Kenya and the United Kingdom have entered into an agreement to combat climate change, even as Kenya was challenged to take on higher nationally determined contributions (NDCs) as a leader in the region, ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow-UK.
At an event to sign the commitment on Tuesday in Nairobi, the UK announced $11 million support to Kenya for new climate initiatives as part of the UK Pact Green Recovery Challenge Fund for projects meant to help countries accelerate their low-carbon transition.
The UK said it was doubling its international climate finance to $15.4 over the next five years.
Kenya, a sustainable development powerhouse with an ambitious NDC target to reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, had in earlier negotiations with UN Development Programme led by Resident Representative Walid Badawi, been challenged to set higher targets.
NDCs embody efforts by countries to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change to deliver the Paris Agreement — keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C.
The 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission, projects more pronounced warming across Africa.
But even as Kenya was being pushed to take higher ambition, the PS for Environment and Forestry, Chris Kiptoo said it was unfair that least developed countries who are the least contributors of global carbon emissions face the biggest cost in terms of adaptation.
Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, said Kenya submitted her NDCs November 28, 2016, setting out adaptation and mitigation contribution based on conditional support. The mitigation contribution intends to abate greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 relative to the status quo.
They are being implemented through the National Climate Change Action Plan under seven priority areas: disaster risk management, food and nutrition security, water and the blue economy, forestry, wildlife and tourism, health-sanitation and human settlements.
According to Mr Tobiko, despite the NDCs being conditional to international support most of the progress Kenya has made is from domestic resources and partly from loans.
He said Kenya was in the process of updating her NDCs, a process delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. “But we are on track to submitting an updated NDC before yearend. Our priority continues to remain adaptation.”
“We can only announce our commitment after the NDC update of the technical report we cannot commit at this stage,” said Mr Kiptoo.
At least 70 per cent of Kenya’s greenhouse gas emission is from land-based activities like deforestation, mainly due to expansion of agricultural land high dependence on wood fuel.