Assessing the impact of climate change in a coastal community. A case study of Blekusu in the Ketu-south Municipality

Master's Thesis, 2020

95 Pages, Grade: A










2.1 Introduction
2.7.1 The Theory of Change
2.7.2 The Anthropocene Theory


4.3 Effects of Climate Change on the residents of Blekusu
4.4 Mitigating the Effects of Climate change on the residents of Blekusu
4.5 Assessing the efforts of the government of Ghana in mitigating the impact of climate change on the residents of Blekusu








This work is first dedicated to the Almighty God for His Mercy and loving kindness He shows on me every day. It is also dedicated to my family, my boss, George Quakye Owiredu and to those who helped me tremendously in the completion of this project work. It is also dedicated to my friends, Bismark Tsatsu Agbezudor, Ella Afya Martins, Peace Eyram Aleawobu, and Bill Godson Ocloo. All that I can say is thank you and God richly bless you for the love and support given to me.


I am heavily indebted to God for his guidance and strength throughout this study. Without Him, I could not be where I am today. I am grateful for His grace and strength throughout my study period at the Institute of Local Government Studies.

I am also very grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Abdul-Mumin Abdulai., for his patience and supervision that has contributed immensely to the success of the study.

I am also grateful to the officials who took their time to answer research questions during data collection process. My heart-felt gratitude also goes to my family, through whose support, encouragement and prayers have brought me this far.

Lastly, to my class mates who helped in whatever way they could to finish this project successfully, I say ‘Ayekoo’ and the good Lord bless you.


Figure 4.1 – Bar graph showing the age distribution of the respondents

Figure 4.2: Pie chart showing the distribution of the responses the respondent gave pertaining to the question: Have you experienced the effects of Climate change in Blekusu

Figure 4.3: Figure 4.3: Pie chart showing the how the residents feel about the average temperature of Blekusu

Figure 4.4: Pie chart showing the how the residents feel about the average rainfall pattern in Blekusu over the last 10 years

Figure 4.5: Pie chart showing the different categories of effects of climate change on Blekusu

Figure 4.6: Pie chart showing the responses the respondents gave pertaining to the question; can the effects of climate change in Blekusu be managed

Figure 4.7: Pie chart showing how the effects of climate change in Blekusu can be mitigated against or managed


GFDRR- Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery

IFRC- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent

IPCC- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

NADMO- National Disaster Management Organisation

SPSS- Statistics Package for Social Sciences

UN – United Nation

UNDP- United Nations Development Programme

UNESCO- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNFCCC- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

UNISDR- United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

UNORC- United Nations Recovery Coordinator

WHO- World Health Organization

WMO- World Metrological Organisation


Climate change and its consequences have more or less become an expected occurrence and an inevitable result of the world’s physical, biotic and chemical processes. From global increase in temperatures, continuous increase in sea level, loss of arctic sea ice, and changes in type, distribution and coverage of vegetation, climate change has become one of the worrying occurrences in the world. The impacts of climate change on Blekusu are not different from other coastal communities as the community is also a coastal community. The study was concerned with assessing the impact of climate change on Blekusu, a coastal community in the Ketu-South municipality. The study revealed that destruction of infrastructure as a result of the rising sea volume is one impact of climate change that is worrying the people of Blekusu. The study also revealed that construction of a sea defense wall is one way by which the destruction caused by the rising sea volume can be prevented. In this regard, the study therefore recommended that the government of Ghana must ensure that existing institutions, agencies and functionaries in charge of educating the public with respect to climate change and its effects in the country are adequately equipped to be able to discharge their duties effectively.




Climate change and its consequences have more or less become an expected occurrence and an inevitable result of the world’s physical, biotic and chemical processes. From global increase in temperatures, continuous increase in sea level, loss of arctic sea ice, and changes in type, distribution and coverage of vegetation, climate change has become one of the worrying occurrences in the world. The term though not relatively new has several explanations but one explanation given by Solomon et al. (2007) which describe climate change as a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variation of weather within the context of longer-term average conditions gives the indication that climate change, of whatever nature has great effects on humans. The United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC) also defines climate change as changes in the physical environmental or biota resulting from climate change which has significant deleterious effects on the composition, resilience or productivity of natural and managed ecosystems or on the operation of socio-economic systems or on human health and welfare. The world has observed several disasters as a result of climate change and some include the recent Australia ‘Millennium’ drought which affected almost the entire country, the 2008 Cyclone Nargis that hit northern India Ocean and devastated Myanar, and the recent severe drought and famine in Kenya among others (United Nation Trust Fund for Human Security, 2015). Although these are just but few examples of climate change related disasters, most researchers (Tipson (2013), Sawada and Shimizutani (2004), and Skidmore and Toya (2002) among others) report that the frequency of such disasters and extreme environmental events are expected to increase on a global scale.

