Getting Kenya on the right track to address climate change

Tom Owino, ClimateCare

On 28th July 2016, the Government of Kenya launched its 2nd National Communication to the UNFCCC. The report highlights the climate change challenges faced by the country and sets out its strategy for adaption, climate resilience and low carbon development – highlighting the importance of managing climate risk in order to secure long term development goals.

Kenya’s national GHG emissions are historically low in comparison to global emissions -just 55 million tonnes in 2000. However, in a ‘business as usual’ scenario, the report predicts that these will increase by nearly threefold to 142 million tonnes by 2030 Kenya is itself vulnerable to climate change. Its annual average temperature has already increased by more than 1 degree Celsius since 1960 and the country is expected to get hotter and wetter, with associated negative impacts on food, security, human health, the economy and biodiversity. The report highlights the extent of the Climate Change threat, explaining that it may not only affect future development, but that without action, it could reverse the development already realised.

Kenya_National_CommunicationTo counter this, the report recommends mainstreaming climate change into the national development planning process, ensuring that adequate adaptation and resilience is built in to cushion vulnerable communities against present and future climate change. It also recommends that Kenya joins the global community in mitigating climate change, moving to a focus on low carbon economic development.

The report analyses options for low carbon development and puts forward priority actions, big wins, that are expected to have a significant impact on sustainable socio-economic development, adaptation and mitigation in Kenya. They include:

 

  • Restoration of forests on degraded lands and reforestation of degraded forests
  • Geothermal Power Generation
  • Climate smart agriculture and agroforestry
  • Improved cookstoves
  • Mass rapid transit system in Nairobi

The report also highlights priority technologies that can make a difference. Many have been deployed in Kenya, but are limited by barriers including high costs, weak policies, lack of standards and limited information and awareness. The key technologies are:

  • Solar home systems
  • Solar dryers
  • Bio digesters
  • Drought resistant sorghum
  • Roof-surface water harvesting
  • Drip irrigation

To overcome identified barriers to change, the report suggests the use of strategic partnerships to fill finance, technology, skills and knowledge gaps.

With these changes in place the report concludes that Kenya will be on the right track to addressing climate change through adaptation, resilience building and low carbon development, and to reaching its ‘Vision 2030’.

Read the executive summary.

Read the full report.

ClimateCare’s Tom Owino led the team who prepared the second national communication to the UNFCCC for Kenya.

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