Testing the Paris Agreement with ecological, economic & social mechanisms to "zero-out" emissions in future model city: Tamale Ghana



“Game-Changers in 1st Zero-Carbon City in Africa: Tamale, Ghana” has a novel, game-changing 14CO2 measurement technology, Ghanaian and international team members, potential financing, specific economic,  environmental and humanitarian actions plus an extensive social network in place. Our proposal tests implementation of the 2015 U.N. Paris Agreement’s articles, that while articulated in the agreement are vague, to build detailed strategies for how countries and the world can deal with climate change. We propose a pilot program for greenhouse gas (GHG) measurement and emissions reduction across Tamale and the surrounding area based on direct monitoring verification and accounting (MVA) for fossil fuel CO2 (ff-CO2) employing novel field-ready analyzers. The CO2 field analyses (e.g., 12,13,14CO2), related GHG analyses (e.g., CH4, N2O) and emissions management will enable a 1st zero-carbon city, Tamale, Ghana, which is among the fastest growing cities in West Africa. The project time frame is 30 years to capture weekly, monthly and yearly trends.  A social media platform linking stakeholders will be developed with and by Ghanaian end-users who will receive real-time data about their environment. Reducing emissions based on real-time GHG analysis and management actions within Tamale and environs will include: renewable energy expansion, water and waste management, increasing carbon sequestration strength through restoration of native vegetation and developing carbon-neutral farming practices to provide high-quality nutrition for the area. Tamale will be a model for African cities and show how low-income cities can develop and prosper in the 21st century to the benefit of present and future generations. The mechanisms, their counterparts in the Paris Agreement and a project architecture based on a virtuous cycle are detailed below.  Our first step in reaching individuals is to socialize the concept of fossil fuel CO2 and the carbon cycle (Fig.1; www.pemforest.com).

The Ask

The Ask is for financing of $2.5M over 3 years to initiate the project. Funds will be used to hire Ghanaian, buy supplies and plant seedlings. PEM will cover full cost of instrumentation. The Ask leverages and extends work of PEM (DOE funding) and PHW established in Ghana (12 years). $500k of the $2.5M enables a Reg A+, Tier II offering to raise $50M for long term funding. The PEM  Reg A+ application is in process. Funds will extend the project and financing  for renewables in Tamale.

What actions do you propose?

Actions Overview: Feasibility, Novelty, Impact

“Game-Changers in 1st Zero-Carbon City in Africa: Tamale, Ghana” has a novel, game-changing 14CO2 measurement technology to specifically verify reduction in fossil fuel CO2 emissions, key Ghanaian and international team members, potential financing and specific humanitarian actions via a Ghana Humanitarian Trust. The project is integrated through an extensive in situ Ghanaian social network. This combination of elements fully outlined in the proposal below demonstrates the program’s feasibility. We propose that Tamale become the first African city to win this 21st century race to reduce its carbon footprint to zero, based on automated intelligent on-the-ground carbon sensor systems that measure the three species of the carbon cycle simultaneously, 12CO2, 13CO2 and 14CO2 allowing the fossil fuel CO2 (ff-CO2) “fingerprint” to be measured directly at their sources in a fast-growing African city, hence this proposal’s novelty.  The major goal of our proposal is to verifiably reduce GHG emissions in the greater Tamale area resulting from the combined GHG emission profiles of the urban (central city), metropolitan (greater urban and peri-urban areas) and nearby agroforestry areas by 80% by 2050 and by 100% by 2100, compared to current levels, which is currently only possible with our technology, hence its profound impact.

The historical impacts will be communicated to the public by visualizations of high resolution photography and spectral imagery obtained by coordinated drone flyovers of the areas involved. The ultimate goal is to clarify the “roadmap to Tamale” as a model zero-carbon-trending city for the rest of Africa in the context of the Paris Agreement. Additionally, the proposed work will revitalize efforts to establish GHG emissions observation platforms clearly needed across Africa to address the Paris Agreement. PEM’s measurement platform is open to collaborators across the planet to augment the data captured across the landscape.

Game-Changers and the Paris Agreement

The Game-Changers of Ghana program addresses key articles of the Paris Agreement in the context of Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana and Africa. The Game-Changers program will broadly:

a) Take verifiable action to limit warming to less than 2◦ C by 2100 (Article 2),

b) Mitigate emissions sources and enhance sinks to contribute to Nationally Determined Contributions  (NDCs) (Articles 3-4) ;

c)  Establish local-to-global GHG trading for directly verified GHG reductions and associated "Tamale" GHG products (Article 6);

d) Transfer emissions reduction technologies developed by the project (Article 10), and,

e) Demonstrate innovative financing for GHG emissions reduction programs, in this case through the Regulation A+ (Tier II) mechanism for small, non-public companies.

