Kenya needs $ 62bn (£ 46bn) to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis over the next 10 years, according to a government document sent to the UN framework convention on climate change. It is equivalent to almost 67% of GDP.
the report illustrates the scale of the challenge, as the country aims to reduce greenhouse gases by 32% in the next decade. It will depend on international sources to finance about 90% of the spending. Securing such a colossal amount of often controversial climate finance from rich countries that have yet to meet their commitments to the $ 100 billion target pledged during the 2015 Paris agreement will be a difficult task.
Kenya accounts for less than 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions and has a per capita emission less than half the world average. But low-emission countries like Kenya are the hardest hit by climate change and ill-equipped to respond effectively or build resilience to key threats like drought and floods.
For example, a 2011 drought in Kenya it caused damage estimated at $ 11 billion, while another in 2014-18 left 3.4 million people food insecure and half a million without access to water. In 2018, floods displaced 230,000 people in Kenya, including 150,000 children, drowned 20,000 head of livestock and led to the closure of 700 schools.
The country also lost 8,500 hectares (21,000 acres) of crops in a country where 84% of the land is “arid and semi-arid, with poor infrastructure and other development challenges, leaving less than 16% of the land to support more than 80 % “. of the population. “Such losses, the document says, continue to reduce the country’s GDP by 3-5%.
Food security, the report warns, will worsen because Kenyan farmers are almost entirely dependent on the climate. Also, major rivers are seeing reduced flow as glaciers on the country’s largest water tower, Mount Kenya, shrink. They have already dropped to 17% of their original size and will disappear in 30 years, the report says.
Irregular rains have hampered hydroelectric generation and forced Kenya to consider mining 400 million tonnes of coal reserves with proposals to build two power plants: one with local coal and the other with imported coal. The supply of cheap fuel will have negative environmental and social impacts.
The report says: “The use of coal is accompanied by strong environmental impacts, such as high emissions of sulfur dioxide, heavy metals and harmful greenhouse gases. Therefore, the country is faced with a choice between exploiting its fossil fuel resources to achieve its development goals and renouncing its exploitation for environmental reasons. To renounce the full benefits of exploiting fossil fuel resources, Kenya will need significant international support. “
The climate crisis is also having an impact on national security with the fight for scarce natural resources leading to violent conflicts. The report says: “The increasing intensity and magnitude of climate-related risks in Kenya exacerbate conflicts, mainly over natural resources. This has often forced the country to reallocate development resources to address climate-related emergencies. “
Investigation from Imperial College Business School and Soas University of London to the UN in 2018 showed how developing countries lack the resources to stem the tide of the climate crisis, and a lack of resilience and mitigation measures leads them to unsustainable debt .
“For every $ 10 paid in interest by developing countries, an additional dollar will be spent due to climate vulnerability. This financial burden exacerbates the current economic challenges of the poorest countries. The magnitude of this burden will at least double over the next decade, ”the research results affirm.
Kenya, member of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, has seen in recent years debt at critical levels with a November economic upgrade from the World Bank, which shows an increase in debt to GDP from 62.4% of GDP in June 2019 to 65.6% in June 2020.
Without affordable climate finance, the climate change convention says that any investments in these countries it will have to take into account the risks of climate vulnerability with a corresponding increase in debt payments.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism