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Kenya loses 5% of its GDP to climate change annually – PS

Kenya is losing 5% of its gross domestic product to the impacts of climate change including cyclic droughts and floods annually. The Principal Secretary for Environment and Climate Change Eng. Festus Ng’eno says the loss to GDP is a clear indication that climate change is manifesting itself in all sectors of the economy.

Speaking at the opening of a training workshop for Climate Change Units drawn from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) held in Naivasha, Eng. Ng’eno said that Kenya is experiencing cyclic droughts and floods that are impacting the country’s economic agenda.

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The Principal Secretary noted that already the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings show that the globe is becoming warmer than usual, an indication of global warming hence the need to put in place measures that increase the coping ability and reduce vulnerability.

“The World Meteorological Organization (WMO)’s ‘The State of the Global Climate 2021”, seven of the warmest years have all been since 2015 and Global average temperature rise has reached 1.1 degrees Celsius, since pre industrial times with WMO declaring 2023 the warmest year beating all previous records,” said the Principal Secretary and added that, “We are seeing similar trends unfolding this year with the month of February 2024 being the hottest ever so far.”

The Principal Secretary noted that the situation is further compounded by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report released last year which shows continued increase in greenhouse gasses concentrations in the atmosphere and a projected increase in global average temperatures “with dire consequences especially to the most vulnerable communities.”

Eng. Ng’eno said that all sectors have been adversely impacted by the effects of climate change and hampering effective delivery of the mandates of all State Departments in government, adding that floods have cut off schools and displaced pupils, the destruction of roads and other critical infrastructures by floods have rendered roads impassable, “the escalation of insecurity due to competition for scarce resources like water and pasture during droughts, the emergence of vector borne diseases where they never used to exists as a result of warmer temperatures and excess precipitation, the flooding of hotels by rising lake levels, as well as mass deaths of wildlife during droughts are some of the impacts.”

The Principal Secretary further explained that owing to the cross-cutting nature of climate change impacts, the Ministry of Environment, climate Change and Forestry has adopted an all inclusive approach to ensure that climate risks are “adequately integrated into our planning, strategies, policies, decisions, and implementation,” he said and added that, “in order to effectively address climate change, you need basic understanding of climate change and how it affects your sectors,” he told the representatives from MDAs.

The drafters of the Climate Change Act, 2016, underscored the importance of all Ministries, Counties, Departments and Agencies of government having CCUs in order to help mainstream climate change across the government sectors, he said noting that Kenya has submitted its updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) with an increased ambition of 32% from 30% emission reduction target, “and has finalized its Long Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy up to 2050 outlining long term ambition towards net zero target.”

Eng. Ng’eno further disclosed that the amended Climate Change Act, 2023 now includes carbon markets which is one of the innovative mechanism for enhancing green climate finance.

Among programs, Kenya has initiated in tackling climate change impacts is the development of low carbon climate resilient development which include; restoration of 5.1 Million Hectares of degraded landscapes under the AFR100 and achieving Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030 under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

“Kenya has committed to an ambitious goal to restore and conserve 10.6 million hectares of degraded landscapes and ecosystems with the target of planting and nurturing 15 billion trees by 2032,” said Eng. Ng’eno during the training of the first cohort of officers drawn from the various MDAs.

Judith Akolo
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