Schematic Diagram of Actions

Schematic Diagram: The "Tamale, Ghana Metro-Urban Zero-Carbon Trending Virtuous Cycle” (Figure 2) illustrates key features comprising Tamale’s smart zero-carbon city program.

Figure 2. Tamale, Ghana, Metro-Urban, Zero-Carbon Trending Virtuous Cycle.

Direct, automated measurement and reporting of 14CO2 (in addition to high frequency measurement of 12 and 13CO2) is the foundation and smart technology at the core of this diagram. The PEM sensor system architecture extends across the landscape as distributed networks of GHG sensor nodes deployed in the Urban Tamale, Metropolitan Tamale and surrounding Land Parcels, as depicted in the schematic. Specific actions include:

  1. The "ratcheting down" of GHG emissions for the growing city of Tamale and environments occurs by first measuring baselines in Years 1-3 across the project areas employing well-known methods including eddy covariance, soil accumulation chambers and soil gas probes. Exact location of the measurement stations, sampling schedules and field protocols will be determined in the field.
  2. The baseline data sets in motion targets for emission reductions that when verified results in revenue from sale of unique PEM Tamale GHG reduction emissions products (“Tamale GHG Products”) (Figure 2). These unique and localized GHG products are measured in units of metric tons CO2 equivalents, the universal metric for carbon emissions reporting.
  3. PEM GHG products will be sold to voluntary and compliance buyers worldwide through retail and online stores creating project revenue. For example, verified offsetting of emissions from individuals and commercial transportation vehicles can be readily and reliably transacted. Currently, few such offsets are purchased due to uncertainty of the offset value relationship to emissions reduction and hence the value of the purchased offset. Game-Changers of Ghana will transform the consumer landscape for verified transportation offsets.
  4. Project revenue will be used to fund purchase of emissions reductions through photovoltaic capacity (PV), management of methane gas resulting from landfill waste (LF), energy efficiency and innovative agroforestry (AG), reforestation (RF) and restoration (RS) of ecosystems involving land parcels across the project area (Figure 2). Currently, Tamale receives electricity from the Volta Dam but the supply has been unreliable. Tamale is an ideal candidate for solar power, however, although solar power projects are in the planning stages, it is clear that installed PV capacity is in its infancy in Tamale.
  5. The project will promote PV projects for homes and businesses across the project areas and will address the potential improvement in Tamale's GHG emission trajectory as it grows in population in concert with increased renewable energy with an emphasis on the most innovative solar and housing construction technologies.



The evolution of Tamale’s zero-emissions status will be influenced by increasing the sequestration strength of the surrounding landscape through agroforestry (AG), Reforestation (RF) and Restoration (RS) in conjunction with farmers and foresters (Figure 2).  Urban areas of expansion outside of Tamale city itself will achieve zero-balance by integration of expansion with planting of ecologically appropriate trees, shrubs and crops. The Tamale project will achieve "zero-emissions" by a combination of the above mechanisms in the context of GHG markets operating at the local (L), continental (C) and global levels (G) (Figure 2).

The internal gears of Figure 2 illustrate the incremental process of ratcheting down emissions over three emissions periods spanning 30 years total of testing (e.g., e3, e2, e1) culminating in a zero balance or net zero-emissions city and surrounding area. (See “Timeline of the Paris Agreement’s mechanism: http://www.carbonbrief.org/timeline-the-paris-agreements-ratchet-mechanism). The exact boundaries of the project will be determined in the field. Water treatment, sanitation facilities (W) and adequate nutrition (N) (Figure 2) will be funded, in part, from the project revenues and through extensive urban planning. The urban planning will take advantage of Ghana's many university programs in this area in conjunction with other collaborators identified as this project evolves (See action item # 4 below). In addition, we plan to use ecological footprint methods [1] for comparison with our GHG studies. Considered together, the components and mechanisms constitute a virtuous cycle of science, climate change, business and improvement of human-ecosystem well-being.

Detailed Action Plan

The detailed action plan is comprised of the following 10 elements:

1. Set in Motion Project Phases: The project is comprised of three broad phases. These phases span one decade and are repeated in widening areas over three decades:

  • Phase 1: On-the-Ground Implementation of the Tamale Project, GHG MVA, Preliminary Agroforestry Planting: Establish project in Tamale. Directly measure and track CO2 produced from fossil fuels (ff-CO2 or 14CO2) and other GHG’s (CH4, N2O). Commence process of planting towards restoration of natural vegetation to enhance CO2 sequestration.
  • Phase 2: Sell GHG Products: Implement sale of GHG reduction products to voluntary and compliance buyers locally, regionally and worldwide through existing market venues, retail stores and online stores;
  • Phase 3: Set Tamale, Ghana-specific Emissions Ratchet Targets: Creation of emissions ratchet targets for central Tamale city, surrounding metro areas, and  agroforestry periphery coupled with restoration of natural vegetation to enhance CO2 sequestration.


