alexa Kenya takes first step in tackling climate change - Daily Nation

Kenya takes first step in tackling climate change

Thursday August 28 2008

By SAMWEL KUMBA

A planned climate change office will address the impact of global warming.

The move indicates the Government’s seriousness in tackling the effects of climate change, Environment and Mineral Resources assistant minister Jackson Kiptanui had said.

“In Kenya we are concerned about the adverse impacts of climate change on the environment and water towers including the Mau catchment, Tana River, Aberdare ranges, Mt Elgon and Cherangany,” he said.

Illegal settlers

Mr Kiptanui, who was addressing the 22nd Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum at a Nairobi Hotel yesterday, termed it unfortunate that the country’s water catchment areas were being invaded by illegal settlers.

This, he said, resulted in deforestation and land degradation, which reduced the flow of water in stream, affecting millions of people downstream.

Professor Richard Odingo from the University of Nairobi’s Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, warned that global warming was a real threat in Kenya and could lead to reduced food production.

In Kenya, losses for three crops — mangoes, cashew nuts and coconuts — could cost almost Sh32 billion with each one metre sea level rise.

Melting of ice

The don urged the Government to consider the effects of global warming in its planning strategy. He said that the sea level was rising fast, following rapid melting of ice from the world’s mountains.

“Take for instance the road between Mombasa and Malindi, which is hardly a metre above sea level. If the sea level rises by three quarter of a metre, the road will be no more,” Prof Odingo said.

Global warming

He said the Government should consider re-installing Mombasa port with the expected changes in mind.

The director of the Meteorological Department, Mr Joseph Mukabana, expressed concern that African contributes insignificantly to global warming, yet it receives the greatest brunt from the impact.

“Developed nations should assist the developing ones,” said Dr Mukabana.