Ghana Adopts Rewards-Based Approach To Cut Carbon Emissions

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…plans to boost local energy generation with nuclear power plan

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

The government of Ghana is rewarding communities who are collaborating with the World Bank as a strategy to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The West African country is the third country in Africa to sign the landmark Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with the international financial institution.

The country has also announced very ambitious plans to introduce nuclear power into the country’s energy mix to achieve affordable industrial energy. Reports said Ghana’s Atomic Energy Commission is currently preparing a report on the Nuclear Power Programme and upon presentation to government, a decision would be taken regarding financing the project.

According to the World Bank, the 5-year programme with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund, unlocks performance-based payments of up to $50 million for carbon emission reductions from the forest and land-use sectors. Working in close partnership with Ghana’s Forestry Commission, Cocoa Board, and private sector, the FCPF Carbon Fund program seeks to reduce carbon emissions through the promotion of climate-smart cocoa production. Ghana is one of the top two global producers of cocoa, and has one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa, which is largely driven by cocoa farm expansion.

Observers say an increase in cocoa production would mean more forests are cut to accommodate new cocoa seedlings, but according to the World Bank, this trend could be reversed. “The program’s two central goals – reducing carbon emissions in the forestry sector and producing truly sustainable, climate-smart cocoa beans – make it unique in Africa and the first of its kind in the cocoa and forest sectors worldwide,” Chief executive of Ghana’s Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, said.

Through the program, the government will focus on selected deforestation hotspot areas and help farmers and communities increase cocoa production there, using climate-smart approaches. These combined actions will help Ghana to meet its national climate commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Ghana hopes to champion the project with its pool of competent, well-trained scientists and institutions, including the Nuclear Power Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Authority and School of Allied and Nuclear Sciences.

The initiative, Afriyie added, will help to “secure the future of Ghana’s forests while enhancing income and livelihood opportunities for farmers and forest-dependent communities.”

The FCPF Carbon Fund in Ghana commits to making initial results-based payments for reductions of 10 million tons of Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (up to $50 million). The program also specifies carbon emission baselines, the price per ton of avoided CO2 emissions, and a benefit-sharing system that has been prepared based on extensive consultations with local stakeholders and civil society organizations throughout the country.

Ghana’s emission reductions program is anchored in its national strategy for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and is well-aligned with relevant national policies and strategies on wildlife and climate change. Other countries that have signed the agreement over the past ten months include Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with other Carbon Fund countries expected to sign similar agreements in the next year.

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