On Monday, about 25 activists took to the streets in Osu to demand coal be left in the ground and to see more investment in renewable energy. With signs, chants and masks, the group caught the attention of cars and pedestrians passing by.
This advocacy activity was organized and led by Joshua Amponsem (Green African Youth Organization), Beatrice Dossah (Hipsters of Nature) and Gideon Commey (Ghana Youth Environmental Movement). The campaign attracted other foreign renewable energy and climate enthusiasts who were present in the city.
Ghana has been suffering severe energy crisis close to a decade; causing economic chaos – low productivity, unemployment and high cost of living in most parts of the country. Several approaches and investments in fossil fuel have been made by the Government of Ghana (GoG) to fix this nationwide challenge, however, it remains at its peak and causes more damage to firms, industries and citizens.
In September 2015, Government of Ghana announced the commencement of a coal power station in the Central Region which is expected to produce 2,000 MW at an estimated cost of 1.5 billion USD while the country strongly represent itself as committed to climate action. During COP 21, the President of Ghana, HE John Mahama declared his intention to further investments in fossil fuel to solve the energy crisis in Ghana. This contradicts global efforts to stem climate change.
If the government is resourceful to invest in fossil fuel, then he should consider renewable energy. It is inconsistent to invest in fossil fuel after joining the Paris Climate Agreement.
We had a simple message for our campaign – No Coal in Ghana! Keep Fossil Fuel in the Ground! Ghana Must Go Solar! Coal Power Kills!
In an interview with Pulse TV during the campaign, I mentioned that fossil fuel remains the largest contributor of climate change and divestment could mean a decrease in climate effects. Ghana government must move away from investing in fossil fuels.
“If you want to stop climate change [and] you want to contribute to global efforts of mitigating climate change, then we need to stop investing into fossil fuels.” “Why not invest that same money into solar energy?” I continued that, people are not educated on the harms of fossil fuels and climate change – Ghanaian citizens are “desperate” to fix the energy crisis and that they will buy into anything that gives them electricity”. “[So] we are out on the streets talking to people, letting them know what coal is.”
Canadian citizen Natalie Martin, also at the protest, wanted to show her support for solar power. She said Ghana was vulnerable to the effects of climate change. (See highlights here: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bwZo9wf3uHM)