Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kibaki seeks financial support over climate change

African Parliamentarians at the second African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Change at the UN headquarters in Gigiri on Tuesday.  Photo/JENNIFER MUIRURI (NAIROBI)

African Parliamentarians at the second African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Change at the UN headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi on Tuesday. Photo/JENNIFER MUIRURI 

By DAVE OPIYO

Kenya's President Kibaki on Tuesday asked industrialised countries offer 'adequate financial support’ to their developing counterparts to enable them deal effectively with climate change.

The President further urged the countries to ensure that they made “rapid cuts’’ in their green house gas emissions as the global war against climate change is stepped up.

“Reducing carbon emissions through our policies and daily is not a matter of choice; it is but an obligation,” said the President while officially opening the Second African Parliamentarian summit on Climate Change in Nairobi on Tuesday.

He went on: “They must also take up their responsibilities and provide new and predictable financial support to the developing countries to enable them access to climate friendly technologies that will assist them curb the problem.”

Pressure has been mounting on the developing countries to demonstrate their willingness to not only put adequate funding on the table but also assist developing countries accelerate the uptake of clean technology, reduce deforestation and embark on wide scale adaptation programmes.

According to proposals by climate change lobby groups, developing countries require at least 140 billion dollars a year, in annual public funding, to meet these challenges.

Of this amount, they propose, 50 billion dollars should be set aside to support mitigation efforts, an equal amount be used to support adaptation while the rest be reserved for halting deforestation.

On Tuesday, President Kibaki said countries in the world had a shared responsibility to minimize the amount of green house gases emitted to the atmosphere and also challenged developing countries to also reduce their use of fossil fuels to make this goal a reality.

Said the President; “To a large extent, climate change is man made; subsequently the solutions to deal with the challenge rests on our human response,” he said.

He said the continent was still ill prepared for the impacts of climate change mainly due to poverty and inadequate policies, saying this will increase the vulnerability of an already stresses continent.

Scientists have argued that if emissions continue to rise at their current pace and are allowed to double from pre-industrial levels, the world will face an average temperature rise of around 3° C this century.
This will lead to a rise in sea-level, shifts in seasons, and more frequent and intense extreme weather such as storms, floods and droughts, a phenomenon that is already being felt in the developed world.

Said the President; “it has been projected that agricultural production and food security in many African countries are likely to be compromised by climate change and variability. Its time for us to act in order to save our future.”

He went on, “African states should be able to monitor the driving forces, pressure and impacts of climate change in order to develop appropriate measures.”

In Kenya, the President told MPs attending the summit that they had already put in place adequate measures to 'pursue a sustainable’ solution to abate continued environmental degradation.

He revealed that a climate change coordination unit had been established at the Prime Minister’s office to deal with such issues. He revealed that the government was already investing in the development of renewable energy technologies to reduce the country’s over reliance in fossil fuels.

And with less than two months to go to the much anticipated climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, the President called on the African parliamentarians to come up with policies and laws aimed at ensuring a safe, healthy and sustainable environment.

House speaker Mr Kenneth Marende said mankind must confront climate change decisively or risk a catastrophic outcome with regards to coastal damage, heat waves, droughts, floods amongst others.

Mr Marende hoped that the much anticipated deal in Copenhagen will see to it that nations are held to account for their efforts to reduce emissions and that proper sanctions are set to those who don’t adhere to the deal.

Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Maathai also urged the MPs, governments, civil society organisations and religious leaders to take a pro-active lead in assisting the continent fight the negative effects of climate change.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga is on Wednesday expected to officially close the two day conference.

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