Kenya has submitted its new climate action plan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), targeting a 30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Kenya becomes the third country in sub-Saharan Africa, and the 49th party to the UNFCCC, to formally submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) ahead of a new universal climate change agreement, which will be reached at the UN climate conference in Paris, in December this year.
The Paris agreement will come into effect in 2020, empowering all countries to take action on preventing average global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius. Scientists predict that if nothing is done to stem a rise of 2°C in global average temperatures by 2050 – 250 million more people across the globe will be forced to leave their homes. The agreement is also expected to enable countries to reap the many opportunities that arise from a necessary global transformation to clean and sustainable development.
Coinciding with US President Barack Obama’s visit, Kenya’s announcement of its plan on climate action focuses on low carbon, climate resilient development in line with Vision 2030, which seeks to transform Kenya into an industrialised middle income economy by the year 2030.
With the INDCs factoring in both mitigation and adaptation components, it is estimated that over USD 40 billion is required to secure its implementation. Kenya has thus stated it would require climate finance support in order to meet these goals.
According to the INDC document by Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources: “Kenya will require international support in form of finance, investment, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building to fully realize the intended contribution.”
Among the low carbon development mechanisms Kenya has proposed are:
- Expansion in geothermal, solar and wind energy production, other renewables and clean energy options
- Low carbon and efficient transportation systems
- Clean energy technologies to reduce overreliance on wood fuels
Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) in line with the National CSA Framework
- Achieving a tree cover of at least 10% of the land area of Kenya.
With Kenya bearing the brunt of climate change impacts and the associated socio-economic losses, the INDC represents Kenya’s aspiration to increase the resilience to climate change by introducing a comprehensive programme for adaptation action across sectors in support of livelihoods, and economic well-being of the Kenyan people.
In its climate action plan Kenya reiterates the Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) acknowledging the different capacities amongst countries to cope with climate change. The document states:
“Kenya places a high priority on response to climate change. In order to meet the below 2OC objective, all countries will need to undertake mitigation based on the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in accordance with the Convention.”
With the October deadline of INDCs approaching, the global community is looking to those countries yet to communicate their INDCs, so that they are put in a synthesis report by UNFCCC secretariat to be released in November. Kenya’s submission of its INDC and declaration of a 30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions marks a fundamental contribution to the forthcoming landmark agreement in Paris.