The effects of climate change can be observed anywhere in the world but one place where this effect is very glaring is the coastal areas. Wong et al. (2004) assert that coastal areas are one of the areas that are at the mercy of climate change as its devastating effects are more observed here. Generally, apart from serving as homes to species, coastal areas play significant roles in a country’s economy. From marine transportation of goods, offshore energy drilling, resource extraction, fish cultivation, recreation and tourism, coastal areas generate an estimated 58 percent of a country’s gross domestic product (Moser et al. 2014). All these benefits of coastal areas are however under threat as the effects of climate change become more detrimental. Climate change according to National Research Council of United States (NRC) (2010) affects coastal areas in a variety of ways. Some of these ways include continuous increase of sea level, changes in the frequency and intensity of storms, and increasing precipitation and warmer ocean temperatures. Also, rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing the oceans to absorb more of the gas and becoming more acidic. This rising acidity of the sea can have dire consequences on coastal and marine ecosystems.

In Ghana, the situation is not very different as climate change related disasters are a frequent occurrence across the coastal areas of the country. A 2012 country report by the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) indicates that the country in 2011 experienced a total of 243,000 disasters of various natures. The report further states that out of this number floods and other hydro-meteorological disasters like tidal waves, storms, etc are the most frequent disasters that the country faces (NADMO, 2012). Although, the causes of these events are not specifically known there is the suggestion that the main underlying cause could be climate change. These events, just like other climate change effects, disrupt and erode livelihoods, increase the spread of infectious diseases and threaten the coping mechanisms of individuals and communities. The effects of these disasters on individuals, families, societies and the nation as a whole are devastating with severe economic cost. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in its 2015 reports asserted that floods and other hydro-meteorological disasters impacted on the country’s economic and financial status as they contributed an amount of 45.95 million dollars as average annual loss to the country.


Climate change and its effect are no longer a theory but a reality we all have to embrace. The rate, severity and variations of the effects in recent times are unprecedented. Just like natural disasters, the impacts of climate change that have occurred in the world have proven beyond doubt that the ’effect of climate of change cannot be predicted holistically nor fully prepared against. In the same vein, the effects of climate change cannot also, in its entirety, be calculated as it has incredibly far-reaching consequences for the safety and wellbeing of individuals and communities. The various effects of climate change across the globe have exacerbated pre-existing problems and inequalities as a result of the overwhelming catastrophes which it leaves in its path. Millions of people along the coast especially, are affected by the effects of climate change every year, and the impact can be calamitous. From the destruction of buildings to the increasing level of acidity of the sea, the effect of climate change can devastate entire countries overnight. With the associated havoc and destruction, it is therefore easier for one to conclude that the impacts of climate change are therefore affects coastal communities immensely.

In Ghana and especially Blekusu which is a coastal community, a fishing town in the Volta Region, the effects of climate change has greatly been experienced by the locals of the community (NADMO, 2012). The residents of the community just like residents of other coastal areas suffer grave effects from climate change. From loss of property, loss of lives, through to loss of dignity and respect, most victims of this disaster have had to battle with the varying consequences of this kind of disasters in the country. However, according to NADMO (2012) and the EPA (2013) more research on climate change and its effects or the extent of damage on coastal communities in the country needs to be carried out. More so, according to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) (2015) most Africa countries show very little efforts in dealing with climate change and this is as a result of inadequate research conducted in African countries on climate change and its effect on the continent. In this light this study is being carried out to add to the limited literature on climate change in coastal communities in Ghana and Africa as a whole.


The objective of the study is to assess the impact of climate change on Blekusu, a coastal community in the Ketu-South Municipality.


The specific objectives of the study are to:

1. Describe the climate change situation in Blekusu.
2. Identify the extent to which the livelihood of the residents of Blekusu is affected as a result of climate change.
3. Identify measures or ways of mitigating the impact of climate change by the residents of Blekusu.
4. Assess the efforts of the government of Ghana in mitigating the effects of climate change on the residents of Blekusu.


