Three Members of Parliament have jointly submitted a Private Members’ Bill to the August House to push for the introduction of the Climate Change Bill, 2023. The MPs are Lawyer Francis- Xavier Sosu, MP for Madina, Hon. Dr. Godfred Seidu Jisaw, MP for Wa East, and Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu. Lawyer Sosu wrote “As Legislators, the obligation to ensure a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is greater on us. The need for climate action has become necessary now more than ever as it affects everything, from the place we live, to the water we drink, to the air we breathe”. He explained that “Indeed, Article 41(k) of the 1992 Constitution enjoins us to be interested in such conversations that seek to protect the environment. Also, as noted in the National Security Strategic Report published by the Ministry of National Security, the consequences of climate change tend to amplify existing national security risks that endanger the security of humans, ecosystems, the economy, and society as a whole”. He was confident that, the Bill when passed will help ensure the realization of an open, free, prosperous, inclusive and secure society. Now is the time for climate action and climate justice. According to the Mps, the proposed policy reasoning for the introduction of the bill is that, the need for climate action has become necessary now more than ever as it affects everything, “from the place we live, to the water we drink, to the air we breathe-posing severe threats to our very existence”. They stated that “Ghana’s National Security Strategy Report published by the Ministry of National Security in 2020 provided that the consequences of climate change tend to amplify the impact of existing national security risks that endanger the security of humans, ecosystems, the economy, infrastructure and societies as a whole: as it worsens the risk of food insecurity and malnutrition and increases the frequency and intensity of disasters such as droughts, floods and storms which in turn have adverse effects on livelihoods”. A 2022 press release by the WBG echoed that climate-included flooding affects nearly 45,000 Ghanaians annually and nearly half of Ghana’s coastline is vulnerable to flooding and erosion leading to the destruction of properties, human lives and livelihoods. They said “On air pollution, the WHO figures says air pollution is responsible for 7 million premature deaths globally. In Africa, exposure to dirty air accounted for 1 million premature deaths in 2019 alone including 236,000 children. In Ghana, 28,000 premature deaths per year (WHO 2020) and 3,300 new born deaths in 2019 are linked to exposure to air pollution according to the HEI current report. of specific importance is exposure to fine particle matter which is responsible for the majority of deaths. fisher et al ,2020 reported an economic loss for Ghana as huge as $ 1.6 billion in 2019 due to our inability to manage and control air pollution”.
The MPs noted that, the 1992 constitution enjoins them to be interested in such conversations that seek to protect the environment. “Indeed, Article 41(k)provides that “The existence and enjoyment of Rights and Freedoms is inseparable from the performance of duties and obligations and accordingly it shall be the duty of every citizen to protect and safeguard the environment” “The obligation and the duty to ensure the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is even greater on us as lawmakers since we have the privilege of partaking in the governance of the state by way of being a check on the Executive, and responsible for approving budgets, formulating laws and politics that affects the environment, climate, public health and ecosystems including agriculture climate change and air pollution are major concerns, and it is the duty of every Ghanaian and MP to be part of actions to safeguard our world”, they MPs said. They concluded “In line with the foregoing and considering the emerging global consensus that climate change and air pollution have the potential to stress the economic, social and political systems that underpin each nation-state, a dimension that needs to be an integral part of our national security planning ,there is the need for climate change legislation that establishes a comprehensive regime that defines the approaches to tackling and responding to climate change and air pollution and prescribe appropriate sanctions for violations.