Friday, November 6, 2015

Action2015 -Kenya faults Kenya's INDC ahead of Paris Climate Conference

WS||Luke Kapchanga

Kenya's Inteded Nationally   Determined Contributions requires more information than presented.

Kenya submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)   to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), ahead of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris.
By the Conference of the Parties (COP20) in Lima, Parties are to agree what up-front information should be provided for clear, transparent and understandable contributions.

To start with, the Kenya INDC has no theme and does not associate the Kenyan people with their historically and traditionally co-existence with nature.
Our cultural heritage and lifestyle practices are closely linked to mother earth; thus mitigation efforts has to be geared towards enabling people to live in harmony with nature by harnessing its potential for the benefit of mankind in future.

The INDC has not set targets to lower the emissions intensity of GDP, nor increase the share of non-fossil based power generation capacity by a given % of installed power capacity in relation to the baseline.

National Circumstance

Kenya is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with 80% of its land mass being arid and semi-arid (ASAL) with poor infrastructure and development challenges.

The INDCs says, Kenya’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are relatively low, standing at 73MtCo2e by 2010.  Most of the GHG emissions came from agriculture, but goes on to say that there is increase in emissions from the energy sector. 

There is no information to account for the country’s % of world’s surface area, its population, [and] proportion of the poor, population without access to electricity, population without access to safe drinking water.

The average annual energy consumption in the country recorded, and the required energy availability to propel the country achieve industrialized middle income, and the likely negative impact associated with consumption and production.

The GHG emissions by sector for 1994 at the UNFCCC ,shows accounting for agriculture was 56.37%, energy 37.54%, industrial process 4.61%,  waste 1.49%, solvents 0.00% and others 0.00%.

Article 4, paragraph 1(a) and Article 12, paragraph 1(a) of the Convention, Parties are required to provide information on their national inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHG.

There is an inefficient and wasteful production system leading to unsustainable utilization of natural resources resulting in their degradation in the country.

Further, the poor enforcement of policies and regulations governing production and marketing hinder economic growth and the attainment of its optimal performance.

The environment sector has a number of challenges which include; frequent droughts, natural

disasters, acute water shortages, climate change and variability, loss of biodiversity and poor waste
TWS:Nick Waigwa
management systems. This has resulted in land degradation and loss of forest cover which currently stands at a mere 1.7 per cent of the total territorial surface area falling far below the globally recommended 10 per cent minimum cover.

Moreover, about 88 per cent of the country’s total surface area is comprised of ASALs while desertification is on the rise as a result of fragility of the ecosystems. Negative impacts on the environment have been as a result of the robust industrial development experienced in the country over the last four decades. This has resulted in increased waste generation leading to unsustainable waste management practices.

With the anticipated growth to achieve Vision 2030, the resultant development will be that of rapid urbanization as a dominant trend, the shift will increase demand for urban amenities such as housing, energy, transport, water and waste disposal.

The INDC should have taken a cue from the RIO+20 Conference, which declared that, “SDGs should be action –oriented, concise and easy to communicate and aspirational”, so that tracking is possible.

Kenya aims to achieve a low carbon climate resilient development pathway, by implementing the National Climate Change Action Plan (2013-2017).

It talks of promotion of expansion of geothermal, solar & wind energy production and other renewable.
The INDC states that Kenya seeks to abate its emissions by 30% by 2030, relative to Business As Usual (BAU) scenario of 143MtCo2eq.

Taking energy as a vital component of production and growth, it would be better to know the energy intensity of the economy decreasing or increasing in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Promotion of clean energy should be presented in form of % increase vis fossil fuel usage. Enhancing energy efficiency has to aim to strengthen market and a conducive regulatory policy regime, generation capacity addition, targeting a given % of energy consumption by a given year.

The INDC is part of the accounting framework for the post-2020 mitigation contributions, whose four key areas are ;- understanding and accounting for non-GHG and multiple contributions; minimizing double countin[g]; accounting for GHG impacts of actions taken in the land sector and ; the timing of decisions on accounting issues.

So the pre-2020 period information guidance has to;
(a) Ensure clarity and transparency 
(b) Provide information on expected national emissions levels for the post-2020,
(c) Provide information on expected national GHG emissions reductions for the post-2020 period,
(D) Provide information on expected long-term transformational impacts.

These availed information is to be the basis for tracking progress in implementation of mitigation contributions and actual GHG emissions reductions to be achieved in the post-2020.

This includes; (a) track progress towards contributions, (b) provide information on actual national GHG emissions levels, (c) provide information on actual national GHG emissions reductions achieved,
 (d) Provide updated information on expected long-term transformational impacts.

The INDC has a chart for information to facilitate clarity, transparency and understanding, which provides for an implementation framework for 2030.

But the chart lacks information compared to the accounting for GHG framed mitigation contributions for pre-2020 upfront information that requires that; headline number, contribution type, and time frame;  base year or baseline; scope of sectors and coverage  of gases; treatment of the land sector , and expected transfers of GHG units and/ or mitigation outcomes.

For the post-2020 tracking what is required is GHG inventories, accounting for emissions and removals from the land sector; and actual International transfers of GHG units via market mechanisms or mitigation outcomes via market approaches.  Canadian artistes use satire to push for policy change

Kenya's Progress in Combating Climate Change

The country’s efforts in combating climate change is demonstrated in having a National climate change Response Strategy (2010), National climate change Action Plan (2013) , Climate change Bill(2014), National Action Plan (NAP), and National climate change  Framework Policy and legislation in its final stages of enactment.