This proposal seeks funding for the on-the-ground implementation of Phase 1. A portion of Phase 1 costs covering the automated intelligent instrumentation (under development and testing by PEM and partners) for measurement of ff-CO2 and other GHG’s and costs for Phases 2 and 3 funding are pending and relate to success of the proposed Reg A+, Tier II offering.

2. Measure GHG Emissions including Direct Tracking of ff-CO2: The Game-Changers proposal implements direct high-frequency measurement of forest and agroforestry carbon dynamics over annual measurement campaigns and will impact projects across all emissions and reductions scenarios. This is the game-changer for management of the GHG composition of the atmosphere by ratcheting GHG emissions down relative to direct measurements determined each year. It is a fact that earlier global GHG credit transactions via the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) dropped by 36% in 2012, declining from 95 to 61 billion euros ($107 to $69 billion) [2], [3]. Lack of actual direct measurements and verification of fossil fuel GHG reductions within the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (e.g., forests in developing countries) is, in part, a reason for the decline. Note that CO2 emissions from power plants can be reliably estimated from combustion data but the Kyoto Protocol required that the emissions from power plants be taken up by forests elsewhere. However, direct absolute and high frequency measurement of 12,13,14CO2 to verify CDM forest sequestration has not been typically applied to forest carbon credits.

Although Tamale is not yet a mega-city, we intend to utilize existing standards to establish traditional footprint data such as the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GPC) and recommendations from C40 Cities. The PEM work extends the cutting edge research employing 13CO2 and 14CO2 analysis (measured by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry of discrete flask samples) to characterize dynamic GHG flux for large cities such as Los Angeles, CA [4] and Indianapolis, IN [5].

Our background research indicates that direct CO2 emissions data for the Tamale, Ghana region are very limited.  We have compiled available GHG data and related information for Ghana as a starting point for our emissions reduction activities as shown in Figure 3 a,b,c. Figure 3a illustrates the sparse network of CO2 flux observation programs in Ghana and Africa; the raw data from these programs are not readily available.  Figure 3a also provides a summary for one of the observation platforms, an eddy covariance tower, in Ankasa, southern Ghana. This proposal seeks to support existing observation stations and expand observation stations across Ghana and Africa.  Note that the CarboAfrica measurement platforms may no longer be functional (see caption under CarboAfrica heading, Figure 3a).

Figure 3a. Eddy covariance observation platforms in Africa and Ghana (inset) and summary of the eddy covariance tower data for the Ankasa site in southern Ghana.

Figure 3b illustrates one of the few examples of net ecosystem exchange (NEE) across an annual cycle for three locations including two in Northern Ghana and one in Burkina Faso produced by the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL). NEE, a measure of net carbon sequestration, obtained by eddy covariance measurements illustrate the type of data that will result from the proposed project. The NEE shown for the three locations is greatest in the nature reserve park of Nazinga, Burkina Faso, and lowest for the two sites in Ghana represented by Kayoro (fallow land) and Sumbrungu (short grassland savanna). The study emphasizes the importance of expanded eddy covariance networks for Africa to determine net carbon sequestration over project areas and to guide and verify management actions to reduce emissions.



Figure 3b. Annual carbon dioxide fluxes for contrasting ecosystems in Ghana and Burkina Faso.

Similar carbon balance data will be collected as part of the proposed work across multiple locations over the proposed term of 30 years to effectively witness climate change and population growth.

Figure 3c shows examples of PEM mobile and stationary GHG monitoring systems whereby a System of Systems (SoS)  architecture is employed to optimize net carbon flux representation across the project area.

Figure 3c. Features of the PEM System of Systems (SoS) mobile and stationary platforms to support landscape-scale eddy covariance studies for the project area.

The PEM platforms can accommodate a variety of instruments and are powered either directly by electrical  power or by batteries charged with solar panels or in some cases by generator. When batteries are charged by use of the generator in remote areas sampling will be stopped during the charge period. Each instrument platform will transmit data via telemetry (cell tower or satellite) to a secure server for analysis and distribution. 

