Media must focus on climate change - Sherry Ayittey
Accra, Nov. 14, GNA - The Africa University College of Communications (AUCC) on Saturday held its Fifth graduation ceremony with a call on journalists to focus on climate change and its catastrophic consequences to mankind.
Ms. Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment Science and Technology who made the call said: "Climate change is a global issue whose impact transcends the ecosystem and socio-economic life of humanity."
The programme which was organised on the theme: "Climate Change: The Role of Communicators in Africa," witnessed the graduation of 150 students, comprising 95 were women and 55 men.
The AUCC, which started in 2001, ran a two- year course leading to the award of diplomas and certificates in communication studies.
Ms. Ayittey said the scientific consensus on climate change resulting in global warming was becoming clearer every day with compelling evidence that since the beginning of the 20th century the mean surface temperature of the earth had increase by about 1.1 degrees.
She said mountain glaciers the world over were receding, the arctic ice park had lost about 40 per cent of its thickness during the past four decades, while global sea level was rising about three times faster for the past 100 years compared to the previous 3000 years.
"Warming in the 20th century. is greater than at any time in the past 400-600 years."
She said the world under this condition would receive more trepidation leading to a faster rise in the sea level, heat waves and drought resulting in more conflicts for water resources.
She noted that Ghana is having a good share of the climate change as the Eastern Coast of the country, particularly Keta and Ada had in recent years been affected by severe sea erosion.
Ms Ashittey recalled the 1983 drought that led to wildfires nationwide that destroyed large expanse of forest woodlands and farmlands and the recent flood in the Northern, Central and Western regions.
On the global front, she explained that the melting of the polar cap resulting in increased sea levels is threatening to submerge small island states and coastal communities.
He said increased temperatures, drought and flooding were wiping away the livelihoods of millions of people including Ghana.
"Giving the well documented catastrophic consequences of delayed and insufficient action on our part, no effort should be spared to ensure that we avert this global disaster," she said.
She said at the impending international forum on climate change in Copenhagen, Ghana would join the comity of nations to seal a comprehensive legally binding deal that would set targets for the future for the safety and viability of vulnerable developing states, communities and peoples in every corner of the world.
Mrs. Zita Okaikoi, Minister of Information said atmospheric pollution was no longer a threat to the industrialised world, but on daily basis Ghana had a good share of environmental pollution.
She called on the graduates to use the knowledge acquired to educate the people on the issues of climate change and its effects on the environment and the socio-economic life of the people.
She said government was working around the clock to put up a comprehensive disaster policy to provide the legal framework to liberate the people from the unfortunate situation of climate change.
Mr. Kojo Yankah, President and Founder of the AUCC said the university had developed a centre for the development of communication skills that would undertake research into development issues and find appropriate tools to resolve them.
He said the university had also established an institute of green research and communication study to learn the impact of climate change on Africa's development and identify professional ways of communicating it to the people.
He said by next academic year the university would introduce Bachelor of Arts courses in Hospitality Management and Communication, Media and Theatre Arts Studies, Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Communication, Health Communication and Information Technology and Masters Degree Courses in Journalism and Integrated Marketing Communication Development Communication and Africana Studies.
Prizes were awarded to deserving students with Ms Yram Aku Amevedzi taking home a laptop computer and cash prize for emerging the overall best student.