By Joseph Checky Abuje
Participants at a climate change meeting convened by Kenya Climate Change Working Group (www.kccwg.org) have called for integrated approaches at all levels of governance internationally, nationally, and locally as a measure to mitigate climate change effects, that is giving the world’s sleepless nights.
According to the speakers, there is hope on the horizon, now that the US, the world’s leading economy wants to re-enter the Paris Agreement of 2015 which offers a ray of hope in the fight for emission reduction as well as against the effects of climate.
Wycliffe Amakobe, energy, and climate change expert at the Kenya Climate Change Working Group said for the Paris agreement to realise its objectives, member states ought to give the commitment to strengthen the global response to climate change.
Amakobe reiterated that the agreement can strengthen countries ability to cope with the impacts of climate change and establish resilience through 2050 to 2100
Reduction of global emissions remains a tough assignment for the Paris agreement member states. While giving a keynote speech, His excellency Dr. Wilberforce Ottichilo, Governor of Vihiga County in Kenya noted that the effects of climate change like floods, Forced Migration, and environmental degradation are hard felt at the grassroot level across the world more so in Sub Saharan Africa.
Dr. Otichilo observed that despite the Kenyan government putting up a strong legal framework and policies to govern climate change in Africa, implementation still poses a challenge. He called upon the government to operationalize the Climate Change Act of 2016 on Climate Change Council convenorship that has delayed important executions including climate change fund to be domiciled at the National Treasury.
Governor Ottichilo however challenged all players in the environment sector to strengthen their synergies in the fight against the global crisis of climate change. He recommended that the focus of the fight should be directed at the grassroot level.
Dr. ottichilo encouraged counties to legislate climate change laws targeting 2% of annual County expenditure towards climate response, adding that the National government should work closely with the climate change directorate at the Ministry of Environment.
He noted that in the spirit of unified effort to combat the devastating effects of climate change, financial muscle, technological know-how, and capacity building are key components that are needed to help combat and monitor the predisposing factors of climate change, especially in Africa.
African countries continue to bear the brunt of climate change effects despite its minimal global emissions. Developed countries(G20) – United States, Britain, China among others contribute 80% of the global emissions responsible for global warming. The United States has indicated rejoining of Paris Agreement. Africa is the recipient of the consequences.
Kenya for instance is among the African countries whose geographical area is 85% exposed to floods, drought, and environmental hazards.
As part of the strategy to emission reduction, the government of Kenya has embarked on an elaborate plan of Carbon Credit trading to reduce the rising temperatures. “We are looking forward as a ministry of Environment to having greenhouse gas inventory with a focus to have a 32% emission reduction by 2030” reiterated Dr. Pacifica Ogola, the director of climate change directorate, ministry of environment.
In Kenya, non-State actors like WWF-K, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), and many others have been on the forefront in strengthening the resilience of local communities in their quest to advocate for climate change mitigation and adaptation.