The importance of direct, high-frequency measurement-based reduction in emissions and the lacuna of GHG observation stations in Ghana and across Africa are a call to action to re-establish and extend the CarboAfrica flux tower operation in Ghana and across Africa. We welcome collaborators and funders for this effort. Funds from a successful Reg A+ Tier II offering would be used to establish at least 10 GHG observation stations as mobile or stationary units (e.g., Figure 3c) across Ghana (e.g., north to south) representing the first comprehensive GHG flux network for a west African country and filling a clear need to address the call to action of the Paris Agreement.

3. Obtain Market Price for Carbon: Measurement organizes actual GHG source(sink) dynamics over time and by location, provides an accounting basis of products for sale in carbon markets, supports a market "price" for carbon and aligns the activities of individuals, private, public and governmental institutions. Carbon price signals will affect institutions that range from large multinational banks to brokerage houses to donor-driven strategies for non-governmental organizations and foundations. In the present case, we will use measurement technologies to elucidate the evolution of GHG emissions and actively participate in reduction of those emissions using all markets available to the project at the local, continental and global scales (Figure 2). PEM’s partner organization, Pure Home Water, an NGO in Ghana founded in 2005 through a MIT engineering study-abroad program, will link humanitarian assistance with GHG reduction via funding of treatment systems to purify drinking water and build sanitary toilet facilities in urban and rural areas currently practicing open defecation Over 30% of Tamale's population has no access to any toilet facilities and therefore resorts to open defecation (Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, 2010) . 

4.  Partner with Diverse Ghanaian Institutions: In addition to the PEM-PWH partnership [6] and new partnerships with Palm Investments and GoldenEye (see "Who Will Take these Actions" section), we plan to partner and collaborate with diverse institutions in Ghana and the USA including the Government of Ghana, specifically the Ministry of the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/republic/ministry.profile.php?ID=43, as well as the Ministry of Trade and Industry http://www.ghanatrade.gov.gh/, the Forestry Commission of Ghana http://fcghana.org/, the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) http://sadagh.org/, the Kufour Foundation http://kufuorfoundation.org/, and the PeaceKeeper Foundation http://peacekeeperfdn.org/. We also plan to partner with chiefs in Northern Region Ghana, including:  chiefs of Taha, Gbalahi, Gburma and others.

5) Document the Changes Over Time with High Impact Visualization: Landscape-scale (e.g., ~400 hectares (ha)) aerial photography and imagery analysis employing drone flyovers of the project areas will be undertaken to complement the GHG measurement and related activities of this proposal. The drone flyovers will be performed by PEM’s partner organization, GoldenEye Precision Aerial Services Ghana Limited (“GoldenEye”) of Accra, Ghana. GoldenEye will leverage advanced remote sensing technologies and sophisticated, commercial-grade unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to enhance efforts to monitor GHG emissions in and around the North Ghanaian city of Tamale.  GoldenEye’s geospatial mapping platforms can provide timely, highly accurate, high-resolution photography and data over very wide areas, as well as areas that may otherwise be inaccessible by ground collection teams. By supplementing the data collected by PEM's ground sensors, a comprehensive understanding of the project areas can be developed and thoroughly monitored as the project mitigation efforts are undertaken.  The data generated through these platforms is also extremely useful in communicating the impacts of the project to internal and external stakeholders representing a key component of the social media campaign for the project. GoldenEye proposes flyovers in project areas with specialized sensors providing data overlays that will enhance and supplement the data generated by the project’s array of ground sensors.  Depending on revisit frequency requirements and the size, number, and location of project areas, GoldenEye can deploy a number of aircraft and sensor provisions to the Tamale area to provide regular, scheduled data collection flights.  The number and type of data sets collected can be tailored based on the specific application.  Typical flights with the GoldenEye remote sensing platforms last 1 hour, and depending on the sensor flown, the system is capable of collecting data over ~ 400 ha in an afternoon. The Tamale urban and metro area covers ~92,200 ha providing a diverse landscape for high resolution drone imagery. The visual-band data is captured at an altitude of 300’ AGL, providing imagery down to 1 cm resolution.  The sensor system is equipped with a GPS system and a high-grade Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) which allows for sub-meter geopositional accuracy as the captured images are processed into an orthomosaic.  This visual dataset can be recaptured as the project is executed to monitor the progress of the project efforts over time.  Automated change detection algorithms can be applied to the subsequent data sets to reveal changes in the features within the area of interest. A Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor to measure height of the tree canopy as well as a multispectral sensor system to derive the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) are also available. The NDVI reveals the extent and degree of vegetative stress within the collection area and will complement PEM’s ground based measurements.

