The University for Development Studies (UDS) has initiated a project dubbed “Grass for Carbon” (G4C) as part of it mandate to help communities in their operational areas to cope with climate change effects.
The Pro-Vice Chancellor of the university Prof. David Millar who disclosed this to the Enquirer in an exclusive interview said that the proposed research would identify viable economic, fire resistance and carbon absorber wild grasses, nurture them as part of efforts to protect and strengthen the vegetation cover of the north to check climate change. “the proposed “Grass 4 Carbon” is a 4-year “critical research” with the focus on the development of wild grasses that are both good carbon absorbers, fire resistance and economic”, he said. The proposed research according to Prof. Millar would also examine the possibility of using grasses for energy using new technology to transform it into forms of charcoal to replace the excessive tree cutting for firewood or charcoal that contributed to the depletion of the forest.
Prof. Millar explained that the proposed research on carbon trading would give clear understanding the local dynamics of climate adaptation and coping mechanisms and seeks novel ways to pre-empt the worst effects of climate change. The Pro-VC who would be leading the research team explained that the study was necessary to comprehend not just the changes that are taking place but more importantly, the coping strategies employed by the local populations to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
“The research will also allow for a clearer understanding of the various dynamics of the local livelihood situations and what new strategies may be introduced to assist these poor and vulnerable people to cope with the effects of climate change”, he said.
Prof. Millar said the university however was seeking funding support from the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), international and local Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), and other interested organizations in climate change issues to come onboard to support their course saying the project has the potential to mitigate or reduce the carbons emitted into the atmosphere and at the time same promote livelihoods. Research had shown that grasses are good absorbers of carbons with potentials of reducing carbon in the air by 65% that would lessens the risk carbons poses to Ozon layer that protect the earth from dangerous heat or chemicals dangerous to lives.
The proposed “Grass 4 carbons” research by the university when commence would be the first comprehensive research on climate change in the region and for that matter Ghana that relates climate change to livelihoods.
The Pro-VC said that the research does not only aimed to boost northern economy, and reduce carbons in the atmosphere, bush fires, and tree felling but also aimed to enhance weaving industry to attract investors and tourists into the region.
“The project’s “economic grasses” are those that are used in the baskets, hats, and furniture weaving industry”, Prof. Millar explained.
He said that the university which operates under the pro-poor policies was not only committed to academic works but also to policies and programmes that support community livelihoods improvement.
The UDS he pointed out was challenged following limited researches that have been done on climate change variability that does not relate climate change to livelihoods in northern Ghana where evidence of the effects of climate change was obvious.
The northern Ghana which covers about 40% of total mass of Ghana is the most populated region whose people depended largely on fire wood as their source of energy while agriculture is the mainstay of the people’s livelihoods. There is also widespread of shifting cultivation system of farming, bush burning that turned the region into semi-desert.
The Climate change which is currently a global topic has re-awakened to calls to states to rethink their environmental laws, policies and programmes that would ensure good and acceptable environmental practices. The scientific researches clearly established that both natural and anthropogenic factors contribute to climate change. However, many related issues remain unresolved, including the extent of the impact of those two factors and their interplay. The question of scientific uncertainty with regard to the causes of climate change and its impact is still a debatable global issue.