Beyond the “covfefe” moment that spawned a healthy serving of meme’s on online spaces locally, a matter that holds much more gravity seems to be passing silently, pointing to probable cluelessness of Kenyans to important matters that have a direct bearing on the quality of day to day living.
President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement that seeks to “keep a global temperature rise this century well below two degrees celsius”, a move that had Elon Musk — one of his more visible techpreneur advisors pushing the green agenda with his companies Tesla and Solar City — step down from the president’s business advisory council.
This should serve as a wake up call since Kenya also committed to some ambitious deliverables of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
The Kenya National Adaptation Plan: 2015-2030 provides a good backdrop on plans to meet the commitment in conjunction with 196 other countries.
While our carbon footprint is relatively low compared with countries such as China and the US, we face the full brunt of environmental degradation which impacts our food security and habitat negatively.
Our greenhouse emissions stem primarily from agriculture, urbanisation and miscellaneous land use. Energy and transport are significant contributors and this is where we should perhaps fix our short to medium term goals.
The energy sector is off to a good start with the Sh70 billion, 310MW Lake Turkana Wind Power project and a number of local startups looking to displace wood fuels, develop more efficient and affordable biogas digesters and harness the sun better.
In the transport sector we could do well with policies that would incentivise buying newer and less polluting motor vehicles.
We should also support the birth and growth of technology based transit innovations for both short and long haul segments covering passengers and cargo.
With these and 17 other priority actions, we must measure progress as a running concern and communicate publicly about our efforts, to get support from citizens.