6. Data Products Archiving, Analysis and Reporting:  The data collected from the project sensors will be managed remotely by PEM’s Communication and Management Subsystem (DCMS) of the MVA-SoS described previously. PEM will install and maintain the DCMS, which gathers, transmits to a central location, stores and analyzes the data produced by the distributed PEM Global Monitoring Platforms (GPM’s) of the MVA-SoS. The DCMS will produce and provide digital access to data, charts, figures and images resulting from the proposed project. The underlying research data files may also be accessible as desired through the DCMS. The DCMS will be designed to protect confidentiality, personal privacy, U.S., Ghanaian, national, homeland and economic security as well as recognize proprietary interests, business confidential information and intellectual property rights. The DCMS will define and provide operational control over data release pertaining to protected data and to unlimited rights data. In addition, limited rights data may be protected when proprietary data developed outside of the proposed work at private expense is employed in the proposed work. The DCMS is an integral part of PEM’s intelligent autonomous reporting system for the status of Tamale's zero-emissions project over short- and long-term intervals of active operation. A full data plan will be completed as the project begins operations and evolve around the needs of users and diverse stakeholders.

7. Ecological Restoration by Farmers and Foresters at the Landscape-Scale: The overall plan is for farmers and foresters to plant ensembles of economically valuable trees including shea, mango, cacao, acacia and cashew, as well as to establish agro-forestry zones for higher yielding crops such as maize, squash, yams, cotton and seasonal varieties of vegetables employing the latest innovations practiced in Ghana. The crop planting will utilize a "no-till" method that is known to sequester carbon and will assiduously implement innovations in carbon sequestration for agriculture and agroforestry. PEM's direct measurements will be required to quantify sequestration dynamics over annual cycles spanning the regions’ wet and dry seasons.

8. Create GHG Products and Sell to Worldwide Markets: This aspect of the proposed work will emerge as the Tamale project gets underway. It will involve many stakeholders in the private, NGO and governmental sectors. PEM, the overall project manager, also expects to offer an aggregation service to interested distributed landowners across the project area. The primary carbon product offered to buyers will be based on metric tonnes CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) sequestered annually from within the project areas. Additional carbon-linked products may be offered involving the larger community and environs of Gburma, a small but growing peri-urban community. Carbon-linked products may include 1) per capita CO2 emissions relative to a 100,000 ha reference buffer around Gburma and/or beyond Gburma, 2) liters of treated drinking water production per capita per 100,000 ha, 3) planting of plants and trees of economic importance as well as climate change-resistant plants, such as those currently growing in the region (e.g., savanna adapted) along selected pathways within a 100,000 ha zone, and, 4) dollar growth of local industry per CO2 emissions per 100,000 ha buffer. The GHG products resulting from the project will have associated locational, ecological, economic and indigenous information available to buyers.

9. Establish Ghana Humanitarian Trust: A unique feature of our team partnership is that we will set up the “Ghana Humanitarian Trust” comprised of Ghanaian trustees, plus one member each from PEM, PHW and Golden Palm Investments. This Trust will be used to fund development projects in Ghana focused on climate change, water, sanitation, hygiene and education, with an underlying goal of empowering women to bring health and well-being to themselves, their families and their communities. PEM will make an annual payment to the Ghana Humanitarian Trust equal to 10 % of PEM’s revenues from sale of Ghana Carbon Products realized during the prior calendar year resulting from the Game-Changer’s GHG Reduction Projects. PHW has its own infrastructure in Tamale, as well as an extensive network of water contacts throughout Ghana through whom these safe drinking water/sanitation/education/gender inclusive projects will be realized.

10. Social Media, Marketing and Networking: As the project relies on the assistance and endorsement of host nation governmental entities, the effective participation of the Tamale community, and the coordination of a team of participants with highly varied background and skill sets, the effectiveness of the program’s messaging strategy will be a key determinant in its success.  To that end, Sangu Delle, CEO and Founder of the Ghanaian firm, Golden Palm Investments, has been engaged to develop and execute the project’s messaging campaign.  Sangu, noted as one of “Africa’s Rising Stars,” will lead the social media campaign engaging networks extending to governmental, social, academic, and philanthropic domains making Sangu and Golden Palm Investments the ideal entity through which to communicate the project’s goals, results and impacts.  Using its local Ghanaian workforce, Golden Palm will undertake a direct messaging campaign linking to the diverse forms of electronic communication used within the local population (e.g., cell phone types and capabilities, internet venues) and stakeholders to communicate the positive social and environmental implications of reducing GHG emissions using the direct-measurement methodologies proposed, as well as to educate the local population on effective management actions.  Golden Palm Investments will leverage its extensive social media apparatus to communicate the project’s highlights to the global community, and its founder and CEO, Sangu Delle, will raise awareness of the project, its implications, and its impacts in various forums such as TED, the World Economic Forum and other venues, as appropriate, providing a powerful platform from which to raise awareness of GHG emission reduction through direct monitoring and effective management practices.

