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General News of Saturday, 24 August 2019


Droughts in Ghana worsened by 30% in last 10 years – Survey

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Forty-one per cent of Ghanaians say drought has worsened by 30% in the last 10 years.

Consequently, they said agricultural production has also worsened in the past decade blaming the situation on climate change.

According to the Afrobarometer report on experience and awareness of climate change in Africa, 52% of Ghanaians have heard of climate change, with 21% being climate change literate.

The findings of the report showed that 27% of Ghanaians say floods have become severe in the past 10 years.

It revealed that some 56% of Ghanaians are of the belief that climate change was making life worse.

It noted that 55% say ordinary people can do ‘a little bit’ or ‘a lot’ to stop climate change.

The survey which was conducted on the perceptions of 34 African countries, found widespread reports of worsening quality of life and deteriorating conditions for agricultural production, as well as limited climate change literacy among average citizens.

By more than two to one, the report said, ordinary Africans say climate conditions for agricultural production have worsened in their region over the past decade, noting “overwhelming majorities see worse weather for growing crops in Uganda, Malawi and Lesotho”.

The report indicated that in most countries, the main culprit was severe drought, but in Malawi, Madagascar and eSwatini, most citizens say both droughts and flooding have got worse.

“Almost six in 10 Africans, 58%, have heard of climate change, including more than three-fourths of Mauritians, 83%, Malawi, 78% and Ugandans, 78%. South Africa is one of just five countries where fewer than half of citizens have heard of climate change,” the report stated.

The report mentioned that among Africans who have heard of climate change, about 63% associate the term with negative changes in weather patterns, compared to about 17% who link it with positive changes.

About one in four Africans, the report said, are fully climate change literate, that is, “they have heard of climate change, they understand it to have negative consequences, and they recognize it as being caused at least in part by human activity. Mauritians lead the way at 57%, the only country where a majority are climate change literate”.

Findings from Afrobarometer’s latest round of public-opinion surveys across Africa show a keen awareness of climate change in some countries – often backed by personal observation – but the opposite in others.

Across the continent, among people who have heard of climate change, a large majority say it is making life worse and needs to be stopped.

But four in 10 Africans are unfamiliar with the concept of climate change – even, in some cases, if they have personally observed detrimental changes in weather patterns.

And only about three in 10 are fully “climate change literate,” combining awareness of climate change with basic knowledge about its causes and negative effects.

Groups that are less familiar with climate change – and might be good targets for awareness-raising and advocacy in building a popular base for climate-change action – include people working in agriculture, rural residents, women, the poor, and the less-educated.

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