The COP-26 conference in Glasgow provides the ideal opportunity for the global community to take the urgent action needed to increase global ambition and mobilization of climate finance.
The scientific evidence is clear: immediate climate action is needed. No matter where we live, the daily realities of climate change are already with us, with the ongoing drought in arid and semi-arid lands, which constitute over 60% of Kenya’s land mass, being a clear example.
In addition, 70 percent of natural disasters in the country are related to weather conditions, negatively affecting key economic sectors such as agriculture, industry, energy, water and tourism. It goes without saying, therefore, that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, severe and costly and will have an immense impact on Kenya.
Africa contributes only 4% of global CO2 emissions, according to the State of the Climate in Africa report, but remains the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. It is time to act if we want to achieve the noble goal of a zero carbon society, as envisioned six years ago in Paris, when the international community agreed to limit global warming to between 1.5 and 2.0 ° C.
The European Union has been at the forefront of these global efforts, demonstrating through bold and concrete actions that it is possible to decouple growth from CO2 emissions – recording GDP growth of 60 percent since 1990 while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent over the same period. In July this year, the European Commission published the “Fit for 55” legislative package which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, on the road to climate neutrality by 2050 .
Kenya has been a continental and global leader in improving global action on climate change. Its Nationally Determined Contributions set an ambitious target to increase adaptation and resilience, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32% by 2030. Kenya is also implementing establishes an emissions trading system that will allow companies and other organizations to purchase emission allowances.
Perhaps most impressive of all, Kenya is considering setting up a green investment bank to boost investment in public and private projects for renewable energy, energy efficiency, green transport and wastewater treatment. . These actions aimed at greening its economy clearly demonstrate Kenya’s clear commitment and continental leadership in this area.
The EU and Kenya’s commitment to a greener and climate-friendly global economy will underpin future partnerships between the two. However, Kenya and the EU alone cannot have a significant impact, as they represent only 0.8% and 8.0% of global CO2 emissions respectively.
Other countries – even the most reluctant – must also rise to the challenge, get involved and support their commitments with concrete actions. Kenya and the EU are working together to inspire other countries to join the path of climate neutrality and a cleaner, safer and more sustainable environment. Thanks to bilateral cooperation and international mechanisms such as the UN Environment, we hope to win others in the same way that Japan, the United States, South Korea or even China have been convinced to engage climate neutrality by 2050 two years ago.
The COP-26 conference in Glasgow provides the ideal opportunity for the global community to take the urgent action needed to increase global ambition and mobilization of climate finance. This is the last opportunity to get the world back on track. The future of our planet and the extent of the damage caused by climate change is really in our hands. We have the opportunity to rebuild better and more ecologically after the Covid-19 pandemic, if we make the right and difficult decisions at COP26.
The EU and Kenya remain cognizant of the significant financial resources required to improve adaptation and mitigation of climate change risks. The level of funding available is insufficient to meet the needs and ambitions of developing countries, which are most exposed to these risks. Developed countries have pledged $ 100 billion in climate finance, and the EU has released € 22 billion in 2019 as a contribution to this effort. We call on other nations to honor their commitments as well.
The EU and Kenya are changing their investment policies to make them greener, with particular emphasis on the rapidly growing global green bond market, with low representation from Africa. We will work together on the instruments and standards to make this possible. To illustrate this joint action, Kenya and the European Union jointly organized on November 4, 2021 “Opportunities and challenges of sustainable green finance: the case of Kenya” as a virtual side event at COP-26 to present the Kenya’s experience as an example for Africa and the world community from which valuable lessons are learned.
Mr. Yatani is Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury and Planning. Ms Geiger is the EU Ambassador to Kenya