The Role of Carbon Monitoring With Emphasis on 14CO2 Measurements

Currently, measurements of CO2 (e.g., 12CO2, see Figure 1) are made by hundreds of automated CO2 analyzers worldwide resulting in millions of 12CO2 data points. However, the measurement of 12CO2 alone does not directly inform the community on the sources and sinks of fossil fuel CO2 (ff-CO2) emissions at local scales. As a consequence, tracking and accounting of fossil fuel emissions at their sources and sinks has been very limited and has had little impact on the management of fossil fuel CO2 emissions within the regulatory, policy, carbon trading and industry sectors. The reason that fossil fuel CO2 emissions are poorly tracked and accounted for is that only one species of CO2 known as 14CO2, or radiocarbon, is the only direct conservative tracer for ff-CO2 (See Figure 1). Radiocarbon is typically analyzed by remote large scale accelerator facilities (e.g., Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS))  that cannot be operated in the field to capture dynamic fluxes of radiocarbon over project areas. Until we measure the ff-CO2  “fingerprint” with 14CO2, only then can we change the game. Moreover, measuring ff-CO2 with 14CO2 continuously in the field has never before been demonstrated with a non-AMS analyzer.  What is novel, and what we believe makes this proposal a paradigm-shifting game-changer, taking us beyond the failed Clean Development Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol era, is in situ measurement not only of 12CO2 and 13CO2  (e.g., across Africa as noted previously), but also of 14CO2. This is the novelty of our “Game-Changers” innovation and of this overall proposal. There is no other field technology available to our knowledge that can continuously track 14CO2 or ff-CO2 emissions for the proposed project.

The PEM 14CO2 technology, the Global Monitor Platform (GMP)  was developed during a four year grant to PEM by the Department of Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory for the purposes of monitoring, verification and accounting for leakage of ff-CO2 associated with carbon capture and storage projects. PEM is now undertaking additional modifications and testing for commercial production of PEM’s GMP and deployment in the field as proposed here. While PEM will continue to improve and test the GMP for the purposes of the project, PEM will incorporate other non-AMS 14CO2 analyzers as they emerge. One example of a non-AMS 14CO2 analyzer now emerging and of interest to PEM is based on a SCAR 14CO2 analyzer configuration.  Although this analyzer is configured as a table top batch mode, non-continuous flow analyzer, the SCAR 14C analyzer could also be used in the field.  PEM is seeking game-changer  instrument developers interested in deploying new gas analysis  technology within the PEM GMP platform deployed in Africa as proposed here.

The paucity of data found for the Tamale project to establish a basis for emissions reductions resulting from the proposed work and for Ghana are, again, testament to the need for additional measurement observation stations across Ghana and Africa. The limited GHG data for the project area, for Ghana and for Africa, are also reflected in the current structure of the “Impact” tab that does not provide data for Africa, hence, no data could be entered for the purposes of demonstrating GHG reductions resulting from this project. The proposed work would provide data for inclusion of Africa and Ghana within the “Impact” tab offered by the MIT Climate Colab project.






Who will take these actions?

  1. Planetary Emissions Management (PEM) will have primary responsibility for Management of the project. Bruno D.V. Marino, CEO and Founder of PEM Inc. will serve as Project Director for all hardware, software, MVA, reporting and sale of products. PEM’s experienced and professional staff will be working in the US and Ghana to manage the project as well as market the GHG products resulting from the project. Please visit www.pemforest.com for a description of related work and staff.
  2. Susan Murcott, of MIT's D-Lab, http://d-lab.mit.edu/staff/susan_murcott CEO and Founder of Pure Home Water (PHW) https://purehomewater.org/ in Ghana, will serve as Project Director for all aspects of working on the ground in Tamale and surrounding regions including managing negotiations with local tribal leaders regarding land, agroforestry, agriculture and related matters.  Jim Niquette, now living in Ghana and with extensive humanitarian assistance experience, will be working with both PEM and PHW serving as Director of Project Operations to ensure smooth operation and integration of all components of the project.
  3. Sangu Delle, CEO and Founder of Golden Palm Investments Holding Company Limited (http://www.sdelle.com/), will lead the development and implementation of the project’s messaging campaign through his Ghanaian workforce and personal/professional network. In addition through his association with GoldenEye Precision Aerial Services Ghana Limited, Sangu and colleagues will direct the aerial analysis as described previously.
  4. Adam Korinek, Managing Director of GoldenEye Precision Aerial Services Ghana Limited, which is a subsidiary of Golden Palm Investments. GoldenEye is an aerial solutions provider, leveraging drone technology for socio-political, health and humanitarian challenges in West Africa.

