The lack of investment in climate information and data is undermining climate change research in Africa, scientists in climate change research and development have said.
In separate presentations at the Climate Science Speaker Series (2022 Second Edition) at Legon in Accra on Monday, the researchers expressed concern over the lack of investment in climate research to address the situation in spite of climate change impacting heavily on the African Continent.
They called for more investments and funding opportunities for African researchers and urged the youth to develop interest in climate change issues to help reduce human activities that contributed to the problem.
The speakers were Dr Portia Adade Williams, a Research Scientist at the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-STEPRI); Dr Robert Manteaw, a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies of the University of Ghana, and Dr Charity Osei-Amponsah, a Social Scientist.
The series was organised by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Ghana (AIMS) as part of the Africa Science Week, a flagship programme of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF).
It aimed at emphasising the importance of science, research and technology through coordinated science days across the continent as well as celebrate the contributions of local scientists, especially women, to climate change research and development.
Dr Williams, in her presentation, said the level of greenhouse gases “is going towards unacceptable warning” and that if nothing was done to mitigate the situation, it would have dire consequences on the world.
She said with Africa being identified as one of the most vulnerable hotspots for climate change, the continent must pay critical attention to climate change and contribute more in terms of research.
“When we put all African countries together, we are contributing the very least to climate change yet the impact on us is very great,” she said.
“If nothing is done and we get to a temperature of 1.5 °C, it is going to have very negative consequences for our natural environment, human health and wellbeing, and also reduce food production.”
Dr Manteaw said the lack of climate information in Africa was making climate adaptation difficult.
“We need new awareness, new knowledge and understanding of the future to make informed decisions,” he said.
Dr Osei- Amponsah said studies about climate change must not only focus on the sciences but on the social impact as well.
“There is a hidden social impact of climate change, which requires in-depth research to ascertain the complex social dynamics.”
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that the world is set to reach the 1.5ºC level within the next two decades and only the most drastic cuts in carbon emissions from now would help prevent an environmental disaster.
The IPCC warned that global temperatures would rise by more than 4ºC by the end of the century if drastic action was not taken to reduce carbon emissions.
By Edward Acquah