Kenya needs USD 18 Billion to implement climate change programmes
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16 August 2016
Author :   Nabongo Kwach
Prof. Judy Wakhungu : >> Image Credits by:Isaiah Esipisu

Kenya needs Sh1.8 trillion (USD 18 Billion) to implement climate change programmes for the remaining period up to 2030, according to the Environment Ministry.

In the short term, the country requires Sh495 billion for the same activities for the next five years.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Prof Judi Wakhungu revealed this when she launched the Kenya Second National Communication Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Nairobi.

Noting that climate change is the most serious environmental challenge facing the world today, the CS said the Government has taken measures to secure the country's development against the risks and impacts of climate change.

"Kenya is highly vulnerable to climate change ad Government is mobilising and leveraging resources to strengthen resilience and abet green house gas emissions. Government has enacted Climate Change Act, 2016 which provides a regulatory framework for enhanced response to achieve low carbon climate resilient development," Ms Wakhungu said.

She added that other policy measures to achieve a green economy are the National Climate Change Action Plan 2013-2017, Climate Change Response Strategy 2010 and Environmental Management and Coordination Act CAP 387.

The CS observed that Government has identified nine areas where urgent mitigation actions should be undertaken using the billions of shillings required.

Among the nine are restoration of forests and degraded lands, developing an additional 2,275 megawatts of geothermal energy, restoration of degraded forests, encouraging Kenyans to use improved cookstoves and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and agroforestry.

Others include bus rapid transit and light rail corridors, develop greenhouse gas inventory and improvement of emissions data, measuring, reporting on and monitoring forestry emissions and sinks and mainstreaming of low-carbon development options into planning processes.

To achieve the above, Government needs to undertake a programme of work to restore forests on 960,000 hectares up to 2030 including dryland forest restoration activities, developing, testing and application of compensation and benefits-sharing mechanisms and develop an additional 2,275 MW of geothermal capacity by 2030 through a support programme aimed at encouraging private sector investment.

The country also needs to undertake a programme of work to replant forests on 240,000 hectares of land that were previously forests, increase awareness of improved cooking practices, undertaking pilot initiatives which promote the use of LPG, increasing awareness of stove quality, increasing access to soft loans, building capacity of stove producers, and improving access to testing facilities.

The report also recommends converting 281,000 hectares of existing arable cropland and grazing land that have medium or high agricultural potential to agroforestry and implement an extensive mass transit system for greater Nairobi, based predominantly on bus rapid transit corridors complemented by a few Light Rail Transit corridors as other mitigation measures.

Others include developing a national forest inventory, forest reference scenario, and a monitoring and reporting system that allows for transparent accounting of emissions and removals in the forestry and land-use sectors.

"Kenya's population projected to reach 17.64 million in 2017, resides in the rural areas and relies predominantly on an ever-degrading environment and scarce natural resources for their livelihoods. However this situation is changing with an increase in rural-urban migration, projected to reach 80.3 persons per km2 by 2017," the CS said.

She said the increase has led to a substantially increased pressure on land for settlement and support for livelihoods. "Despite Government efforts to reverse the poverty situation, in 2012, 49.8 per cent of the total population was living below the poverty line (below 1 USD a day), with the level being higher in rural areas at 55 per cent than in urban areas estimated at 35.5 per cent," Ms Wakhungu said.

The report noted that for the period from 1960, Kenya's temperature trends indicate that hot days per year have increased by 15.6 per cent and cold nights decreased by 4.4 per cent.

"Hot days increase highest in March to May while the rate of cold days is highest in September to November. The rate of decrease of cold nights is highest from December to February," the report notes.

Prof Geoffrey Wahungu, NEMA's Director General said the report will guide the country on how to monitor and implement the recently enacted climate laws and the Paris Agreement on climate change. NEMA together with the Environment ministry were involved in the compiling of the report.

Geordie Colville, senior programme officer at UNEP said UNEP will continue supporting Kenya's efforts towards making the world habitable.

The report noted that in 2000, Kenya's total greenhouse gas emissions were approximately 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Methane gas is named as the second pollutant in the country.

Areas assessed include energy, transport, industrial processes, agriculture, land use, forestry and water sector.

Kenya ratified UNFCCC in 1994. As a party to the Convention, it is obliged to submit national communications to the UNFCCC. Kenya submitted its first report in 2002.

The report assesses the country's situation with regard to national circumstances, greenhouse gas inventory and response to climate change.

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