Kenya leads the pack in turn­ing the tide against cli­mate change

Nairobi is im­ple­ment­ing smart agri­cul­ture strat­egy that seeks to re­duce car­bon emis­sions

The East African - - OUTLOOK -

By ZEYNAB WANDATI

As dis­il­lu­sioned Kenyan sug­ar­cane farm­ers seek other lu­cra­tive ac­tiv­i­ties, the Cli­mate Fi­nance Unit in the Na­tional Trea­sury says it is look­ing for funds to make the crop cli­mate re­silient crop.

“This is part of the cli­mate smart agri­cul­ture strat­egy that Kenya has adopted,” said Peter Od­hengo, a se­nior pol­icy an­a­lyst of cli­mate fi­nance at the Na­tional Trea­sury.

Kenya is among the first coun­tries to de­sign and im­ple­ment a cli­mate smart agri­cul­ture strat­egy. The ini­tial phase of the project in­volves a $230 mil­lion pro­gramme fo­cus­ing on 23 coun­ties in arid and semi-arid lands. This project is be­ing funded by var­i­ous de­vel­op­ment part­ners, among them the World Bank.

Cli­mate proof­ing economies was one of the top­ics at the 24th United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change in Ka­tow­ice, Poland.

“We are here to make our voice heard. We want to get the rich coun­tries to com­mit to in­crease fund­ing for build­ing re­silience in vul­ner­a­ble coun­tries such as Kenya,” said Mr Od­hengo.

“Coun­tries such as Kenya have cli­mate change laws and poli­cies, the only such laws on the whole con­ti­nent. Our job now is how to en­sure that we lever­age these poli­cies to en­sure that the peo­ple most af­fected by the im­pact of cli­mate change are ad­e­quately com­pen­sated for their losses,” said Mithika Mwenda, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Pan African Cli­mate Jus­tice Al­liance.

It is not clear how much money Kenya needs to cli­mate proof its econ­omy, but, ac­cord­ing to Mr Od­hengo, “it is so much that the gov­ern­ment alone can­not fi­nance it.”

“If you look at the Na­tional Cli­mate Ac­tion Plan 2018-2022, it is tril­lions of shillings, while the the first cli­mate change assess­ment re­port of 1998 quotes Ksh1.5 tril­lion ($15 bil­lion) over a 10-year pe­riod,” said Mr Od­hengo.

In 2010, the global fund — Green Cli­mate Fund was set up to help coun­tries such as Kenya go green. In or­der to man­age the money from a fund such as this, Kenya cre­ated a Cli­mate Fi­nance Unit in the Na­tional Trea­sury.

“We have started track­ing cli­mate fi­nance flows, where it goes, and who han­dles it while mea­sur­ing the im­pact us­ing sim­ple tools such as the num­bers of live­stock that can with­stand cli­mate shocks and the amount in­fra­struc­ture that was de­stroyed by harsh weather,” added Mr Od­hengo.

In the past five years, the Green Cli­mate Fund has dis­bursed more than $500 mil­lion to Kenya, some of which came from the World Bank Cli­mate In­vest­ment Fund. Among the projects funded are geother­mal power and M-kopa So­lar.

In Fe­bru­ary, Kenya, through Ses­sional Pa­per No. 3 on Na­tional Cli­mate Fi­nance Pol­icy, pro­vided guide­lines for the use of money in­tended for cli­mate-proof­ing of the econ­omy. Kenya is the first coun­try in the world with such a pol­icy. In July, Mex­ico and some Caribbean coun­tries reached out to Kenya for help in de­sign­ing such a pol­icy.

The GCF re­quires ben­e­fi­cia­ries to put in place strict trace­abil­ity mech­a­nisms that will en­sure the money goes where is in­tended.

“There is what is called a de­liv­ery part­ner. The money doesn't go di­rectly into the hands of any cor­rupt in­di­vid­ual. This ac­cred­ited en­tity is mon­i­tored by the na­tional gov­ern­ment to 1.5°C above pre-in­dus­tral­i­sa­tion level.

Ac­cord­ing to the Global Car­bon Project, emis­sions have con­tin­ued to rise since 2015 and are pro­jected to con­tinue in 2018, by more than 2 per cent to hit a new record, mainly due to sus­tained growth in oil and gas use.

This growth in global CO2 emis­sions puts the goals set out in the Paris Agree­ment in jeop­ardy. Ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change to limit warm­ing be­low 1.5°C, car­bon emis­sions should de­cline by 50 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero around 2050. Cur­rent coun­try com­mit­ments lead to +3°C of warm­ing, well above the Paris Agree­ment goals.

Global fos­sil car­bon emis­sions — fos­sil fu­els, in­dus­try and ce­ment — grew at over three per cent per year in the 2000s, but growth has slowed since 2010, and from 2014 to 2016 emis­sions re­mained rel­a­tively flat.

How­ever, the cli­mate pledges cur­rently tabled by coun­tries — Na­tion­ally De­ter­mined Con­tri­bu­tions (NDCS) — are still viewed as not good enough, be­cause they will re­sult in global tem­per­a­tures rises of be­tween 2.7°C and3.5°c. Africa says this will be cat­a­strophic for its coun­tries be­cause it will mean more droughts and floods.

Kenya's cli­mate pledge is an eight­page doc­u­ment that is pegged on the Cli­mate Change Act of 2015, which seeks to cut the coun­try's emis­sions by up to 30per cent by 2030. Kenya hopes to achieve this through re­for­esta­tion ac­tiv­i­ties and cli­mate proof­ing the agri­cul­ture sec­tor.

Pic­ture: File

Work­ers load bags of green tea leaf at the Ki­tumbe Ae­rial Rope Way Con­veyance Tech­nol­ogy in Keri­cho, which has re­duced car­bon emis­sions.

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