Economy

President Ruto blasts West for delay tactics on acting on climate change

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President William Ruto addressing the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt. PHOTO | PCS

President William Ruto has called out the global west for “skirting around issues and delay tactics” in sorting out regions such as Africa that bear the biggest brunt of the impacts of climate change.

The President said by 2050, climate impacts could cost African nations $50 billion annually.

This comes after on Sunday African delegates suffered a setback after they were informed that an agreement had been reached to have the loss and damage as an agenda, which involves discussing whether rich nations who are the biggest polluters should compensate poor countries, can only be done “no later than 2024”.

Dr Ruto while on Monday speaking to delegates attending the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt on behalf of African countries pointed out that the State of Climate in Africa report lays it bare.

“High water stress is estimated to affect about 250 million people in Africa and is expected to displace up to 700 million people by 2030. In the past 50 years, drought-related hazards have claimed the lives of over half a million people and led to economic losses of over $70 billion in the region.

More than 1,000 flood-related disasters were reported involving more than 20,000 deaths in Africa over this period,” he said, adding that the whole world is reeling from the staggering impact of climate change.

“The spread, scale and frequency of disasters like hurricanes, typhoons, wildfires and heat waves, melting sea ice and glaciers, droughts and desertification, floods and rising sea levels, in numerous regions of all continents, indicate that humanity is confronting unprecedented devastation on a global scale,” said Dr Ruto.

He said the Horn of Africa region, including Kenya, is experiencing the worst drought in 40 years. Two years without rain have visited misery to millions of people — 2.5 million livestock have died in Kenya this year alone, causing economic losses of more than $1.5 billion.

“Two days ago, we went to distribute food relief to 4.3 million affected Kenyans in an emergency programme that has forced us to re-allocate funds budgeted for education and health,” said the President.

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