The study seeks to answer the following research questions:

1. What is the climate change situation in Blekusu?
2. How has climate change impacted on the livelihood of the residents of Blekusu?
3. What are some of the ways by which the effects of climate change on the residents be mitigated?
4. What are the efforts of the government of Ghana in mitigating the impact of climate change on the residents of Blekusu?


Given that the effects of climate change are now clearly facing us, there is the need for such effects to be assessed. The study when completed would therefore provide government and stakeholders with information on the negative impacts of climate change on Blekusu. This would help in designing a strategy to accurately estimate the cost and other logistics associated with the effects of climate change in the country. The study add to existing literature on the effects of climate change on coastal communities in the country, and also provide a practical contribution to new evidence and solution to mitigating these effects associated with it. The study would also identify specific effects of climate change in Blekusu which require special attention. The results or findings of this study would additionally serve as background information for promoting and advocating for a policy to help manage the effects of climate change. It would finally also serve as a working document to policy makers and provide up to date information on climate change across the country.


The study focuses on exploring how the climate change has impacted the country with particular focus on Blekusu. The study assesses the nature of the effects of climate change that is impacting Blekusu and relates this effect to the human security of the people of the fishing community. The study only limits the effects of climate change in Blekusu because it is a coastal town and it is is heavily populated.


The study is organised into five chapters. Chapter One, the Introductory chapter covers the background to the study, the statement of problem, research objectives, research question, significance of the study, and the organisation of the study. Chapter Two reviews relevant literature on climate change and impacts of climate change, including journal articles, books, research reports and additional information sources with the aim of establishing available knowledge on the topic and gaps in the literature. The chapter also explains the conceptual and theoretical perspectives underpinning the study. The literature review covers both theoretical and empirical literature. Chapter Three provides detailed methodological issues comprising; brief profile of the study area, study design, study population, study variables, sample and sampling technique, data collection method, data analysis and ethical consideration. This chapter explains how various processes by which this study was conducted. Chapter Four presents the results of the study. Here, the data analysis, the findings, analysis and discussions of results are presented with diagrams and explanations. Chapter Five is the last chapter and it covers the summary, conclusions and recommendations. This chapter gives a summary of the entire dissertation relates the findings of the study to the objectives whiles drawing conclusion as well.



2.1 Introduction

Literature review is the assessment of existing literature on an academic area to add onto an existing knowledge. Literature review is “a search and evaluation of the available literature in a given subject matter, reviewing previous works to further improve what is already known in the field and what questions research approaches have already tried to answer in those areas” (Bourne 2007:7). The literature review tries to pull together the existing theoretical and empirical studies that provide the background and necessary basis for the study (Biney, 2008:7). The literature review for the study gives an overview of scholarly thoughts and deliberations on issues of the military, internal security and civil disturbance. The review sets the tone for an in-depth discussion on the subject matter considering others perspectives from the reviewed literature. The literature review in the study attempts to review relevant works done on various aspects of climate change and its negative impacts on livelihood. For the purpose of the review, the following thematic areas are covered: the concept of climate change, causes of climate change, impacts of climate change and managing the effects of climate change.


Climate change for a while now has been a pressing global issue with its effects transcending almost every sector of society (Parish, 1993). From declining sea ice, to increasing global temperature, climate change has now occupied a central niche in global discourse. With everything in nature on a constant move, coupled with mans’ increasing activities on the environment, climate change has become an inevitable occurrence. Although, these movements and changes are constantly occurring, there arises a time when the results of such movements coupled with a dysfunctional environment as a result of mans’ activities may create a climate condition that may constitute a danger to humans and to other members of an environment (Parrish, 1993). Such an occurrence or event that results in a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time according to Parrish (1993) defines climate change. Climate change therefore refers to a change in climate that persists over a sustained period of time, usually more than 30 years.

