will among world leaders to legally agree to limit the world to less than two degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures next year as expected under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

During the interaction, the Heads of Missions stressed the need for the necessary political will to carry out all decisions taken, including making funds available whenever such pledges or promises were made.

The African Ambassadors said they were not pleased previous promises and pledges made at Copenhagen to help Africa never materialized, noting that even though Africa contributed virtually nothing in the current challenges in the world, it bears the brunt of it, a situation that requires a critical look.

On behalf of the African Ambassadors Mr. Ken Kanda, Ghana’s Permanent Representative at the UN and current Chair of the African Group assured former President Kufour of their support and cooperation to achieve the objectives that he had outlined.

He expressed the hope that if the problem was tackled from the root, very significant results could be achieved in tackling the menace of climate change.

The briefing was former President Kufuor’s first public engagement since the UN Secretary General appointed him and Mr. Jens Stoltenberg last December as UN Special Envoys on Climate Change.

Source: GNA