  5. Game-Changers will be working closely with several institutions within Ghana including relevant Ministries and Universities.

Where will these actions be taken?


The project will take place in and around the city and metro area of Tamale, Northern Region,  Ghana, Africa over the projected time period of 30 years. Tamale and surrounding areas are shown in Figure 4.

(Fuseini, I, and Kemp, J. Characterising urban growth in Tamale, Ghana: An analysis of urban governance response in infrastructure and service provision. Habitat International. 56 (2016) 109-123.)

Figure 4. Tamale Center, Tamale Metro and  Sagnerigu Center areas are shown as dense shading. The grey shading with black outline represents the metro areas for both and will be involved in the proposed work.  

All equipment fabrication and pre-deployment testing will be completed by PEM Inc. and take place in Cambridge, MA, and at selected partner firms. 

Pure Home Water has been operating in Tamale, Ghana for the past 12 years and built a water filter factory, office and tree farm in the villages of Taha and Gburma ≈8 km east of Tamale city center. These peri-urban sites will serve as the project base during Year 1 of the project. In subsequent years the project will expand to an office and workspace in downtown Tamale to afford access to stores and transportation hubs.

Both PEM and PHW have offices in Cambridge, MA. 

GoldenEye drone and related equipment are housed in Accra, Ghana.

All data analysis once received via telemetry will be securely archived in PEM servers and made available from those servers to authorized users. PEM will manage the project from its shared Ghanaian office in Tamale PHW and from Cambridge, MA.

Golden Palm Investments maintains its headquarters in Accra, Ghana, from which local coordination for its direct messaging program will be directed and impemented.  Golden Palm also maintains a presence in Cambridge, MA.





How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

Very little data for directly measured GHG emissions are available either for Tamale or for Ghana. Our goal is to reduce GHG emissions in Tamale/Northern Region by 80% by 2050 and by 100% by 2100 relative to baseline levels measured in Years 1-3 (2016) of this project. The proposed direct measurement of GHG's including radiocarbon (e.g., 14CO2) will represent a new data resource for researchers in Ghana and Africa. PEM's suite of analyzers will provide data for CH4 and N2O using commercially available instruments as well as for 12,13,14 CO2 as described earlier. We calculate an initial, conservative, estimate for total CO2 emissions using ~0.4 metric tons per capita  and ~370,000 Ghanaian inhabitants for Tamale yielding 148,000 mtCO2e. Emissions of CH4, N2O,HFC/PFC and SF6 per capita are not adequately known to provide an estimate and hence these emission rates must be measured and defined during the first three years of the project to establish baseline sources/sinks.

What are other key benefits?

The benefits of a successful zero-emissions Tamale and surrounding areas project include: 1) support for expansion of similar projects for fast-growing cities of the future worldwide utilizing the components and mechanisms tested in this project,  2) enhanced management of fossil fuel-based energy systems and verifiable emissions reduction in a larger greenhouse gas budget framework such as the Paris Convention and related Nationally Determined Contributions for Ghana and Africa, 3) technology transfer of the PEM MVA SoS  architecture to other cities and areas large and small, 4) a foundation for an unassailable and transparent MVA SoS sensor network for monetization of verified carbon products that can be sold on global markets to compliance and voluntary buyers, 5) a model for the Paris Agreement's "Transparency Framework," and, 6) a road map and demonstration for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for water by 2030 and for sanitation by 2050 in Tamale/Northern Region.

What are the proposal’s costs?

For the purposes of determining both the proposal costs and timeline (for Timeline, see section below), the total time frame for this project is currently set at 30 years (Figure 5). The first three years are covered by the $2.5M Ask (Figure 5). Costs for decades 2 and 3 could be covered through a successful Reg A+ Tier II offering planned for Year 1 with an estimated cost of $500k (Figure 5). Three decades will provide a useful time series for population growth, emissions management, growth of planting, farmer productivity and water budget evolution. We have chosen this ambitious goal because any shorter time period would likely not yield meaningful results or capture trends of climate change and population growth. We believe that a call to action to establish observation platforms for Ghana and Africa should be answered with long term monitoring perspectives serving diverse end user and stakeholder needs.

Figure 5. Project Timeline, Phases and Budget.

