INDCs: Kenya hinges 30% emissions cut by 2030 on ‘conditions’

President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta
President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta

By Esther Opaluwah

Kenya has submitted its new climate action plan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Kenyan Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), dated 23rd of July 2015 comes well in advance of a new universal climate change agreement which will be reached at the UN climate conference in Paris, in December this year.

With a pledge to cut emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 against business-as-usual levels, Kenya’s INDC seeks to accelerate the rollout of a range of climate mitigation and adaptation measures, including plans to expand geothermal, solar and wind energy capacity, achieve 10 per cent tree cover across the country, reduce reliance on wood fuels, and deliver more sustainable transport, agriculture and waste management systems.

The document expressly states that “Kenya, like other countries in the region, is bearing the brunt of climate change impacts and the associated socioeconomic losses.” “The situation is exacerbated by the high dependence on climate-sensitive natural resources… Climate hazards have caused considerable losses across the country’s different sectors over the years. The main climate hazards include droughts and floods which cause economic losses estimated at three per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).”

According to the latest INDC received by the UNFCCC, Kenya’s emissions are “relatively low” hence the commitment to cut emissions below the business-as-usual pathway is “subject to international support in the form of finance, investment, technology development and transfer, and capacity building”. It also notes that its business-as-usual calculations exclude future exploitation in the extractive sector.

The Republic of Kenya is the 49th party to the UNFCCC to have formally submitted its INDCs and the third country in Africa to do so after Gabon and Ethiopia.

The Paris agreement will come into effect in 2020, empowering all countries to act to prevent average global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius and to reap the many opportunities that arise from a necessary global transformation to clean and sustainable development.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres urged countries to come forward with their INDCs as soon as they are able, underlining their commitment and support towards this successful outcome in Paris. Governments agreed to submit their INDCs in advance of Paris.

Countries have agreed that there will be no back-tracking in these national climate plans, meaning that the level of ambition to reduce emissions will increase over time.

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