Energy security and climate change adaptation in rural communities

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Energy of all kinds stimulates the quality of rural life and is an integral part of sustainable development. In most rural areas, and especially in Sub-Sahara Africa, the dominant energy used for cooking and other domestic energy needs is wood-based biomass. With the rise of the unprecedented effects of climate change, continual dependence on the wood-base energy sources become threatened since they are affected by a slight change in the climate. The purpose of this study was to investigate into sustainable energy and climate change in rural communities. The study aimed at identifying the relationship between rural energy forms and climate change and finally, to find out a way in measuring sustainable energy amidst climate change. Cross-sectional and prospective study designs with a combination of probability and non-probability sampling techniques were used. Ninety rural households were selected from the Nzema East Municipal Area in addition to 25 industries and 10 local energy suppliers for interviews and interactions. Results from the study showed that, fuel wood and charcoal consumption was directly linked to family size with r = 0.77. Carbon emissions, calculated at a significant level of 0.05, show how rural energy was contributing to climate change. Again, current rural energy system was more likely not sustainable based on the use of the 'AAARE-ST' models. As a result, it was recommended that wood lot plantations be increased and encouraged in the short-run in order to start off-setting increasing resource depletion and also a decentralized Ministry of Energy is recommended in the long-run as well as changing rural preference from wood-based biomass to modern ones. The principal conclusion was that, though the study has revealed a number of key outcomes in sustainable rural energy and climate change, a number of research gaps still exist and the study was unable to use adequate test statistic to establish the nature of the relationship between rural energy forms and climate change.
A thesis Submitted to the Department of Planning,Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasiin partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy (Mphil) Planning.