We divide the project periods into three 10-year intervals. Each decade will require two "stocktake" periods and reporting of "nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) according to the Paris Agreement (Articles 3 & 4). The data from Tamale will be address the stocktake periods for these NDC activities.

For the purposes of this proposal, we have estimated that it will cost ~US$2.5 M in Years 1 - 3 based on current plans, including funding for the Regulation A+ (Tier II) offering. Budget justification for Project Directors, Managers and Ghanaian skilled and unskilled staff, consultants, in-country costs and equipment will be further developed as the project progresses. PEM, PHW, Golden Palm Investments and GoldenEye will be contributing significant in-kind cost sharing.  The overall project budget of $2.5 million ($833,333 x 3) is the total of the Phase 1, 2 & 3 budget periods. Figure 5 below also incorporates the time line and project phases with the proposal's costs over the first decade.

Time line

Decade 1 (0-10 Years) (Referring to Figure 5)

Phase 1 (3.33 years)

  • Establish PEM in Ghana at PHW’s office and subsequently in Tamale center.
  • Social media messaging begins immediately via Golden Palm Investments.
  • Eddy covariance and other measurement devices, plus drones are introduced, tested & set into continuous & semi-continuous operation.
  • Engage farmers in seedlings production & high-nutrition, carbon-neutral farming practices.
  • Tree-planting begins in Years 2 and 3,
  • Expansion of safe water & sanitation coverage starts immediately & continues through entire 30-year period.
  • Hiring ≈ 30 Ghanaians across the project domains.
  • Initiate marketing and sale of GHG products.
  • Execute the Reg A+(Tier II) offering to secure additional funding for the remaining 6.66 years of the 1st decade of the project.
  • Data collection and analysis summarized for 3.33--year period.
  • Participate in the NDC stocktake as per the schedule of the Paris Agreement and in concert with the Government of Ghana. 


Phase 2 (3.33 years)

  • Increasing carbon sequestration strength through restoration of native vegetation.
  • Expand total land coverage by involvement of new landowners in metro and agroforestry areas.
  • Hire 30 new staff.
  • Effect changes to reduce Tamale metro emissions through renewable energy program commencement and social media. Projects to be guided by Tamale municipal government.
  • Participate in the first stocktake period at the 5-year mark.
  • Sale of GHG products fully underway assisted by the social media campaign.
  • Retail stores in Africa and in the US in conjunction with a commercial partner will be established.


Phase 3 (3.33 years) 

  • Expansion of successful Phase 2 activities in Phase 3.
  • Participation in the 2nd 5-year stocktake, informed by summaries of data for the 10-year period for Tamale.
  • Renewable energy program expansion.
  • Additional safe water and sanitation coverage.


Subsequent Decades 2 and 3 will.continue established and successful practices of Decade 1. 

Related proposals



[1]        Wackernagal, M. and Rees,W. Our Ecological Footprint:Reducing Human Impact on the Earth. New Society Publishers. 1996.  http://www.newsociety.com/Books/O/Our-Ecological-Footprint

[2]         R. Clemencon, “The Two Sides of the Paris Climate Agreement: Dismal Failure or Historic Breakthrough?,” J. Environ. Dev., vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 3–24, Feb. 2016. http://jed.sagepub.com/content/25/1/3.short

[3]         W. Obergassel, C. Arens, L. Hermwille, N. Kreibich, F. Mersmann, H. E. Ott, and H. Wang-Helmreich, “Phoenix from the Ashes — An Analysis of the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” no. March, 2016.http://wupperinst.org/en/a/wi/a/s/ad/3362/

[4]         Newman, S., Xu, X., Gurney, K.R., Hsu, Y.K., Li, K.F., Jiang, X., Keeling, R., Feng, S., O'Keefe, D., Patarasuk, R. and Wong, K.W., 2016. Toward consistency between trends in bottom-up CO 2 emissions and top-down atmospheric measurements in the Los Angeles megacity. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics16(6), pp.3843-3863.http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/16/3843/2016/acp-16-3843-2016.html

[5]         Shepson, P. B., et al. "Progress and Developments in the Indianapolis Flux Experiment (INFLUX)." AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. Vol. 1. 2014. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014AGUFM.A52D..01S

[6]         B. D. V. Marino and S. Murcott, “Ghanaian Agroforestry, Water, Sanitation and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Management Goals for Unique Partnership.” [Online]. Available: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13312686.htm.

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Proposal summary
Game-Changer Direct Measure of GHG Emissions Take Tamale Ghana to Zero Carbon
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By:  Game-Changers-Ghana
Contest: The Smart Zero Carbon Cities Challenge 2016
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