Yet the on going strategies and actions on mitigation and adaptation, lack meaningful detail on the targeted activities.

Adaptation strategies are important for development process. The adverse impacts of climate change on the developmental prospects, plus the widespread poverty and over dependence on climate sensitive sectors for livelihoods calls for immediate action.

The expenditure on programmes with critical components have to be quantified in terms of GDP increases, and sectors outlined clearly.

Fairness and Ambition

Kenya as a developing country will only meet its obligations under the convention depending on the level of support in terms of finance, technology and capacity building available. .

TWS:Nick Waigwa
Climate finance remains a highly controversial and complex issue on the Paris agenda. _there is no commonly agreed definition for the mobilization of climate funds. In the current economic situation, most industrialized countries are unwilling to approve a significant increase in governmental funding and they stress the importance of private sector funding.

The country is not alone, most developing countries lack sufficient financial and technical capacities to manage increasing climate risk. Climate change is costly, whatever the policy chosen, spending less on mitigation will mean spending more on adaptation and accepting greater damage.


The INDC on planning, process takes cognizance of the Climate Change Bill (2014) that proposes several institutional reforms to enhance coordination of climate change adaptation and mitigation. 

These include the establishment of:   A high level National Climate Change Council chaired by the President, and Kenya Climate Fund to be a financing mechanism for priority climate change actions and interventions approved by the Council.

As Action2015/Kenya our proposal to the senate committee on Environment during public participation presentation of views on the Bill, we affirmed our opposition for the president chairing the council.

Having the president to chair the National Climate Change council is more of a political statement to woo donor funding, but there is no mechanism to justify implementation of mitigation and adaptation activities.

We also proposed that the bill sets aside a given percentage of the GDP as the core source of funding of the climate fund.

Otherwise the Climate Change Bill (2014) is not actionable, but a law to be in place to attract climate funding, whose tracking is not neither possible nor easy.


Adaptation finance tracking requires information on sector, potential impacts and response activity.

Causes of climate change such as air pollution, water pollution, waste production, pollution from fossil fuels, mining, increase in carbon dioxide- soil erosion, extinction of species, faulty consumption patterns, housing and food security issues and over use of resources, have to be clear.

The price of climate induced loss and damage is already being felt in developing countries. When damage happens, infliction is said to be huge, with most people losing crops.

Africa’s Adaptation Gap report 2, estimates that loss and damage will cost twice as much as adaptation across Africa.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), underscores that climate change exacerbates threats, making delivering on Sustainable  Development Goals (SDGs), agenda more difficult because of reversing positive, trends, new uncertainties or mounting costs of resilience.

The Road to Dignity by 2030 notes that the threats that face us, and new opportunities that present themselves, demands a high level of ambition and truly participatory responsive and transformational course of action.

Developing and implementing an appropriate national system for Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) has challenges: - in policy tracking, national GHG inventories and air quality measurements.

The accounting framework for post-2020 mitigation contributions from countries calls for clear and transparent contributions; provide information on expected national GHG emissions; reduction period, and information on expected long-term transformational impacts.

As countries embark on MRV activities due to a range of drivers, which include the design and evaluation of policies. It is important to track activities of national targets, policies or projects by civil society.

Why Accounting Matters

The 2015 agreement to be adopted at COP21 in Paris is expected to combine nationally determined mitigation contributions with internationally agreed elements.

TWS:Nick Waigwa
GHG inventories based on IPCC methodologies are and will remain the foundation of emissions accounting in the context of the UNFCCC.

Building on national GHG inventories, the accounting framework have to provide sufficient information so that intended mitigation contributions can be understood before 2020.

Understanding of Intended mitigation contributions and their expected GHG, impacts is important to build mutual trust and increase confidence that the proposed INDCs are meaningful and equitable.

Tracking implementation of mitigation contributions in the post 2020- will help show that parties are following through on their intentions and enhance understanding of actual GHG emissions.

Thus this demands that, we must act now, because what we do today determines both the climate of tomorrow and the choices that shape our future.

We must act together, because climate change is a crisis of the commons, and we must act differently, because we cannot plan for the future based on the climate of the past, says the world development report 2010.

As Achim Steiner, UN Under Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director in foreword to the Emissions Gap Report 2014, put it, 
The risks of inaction are too high to be ignored, and the effects of global warming can already be felt in many aspects of human life.Further to the Copenhagen Accord of 2009 and the Cancun agreements of 2010, over 90 countries have made voluntary pledges and commitments toward cutting their emission levels. However, despite these and related efforts, current pledges and commitments are not sufficient to keep the average rise in global temperature below 2° Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels: the associated “gap” in required emission reductions is growing, not closing. The conclusions of the report are a stark reminder that, to meet the goals of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, consistent and decisive action is required without any further delay.”
Therefore the Kenyan INDC does not reflect the reality of the range of actions the country is planning to undertake.

It fails to enable the public to appreciate the scale of the challenge faced by the country in its overall planned actions/intended contributions

It has not prioritized its intended actions, in the context of limited financial, technical and human re-sources, and that thus there will be a different mixture or combination of types of actions/contributions (mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, other sustainable development), depending on the level of resources available.

It does not show the level of external resources required if the country is to attain certain levels of actions in the various categories of actions/contributions.

Luke Kapchanga is the Bungoma County Coordinator, Action/2015 –Kenya, SDG Implementing Committee. Get in touch with him on 0733998526 email:  

U.S. Government urges citizens to exercise caution during UN conference on Climate Change in Paris, France.

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