EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Sh6.2 trillion needed for climate change impacts, PS says

Argues most developed countries have an obligation to support Kenya because they produce greater emissions.

In Summary
  • Kenya is responsible for less than 0.1 per cent of all global emissions yet bears great impact.
  • In the short term, a total of Sh2.9 billion is needed to address the crisis.
Environment PS Chris Kiptoo during a press briefing on February 16
Environment PS Chris Kiptoo during a press briefing on February 16
Image: WILFRED NYANGARESI

The government needs at least 6.2 trillion to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change until 2030.

Environment PS Chris Kiptoo said some Sh1.8 trillion is needed for mitigation.

The government alone will, however, not raise all that is needed to mitigate.

"We require Sh4.4 trillion for adaptation. We can only raise 10 per cent if other factors remain constant," Kiptoo said.

"We expect the UN and others to support us to make sure we raise this money internationally. Ninety per cent will have to be sourced internationally."

In an exclusive interview with the Star in his office on Friday, the PS said most developed countries have an obligation to support Kenya because they produce greater emissions.

"Kenya is responsible for less than 0.1 per cent of all global emissions yet we bear the greatest impact manifested, for instance, in rising water," he said.

The water levels in the Rift Valley lakes and Lake Victoria have been rising since 2010, submerging nearby areas, farmlands, infrastructure and causing a humanitarian crisis.

It has adversely affected property owners, communities, biodiversity and wildlife.

The state has already reached out to donors for support. In the short term, a total of Sh2.9 billion is needed to address the crisis.

Billions of shillings are needed to address the long-term effects of the problem.

This includes catchment restoration, desilting and opening of blocked watercourses, river training, relocations, construction of damaged infrastructure and social amenities.

Other activities to be done are comprehensive study, water resource monitoring and the establishment of high and lowest watermarks.

Kiptoo said the international community will be rallied during the United Nations Environment Assembly that starts today.

"We will focus on climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution control. When we talk about climate change, we want to make sure that we all subscribe to the Paris Agreement," he said.

The agreement makes it clear that developed countries should fulfill their annual pledge of Sh10.1 trillion to support mitigation and adaptation to climate change in developing nations.

"All of us are committed to the agreement. When it comes to climate change, Kenya requires a lot of resources to mitigate and adapt to climate change. That requires a lot of collaboration because our resources are fewer and we shall expect to use international finance and other options like technologies that will help us to raise funds to mitigate and adapt to climate change," Kiptoo said.

Kiptoo said the government looks forward to various outcomes from the United Nations Environment Assembly.

The fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) will be held virtually on February 22-23. The in-person session will be held in Nairobi in February next year.

The assembly is the world’s highest decision-making organ on the environment and enjoys the universal membership of all 193 UN member states.

The theme for the virtual and in-person sessions is, Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Kiptoo said Kenya has set programmes for mitigation. He cited agriculture, energy and transport as some of the sectors with potential.

The PS said there is a need to embrace new technologies like electric vehicles to curb pollution.

He said the government is also committed to rehabilitate and restore forests in the country.

Kiptoo said UNEA-5 will provide a platform to exchange views around how climate change can be tackled.

The PS said the ban on plastics has largely succeeded. Kenya banned the use of single-use carrier bags in February 2017. The ban went into effect on August 28 that year.

But on February 1, National Environment Management Authority director-general Mamo Mamo warned that the banned plastics were slowly coming back into the country, hence heightened surveillance was necessary. 

Being found with plastics in Kenya attracts a fine of Sh2 million to Sh4 million or a jail term of one to two years, or both.

Kiptoo said the government will be seeking an international decision on how all countries can commit to the ban.

"We have challenges in the black market. This is the reason we are seeing the proliferation of banned plastics. We are going to focus on law enforcement and education and awareness. When people know and they are aware, they will voluntarily comply, "he said.

Edited by Henry Makori