In a presentation at the September meet-up session of the IoT Network Hub at AITI-KACE, Mr Bernard Ayittah, a Foresight Analyst with the Foresight Planners group, spoke on climate change, global warming and the collective global action in containing the phenomenon.
The Global Warming Phenomenon
Speaking at the program, he pointed out that human activities such as the burning of fossil fuel, construction, improper management of waste, use of vehicles that run on petroleum products, unsustainable agriculture, and deforestation, among others, have increased over the years due to population growth and economic development. These activities are associated with the release and increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. He explained that greenhouse gases are gases that have the ability to absorb energy leaving the earth and trap it close to the earth’s surface. The three major greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and Nitrous Oxide (N2O). These gases cause the warming of the earth’s surface, which is popularly known as global warming. As human beings continue to engage in the aforementioned activities, the atmosphere becomes saturated with greenhouse gases, and the greater the warming. There is therefore a global call to limit the increase of these gases in the atmosphere and adapt to the prevailing impacts that we are consequently facing such as frequent and intense floods, droughts, sea level rise, heatwaves etc.
A Global Call to Action to Climate change
In 2015, as part of a concerted effort, almost all countries around the world came together to sign an agreement towards greenhouse gas emission reduction as well as adapting to climate change aiming for a net zero target by the second half of this century. This agreement is called the Paris Agreement.
Ghana also signed and ratified the Paris Agreement and, for that matter, has instituted measures, including 13 measures for adaptation and 34 for mitigation, to contribute to global efforts to tackle climate change. The adaptation measure involved limiting the impact of global warming, whilst the mitigation measure was for reducing activities that increased these gases in the atmosphere.
Practical Measures to Climate Change
Focusing on the mitigation measures, he elaborated on the opportunities for IoT. He stated that current challenges surrounding the carbon market mechanism, such as accurate data, can be addressed by IoT. He elaborated that the market mechanism is an economic incentivizing approach that allows a country or business that pollutes or wants to look greener to purchase credits from other countries or businesses that have invested in greener projects. This creates an incentive for investing in greener projects to generate credits to sell.
He stated that under the Paris Agreement, the same market mechanism is to allow countries to cooperate to achieve their commitment through the transfer of carbon credits. Ghana has such an arrangement with Switzerland that will result in the transfer of 500 million USD worth of carbon credits from Ghana to Switzerland with the support of 100 million USD helping build capacity and develop these green projects. He said IoT can be applied to some of these projects to enhance the quality of the data for monitoring and verification of the project for payment.
GHG (Green House Gas) Emission Reduction Projects, Challenges and IoT leverage.
Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) technique in rice farming. He said rice farming is a major source of methane production due to the flooding of the farm, which limits oxygen availability for microorganisms in the soil. The AWD technique is a traditional technology which ensures that the water level is monitored and the rice farm is flooded at only a certain stage of the crop’s life cycle. This saves water and reduces the number of days that the farm will be flooded. By reducing the flooding period, methane production is also reduced.
He said one challenge was ensuring the farmers were adopting the right practices in measuring the right amount of water and the appropriate use of devices. Currently, this is one of the projects enrolled in Ghana’s agreement with Switzerland under the carbon market mechanism. As a project that leads to payment for the emission reduction, there must be data to verify that farmers are playing according to the guidelines for successful implementation of the technology. This is also to ensure environmental integrity, which means the emission reduction occurred in reality. The project seeks to use extension agents to carry out data collection on the implementation of the right practices by farmers.
Emphasizing the role of IoT technologies ,he said remote sensors can be used to measure water level and to know when to flood the farm. Again, a sensor collecting the data can be used to verify appropriate activities remotely. A filter system that measures the volume of water irrigated and the level of soil dryness can all be conveniently gathered at one point by relying on IoT.
Another Intervention is Biogas production as a way of ridding the environment of waste which produces methane gas production. This waste when channelled into biogas production will save the earth.
The inability to measure gases used by households.
With the help of IoT, however, a metre can be applied and data can be effectively collected and analysed on use per household case. This data can be verified and payment made accordingly.
The National Clean Energy Programme, which is purely a solar installation programme, involves the installation of solar panels in commercial enterprises and homes.
Using IoT a digital system can be implemented to track the location and payment plans for households who can’t forthrightly afford a full payment
He encouraged members of the community to brainstorm and think about these and other innovative ways IoT can be used to save the situation. He further advised them to have a solid plan and present it to the Swiss government for sponsorship as a contribution towards saving the earth. “Apply and get the needed funding to carry out the intended projects from the Swiss government,” he said.
Get more information on carbon markets in Ghana from