Working Papers – Climate Change

Jabik, B.B. (2021). Relevant Local Climatic Knowledge for Sustainable Agro-Ecological Practices by Small-Scale Farmers in Northern Ghana

Local knowledge on climatic conditions which hitherto was used to predict the likelihood of weather outcomes is under threat of extinction due to lack of documentation coupled with a gradual decline in its knowledge transfer. Using participatory and ethnographic research approaches including focus groups discussion, key informant interviews, in-depth interviews, and purposively selecting small-scale farmers in the Upper East Region of Ghana, this study has identified key local climatic knowledge that would contribute to achieving sustainable agro-ecological practices. The study found that plant phenology like the sprouting of Faidherbia albida and the presence of Ficus carica are relevant for sustainable agro-ecological practices of small-scale farmers. Also, the frequency or otherwise of rains and the appearance of the water of the first rain at the onset of the rainy season presupposes the likelihood of the rainfall pattern in that year. Also, some animal and bird behaviour such as the movement of migratory birds, which was used to predict the likelihood of weather patterns or seasons, has been adversely affected by the changing climatic conditions. This knowledge is very relevant for agro-ecological practices since it enables farmers to plan ahead of seasons, which contributes to improving the adaptive capacity of small-scale farmers.

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Bruna, N. (2021). From a Threat to an Opportunity: Climate Change as the New Frontier of Accumulation

Amidst the intensification of the global environmental crisis, the new scramble for Africa has become ‘greener’ than ever. Investments, projects and policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change have become a top priority especially in biodiversity-rich countries such as Mozambique and with profound implications to rural livelihoods. This paper aims to understand, under a political economy and ecology lens, the implications to global processes of accumulation and rural livelihoods. It explores different variations in which climate change is used to facilitate capital accumulation either through legitimation of resource grabbing or by the creation of new spaces for accumulation by further commodifying nature. A closer examination of these processes shows that climate change, and the policies and schemes to address it, which were initially perceived as threats to accumulation, have been co-opted by global capital and integrated in the global processes of accumulation, with the aid of the state. Hence, a new frontier of accumulation arises, as climate change is further augmenting new forms of primitive accumulation (with and without land expropriation), creating new commodities and new opportunities for accumulation by expanded reproduction (legitimised by mitigation and adaptation policies).

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