Although, changes in the climate may be due to natural causes like changes in the sun’s output or any other activity that changes the composition of the atmosphere, the causes of climate change are more human induced than natural occurrences (Ramasway, 2006). The term is therefore often used to refer specifically to anthropogenic climate change, also known as global warming (Ramasway, 2006). Anthropogenic climate change is caused by human activity, as opposed to changes in climate that may have resulted as part of Earth’s natural processes. In this sense, the term climate change has become synonymous with anthropogenic global warming. The term climate change must however be differentiated from natural climatic variations. Although, the two terms share great similarities they are different. Roger (2006) purport that whiles climatic variations refers to natural processes or changes (whether slow or fast) that affect the atmosphere like the North Atlantic Oscillation, climate change refers to alterations in the earth’s atmosphere that are attributable to human activity such as increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The confusion however lies in which to blame-climate change or climate variations (In essence, according to the World Metrological Organisation, climate variability looks at changes that occur within smaller timeframes, such as a month, a season or a year, and climate change considers changes that occur over a longer period of time, typically over decades or longer.) ,when we experience a tropical cyclone season with unprecedented effects on communities. The answer to this is difficult and not straight forward as the atmosphere is highly complex and non-linear in how it reacts. More so, attributing the effects of climate change and climate variations is no easy task and an area of ongoing research across the greater scientific community.

Generally, the effects of climate change have increased in frequency across the globe over the past 50 years. Rodriguez et al. (2009) report that, over the past decade the effects of climate change has climbed inexorably. For example from 1994 to 1998, the average number of reported disasters associated to climate change were 428 per year but form 1999 to 2003, this figure went up to an average of 707 disaster events per year showing an increase of about 60 per cent over the previous years (Dayton-Johnson, 2004). The biggest rise was in countries of low human development, which suffered an increase of 142 per cent. Although, the recent historical pattern of major natural disasters as a result of climate change can be traced, the extent of human vulnerabilities is a complex and subjective matter, often evident only after the fact. In other words, mortality figures are typically used as indicators of the severity of climate change related disasters. There is no doubt that the effects of climate change can be or are very devastating. However, some of these effects according to Morris and Wodon (2003) are generally much higher in coastal areas, where damage is usually the more numerical impressive consequence. For example, climate change has caused a significant rise in sea water level and for this reason, most coastal lands are being swallowed up by the sea. In addition, climate change is associated with increase in storms and cyclones and these are more devastating to coastal towns.

Apart from this effects that are specific to coastal towns, other general effects such as increase in global temperature and changes in precipitation pattern also affects coastal areas. There is the assumption that the effects of climate change are more devastating on poorer nations than wealthier ones. Brauch (2003) asserts that while some developed nations may be as prone to the effects of climate change as poor nations, the people of wealthier nations are not as vulnerable to disasters; they do not die in large numbers nor does their environment collapse as easily. For example Tokyo, Japan, Managua, and Nicaragua, are both prone to storms and tsunamis but the people of Tokyo are far less vulnerable to injury by storms and tsunamis because Tokyo has strictly enforced building codes, zoning regulations and storm training and communications systems (Brauch, 2003). In Managua, however such sophisticated systems are not available, or if they are, they are not adequate to effectively manage the effects of climate related disasters. Also, in Managua, majority of the population live in top-heavy mud houses on hillsides which makes them very vulnerable to the effects of certain effects of climate change.


With reports of the effects of climate change dramatically increasing, researchers, disaster management organizations, and other stakeholders believes that it may have a direct impact on the welfare of regions where it hits and also on specific household in such areas. The effects of climate change can be very devastating and depending on the underlying hazard, the effect in terms of extent of damage to properties and loss of lives among others can vary (Garet 2005). Also, depending on where one lives, extremes of weather, such as increasing temperature, floods, drought, etc. are threats to lives, properties, productive assets and social indicators. Although, climate change may not be directly responsible for the recent numbers and cause of natural disaster, it is very likely that it will impact future catastrophes. In other words, climate change will worsen the frequency, intensity and devastating ability of natural disasters (Meeh et al., 2003). Meehl et al. (2013) further assert that with the use of climate models future catastrophes are predicted, and while the models do not all agree on the details, most models predict a gloomy future. For example, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2012), an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will probably boost temperatures over most land surfaces, though the exact change will vary regionally. Also, Forest et al. (2013) opine that an increase in global temperatures include increased risk of drought and increased intensity of storms, including tropical cyclones with higher wind speeds, a wetter Asian monsoon, and possibly more intense mid-latitude storms.

