Within the past 40 years, temperature has increased in Ghana by about 1°C, whilst total amount of rainfall has decreased by about 20% in the forest zone of the country. The impacts of the rising temperatures and variable rainfall pattern have had serious consequences on the socio-economic development of the country, food security, water resources, health and livelihoods of the citizens of Ghana.
In an effort to minimise the impacts of climate change, the country has pursued a number of programs and strategies necessary to adapt to the impacts of climate change, including research and the development of climate change strategic policies and actions. The climate change, environmental conservation and green technologies research programme of CSIR will thus focus on the following:
- Soil, Water and Biodiversity Conservation
- Climate Change Mitigation (Including REDD+)
- Climate Change adaptation and Social Development
- Pollution and Waste Management, (Including Bio-Remediation)
- Green Technologies for Sustainable Development
For mitigation research, the CSIR will focus on REDD+, and other intervention such as agricultural biotechnology to produce crops varieties with enhanced carbon sequestration; conservation tillage for CO2 and methane mitigation; and Biochar. On the other hand adaptation research activities at CSIR will be focused on the adoption of agroforestry practices; crop diversification; planting of drought-resistant and short-season varieties and introduction of practices to enhance soil moisture retention in fields among others.
Cross cutting research studies in this area will include governance/tenure barriers and the associated vulnerabilities to climate change adaptation and mitigation in Ghana; and monitoring of natural resources at risk for long-term sustainability and resilience of the vegetation, farmers and local communities. The research on green technologies on the other hand will focus on how environmental conservation can play an essential role in sustaining economic development.
In addition, CSIR researchers will look at how natural capital can be manipulated to yield considerable economic dividends for local communities which are dependent on agricultural production and natural resources for their livelihoods. CSIR will continue to investigate how economic development can be used to provide a solid material foundation for environmental protection efforts, enabling governments to take a better care of their ecosystems, and equip them financially and technologically for the fight against climate change.
Green growth aimed at achieving harmony between economic growth and environmental sustainability is just what Ghana needs to obtain long-term and well-rounded human development. Green growth can be defined as “fostering economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies”. By maximizing the synergies between economic development and environmental protection, the concept of green growth emphasizes that strategic environmental policies can not only foster environmental sustainability at a low cost, but also have the potential to sustain long-term economic growth In other words, CSIR's research work will seek to ensure that strategic climate policies are not framed as a choice between the environment and economic development, but rather as a choice between effective measures to achieve balance between the two dimensions.