Another effect of climate change according to Allison (2009) is the increase in frequency of extreme weather conditions. For example the combined result of increased temperature over land, decreased equator-versus-pole temperature differences and increased humidity could generate increasingly intense cycles of drought and floods as more of a region’s precipitation falls in a single large storm rather than a series of small ones. Also scientists have speculated that a warmer climate that allows more intense storms to develop would also spawn more hurricanes. In other words, climate change can give rise to stronger hurricanes whose effects will be very catastrophic. Economically, the effects of climate change can be detrimental. Freeman (2003) purports that the effects of climate change can disrupt economies and this is because during emergencies like coastal flooding as a result of sea level rise, people can have their entire livelihood washed away. During such periods, normal economic activities like farming, fishing, and construction and so on are severely curtailed as people must leave their jobs and devote their time to disaster-related activities such as search and rescue or to care for survivors.

Another economic impact of climate change is the impact on persons who are particularly only marginally in the economy; people such as subsistence farmers, small shopkeepers, and fisherman (Dayton-Johnson, 2004). After a disaster as a result of climate change it is not uncommon for many small enterprises to fail. For the owners, a disaster like tidal waves or flooding from increasing sea level can wipe out not only their investment but also their savings. Several observers have noted that boom economies often develop after a widespread disaster such as severe rainfall or hurricane requiring major physical reconstruction. Long-term effects are not yet known, but at least one study indicates that if low-income victims are given priority in job hiring, boom economies can be a means of adjusting some of the losses In addition, climate change can affect the environment and in relation to the environmental effect, Echenberg (2007) observes that climate change can have any number or combination of four environmental effects and these are destruction and damage to homes and buildings; decreased quantity or quality or water supplies; destruction of crops and/or food stocks; and the presence of unburied human bodies or animal carcasses. These environmental effects vary considerably from as a result of the underlining hazard, for example a rise in sea level affects coastal buildings but usually not crops, while tropical cyclones may affect both. Closely related to the environmental effects is the impact that climate change effects have on land tenure and values (World Disaster Report, 2001). These effects also vary with the underlying hazard type; for example, land values after flooding as a result of increase in sea level will go up in zones that were not heavily damaged, but land values go down in zones of high susceptibility to flooding by the sea. In relation to the health effects of climate change, Petrucci (2012) reports that the effects of climate are often believed to cause not only widespread death but also massive social disruption and outbreaks of epidemic disease and famine, leaving survivors entirely dependent on outside relief. For example, the prolonged drought in Kenya, put the country in an emergency state that it began taking aid from other countries to survive.


The climate is continuously changing all over the world and its effect can be utterly devastating for people’s lives and the environment in which they live. With the current increase in frequency of the effects of climate change, which is reflected in the fact that over the past 10 years over 3,852 natural disasters attributable to climate change have been recorded with 780,000 associated deaths, it has become imperative that the causes of climate change are established (Flynn, 2007). Although by its name one can suggest that climate change is caused by nature and indeed there are few different natural causes that lead to climate change, human activities play tremendous roles in the frequency and severity of climate change. Garret (2005) reports that climate change is not entirely natural nor the results of solely external or natural factors but activities of humans also play a significant role. In short, climate change and its effects like floods, high temperatures and cyclones have been caused because of human interference. Understanding therefore the causes of climate change can provide clues to their prevention and also enable us to be better prepared when such its related effects do arrive.

There are several known causes of climate change and these causes can be differentiated into natural and human causes. In other words, there are natural phenomena whose end results play a role in climate change and in the same vein there are certain activities of humans whose results also impact the climate. Generally, natural phenomena that make an impression on the climate are not many but their effects on the climate are significant (de Boer et al., 2003). For example, El Nino, which occurs at intervals of three to seven years, causes high air pressure in the western pacific and low air pressure in the eastern pacific (Flynn, 2007). This movement of air is associated with the movement of warm water from the western pacific (Indonesia, Philippines) to the east and this causes a rise in sea temperature in an area west of Peru. This occurrence creates worldwide deviations in cloud patterns, precipitation and temperature and other climate related changes. In addition, natural phenomena like changes in solar energy, volcanic eruptions and natural changes in greenhouse gasses all contribute to changes in the climate (de Boer et al., 2003).

Another natural activity that plays a role in climate change is the activity of the moon. Echenberg (2007) asserts that the activity of the moon determines the ocean waves which can get really high during full moon. This activity of the moon has been linked to several occurrences in the climate such as the increase in precipitation and natural changes in green house gas (Iwan, 2006). In addition, the Changing Ocean currents, as a result of the activity of the moon, are also dangerous at times as it can result in changes of water temperature which could result in a global food shortage by killing fish and ocean plant life. These changing oceanic currents could also adversely affect the intensity as well as the frequency of storms and which lays the ground for hazards like tornados and cyclones (Ride and Bretherton, 2011).

Although nature plays significant roles in the climate change that causes climate change related disasters, certain human activities also enhances the occurrence of these activities. These activities according to Stewart (2011) are as a result of factors such as rapid modernization, increased civilization and sky rocketing developmental growth all of which indicates man’s increase in knowledge. This increased knowledge and technology have served to trigger some changes in the climate. For example, in instances of high temperatures, activities of man since the industrial revolution have resulted in an average increase of world temperature by approximately 0.8 degrees Celsius (Battisti and Naylor, 2009). This temperature increase is high in certain places like North-West Europe were the average temperature has risen by 1.5 degrees In addition, it has also been estimated that the rapid increased technological advancements and growing modernization is leading to ignorance towards the environment. Sobel (2013) reports that today humans are growing at a rapid rate and at the same time neglecting the harm that they are causing to the environment. Environmental bylaws are being neglected for personal gains by few businessmen and coupled with the dual forces of global warming as well as poor human management, the foundation of climate change are gradually being laid. Sobel (2013) further asserts that because of these factors humans have created a situation where ordinary event like storm and hurricanes become increasingly elevated to the level of natural disasters which results in heavy losses in the terms of human life as well as property.


Although some of the effects of climate change have a backdrop of natural processes and hence cannot be predicted, some can be predicted. Actually, with the current technological dispensation, effects of climate change are more or less no longer unforeseen events. Sobel (2013) reports that even though extreme natural events such as floods, drought, cyclones and high temperatures are not totally under human control, prediction of occurrence of some of these events with a good degree of certainty is possible, thanks to the developments in space technology. In effect, technology that now exists makes it possible to identify the effects of climate change that threaten a community and to estimate the areas and the settlements that will be affected. This therefore helps mitigate the associated effect of climate change, or prepare adequately against such events.

In reducing the impacts of climate change, a comprehensive educational tool should be employed to effectively educate people on the dangers of climate change and how their activities are worsening the situation. Cuaresma et al (2004) purports that as about 95 percent of mans’ activities are responsible for climate change, people should be enlightened adequately about climate change to help in the reduction of factors like emissions of greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. Also, there should be massive campaign against the use of CO2 producing fuels as this will reduce the production of CO2 which contributes greatly to greenhouse gas.

Also, because climate change affects the occurrences of natural hazards, such events also have to be prepared against. Hence for tsunamis and hurricanes, most management techniques have to do with preventing the sea water from causing destruction on land. For this type of climate change effect, the most systematic measures to protect coastal areas against tsunamis have been taken in Japan, the country in which the largest numbers of people live in areas liable to tsunami attack (World Disaster Report, 2001). The measures have consisted of the seawall construction along low-lying coastal stretches, breakwater construction at the entrances to bays and harbours, and planting of pine tree belts. Although the trees do not offer protection against flooding, belts of pine trees can play an important role by ridding the tsunami of some of its energy and by acting as a filter for solid objects carried by the tsunami, thus reducing its destructive power. To be effective, these trees must be at least 200 meters (655 feet) broad (perpendicular to the coast) (Freeman, 2003). They should also be planted with dense undergrowth in addition to the trees themselves. This management technique is observed in the town of Yoshihima, Japan, which being completely destroyed by a tsunami in 1896, is now protected by a sea-wall some 800 meters (2,600 feet) long and six meters (120 feet) high. This management technique proved effective against the Chilean tsunami of May 1960 which, being of distant origin, produced destructive waves of long period (World Disaster Report, 2001). However, there is some doubt as to whether this kind of technique would provide complete protection against a tsunami of local origin.


There is no doubt that the impacts of climate change are beginning to manifest on the entire globe and particularly on developing countries that are relatively vulnerable. In Ghana, the situation is not different as the country is also experiencing the effects of climate change. Historical data for Ghana from the year 1961 to 2000 clearly shows a progressive rise in temperature and decrease in mean annual rainfall in all the six agro-ecological zones in the country (UNDP, 2016). Climate change is manifested in Ghana through: (i) rising temperatures, (ii) declining rainfall totals and increased variability, (iii) rising sea levels and (iv) high incidence of weather extremes and disasters. The average annual temperature has increased 1°C in the last 30 years. Based on this data, Minia et al. (2004) estimate that temperature will continue to rise, while rainfall is also predicted to decrease in all agro-ecological zones (Tables 1 and 2). Even though model prediction may not provide actual climate at the projected dates, we know from historical analyses that rainfall in the West African sub-region is associated with high variability which climate change would only amplify. From historical records, temperatures have also risen and are likely to continue in the future. In all agro-ecological zones average annual temperatures are estimated to increase between 0.8°C and 5.4°C for the years 2020 and 2080 respectively. Within the same period average annual rainfall total is estimated to decline by between 1.1%, and 20.5% (UNDP, 2016).

The major challenges in all zones are weather extremes such as flooding, droughts and high temperatures. In the Transitional zone, the projected trends that are most likely to pose the major problem are the early termination of rainfall which is likely to convert the current bi-modal regime to a uni-modal one. Historical analysis by Owusu and Waylen (2008) has indicated that, rainfall variability may be the single largest component of rainfall changes affecting all agro-ecological zones in Ghana. In the Transition zone for instance, the short dry spell (July and August) which is crucial for preparing the land for the second crop is increasingly becoming wetter and the short rainy season terminating early. There is a progression toward a uni-modal regime for the transitional zone with serious consequences for rain-fed agriculture. In the Forest zones, reductions in rainfall are reported (Owusu and Waylen 2009) to be about 20% which is far larger than the 10% reduction in the Transition and Savannah to the north. The major challenge in the forest however, is that the reduction permeates the entire rainfall regime.

Available data shows a sea-level rise of 2.1 mm per year over the last 30 years, with projections of 5.8 cm, 16.5 cm and 34.5 cm by 2020, 2050 and 2080 respectively. Scientists predict a 1 m rise in sea-level globally by 2100. The major challenges in the Coastal zone include coastal erosion and salt water intrusion. The east coast of Ghana is the most affected with whole communities in Ada, Keta, Ningo and Prampram at risk of losing their houses and other infrastructure.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


Theoretical framework according Creswell (2003) is the structure that holds or supports a theory of a research study and also introduces and describes the theory, relating it to the research problem under study. Berg (2007) also asserts that a theoretical framework translates as a ‘system of logical statements or propositions that explains the relationship between two or more objects’. In effect the theoretical framework would help establish the relationship between the variables guiding this work and also shape the direction of the research and the kind of questions to be asked. There are four levels of theory development and these are: Factor isolating (describing the phenomena), Factor relating (explaining phenomena), Situation relating (predict the relationships between/among phenomena) and Situation producing (controlling phenomena and relationships). There are several theories that are used to explain climate change but for the purpose of this study, the theory of change and the anthropocene theory are used. The theory of change normally is a theory that deals with the social change in its entirety. The anthropocene theory also deals with how the world has been impacted by the activities of humans. These two theories are used to explain the impacts of climate change on Blekusu.

2.7.1 The Theory of Change

Theory of Change is a theory that explains the process of change by outlining causal linkages in an initiative, (that is its shorter-term, intermediate, and longer-term outcomes). The theory according to Brest (2010) is a specific type of methodology for planning, participation and evaluation that is used in companies, philanthropy, not-for-profit and government sectors to promote social change. In other words the theory of change defines long-term goals and then maps backward to identify necessary preconditions. According to Clark and Taplin (2012) there is currently no consensus on what exactly constitutes a theory of change, nor is there a set methodology for applying it or consistency about the terms that are used. There are, however, core and common elements. ToC approaches articulate an ultimate ‘big picture’ outcome, and then ‘backwards map’ the steps needed to achieve it. In other words, the stakeholders begin with defining the long-term goal, and work backwards in time up to the present, systematically laying out each step along a ‘causal pathway.’ For each step in the sequence, stakeholders outline clear indicators, thresholds, and assumptions. The end result is usually a diagram (‘change map’), accompanied by a narrative. ToC is also an iterative process; in other words, the strategy would be reviewed regularly and modified to reflect emerging conditions and new knowledge. ToCs can and are tailored to various levels of analysis and intervention. ToCs are not solely reserved for long-term and large-scale planning. They can also be very effective for mapping out community-based and near-term endeavours as well. Indeed, an overall ‘big-picture’ ToC is usually accompanied by one or more additional ToCs that lays out a detailed strategy to achieve the near-term outcomes.

The theory of change is one of the theories that are used to explain climate change. According to Taplin et al. (2016) the theory of change is one of the more robust approaches to designing and evaluating climate change adaptation because the theory is inherently complex, multifaceted and long term-in scope. Tamplin et al. (2016) explains that one of the benefits of working with the theory of change is that it can tie together diverse projects and programs into a coherent and strategic portfolio that enhances linkages across sectors and scales. As climate change approaches are many, the theory of change is flexible enough to allow for projection of climate change to be made and this allows stakeholders to respond to changes in the social, political and natural environment. Again, the theory of change encourages an open dialogue regarding perspectives and values, resulting in a shared vision and stronger relationships with partners and stakeholders. This is crucial for climate adaptation projects which often require trade-offs to be made in terms of who benefits and who bears the cost.

As the theory of change is very flexible, this study uses this theory as a basis to examine the climate change situation at Blekusu and access its impacts on the residents from different facets. The flexibility of the theory creates the platform for the researcher to assess the situation with regards to its causes and managements from different facets.

2.7.2 The Anthropocene Theory

The Anthropocene theory is a theory that suggests that humanity with its activities and growth is having a most potent effect on changing the characteristics of the planet. The term anthropocene refers a geological epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems, including but not limited to anthropogenic climate change. Even though the term refers to a new period in the planet's geological history and therefore to geological time, the term “Anthropocene” was used from its very inception as a measure not of geological time but of the extent of human impact on the planet. According to Foster (2012), the appearance of the Soviet geochemist Vladimir I. Vernadsky's pioneering book, The Biosphere, in 1926 “corresponded to the first introduction of the term Anthropocene (together with Anthropogene) by his colleague, the Soviet geologist Aleksei Pavlov.” (Foster, 2012) From the very beginning, the term referred to the extraordinary scale of human influence on the planet. Foster cites Vernadsky on the subject: “Proceeding from the notion of the geological role of man, the geologist A. P. Pavlov [1854–1929] used to speak of the anthropogenic era, in which we live. The recent revival of the term originates from a conference of Earth system scientists in Mexico where the renowned chemist Paul Crutzen is said to have angrily remarked, “Stop using the word Holocene. We're not in the Holocene any more. We are in the Anthropocene!” (Stefan, 2013)

The term Anthropocene therefore helped focus public attention on the possibility that human beings now so dominated the planet that their collective impact was comparable to those of very large‐scale planetary forces. The paleoclimatologist David Archer clearly saw the term Anthropocene as a rough measure of human impact on Earth processes: “Geologic time periods in the past are generally delineated by major changes in climate or by biological extinctions. Earth's alleged graduation from the Holocene to the Anthropocene is therefore a statement that humankind has become a powerful force in Earth evolution” ( Archer, 2009:23).

In explaining the term Anthropocene in 2011, a good ten years after it had been proposed, Steffen, et al. (2011) reiterated that the “concept of the Anthropocene was introduced to capture this quantitative shift in the relationship between humans and the global environment:” “humankind rivals some of the great forces of Nature in its impact on the functioning of the Earth system,” and has become “a global geological force in its own right” (McNiel, 2000). Talking about a new geological epoch was a way of emphasizing the sheer scale of human impact on the planet.

As the theory of Anthropocene deals with the impact of human activities on the planet that has resulted in its damage, this study uses this theory as a basis to examine how human activities has impacted the climate change situation at Blekusu. The posits of the theory makes it possible for the researcher to have an in-depth meaning into the impacts of climate change and the role played by humans to contribute to the growing effects of it.


Excerpt out of 95 pages


Assessing the impact of climate change in a coastal community. A case study of Blekusu in the Ketu-south Municipality
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
THESIS ASSESSMENT REPORT Name of Candidate: DANIEL AKOTO Narrative on assessment 1. Statement of the problem and justification of study The candidate clearly stated the importance and the implications of the topic adequately. He also justified adequately why the topic was worthy of undertaking. The research questions and objectives were clearly and logically stated. 2. Critical review ofliterature and theoretical and conceptual framework Candidate demonstrated moderate experience in scholarly analysis and criticism of existing research work.
assessing, blekusu, ketu-south, municipality
Quote paper
Daniel Akoto (Author), 2020, Assessing the impact of climate change in a coastal community. A case study of Blekusu in the Ketu-south Municipality, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Assessing the impact of climate change in a coastal community. A case study of Blekusu in the Ketu-south Municipality

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free