The United Nations climate leaders’ summit is fast approaching and the government ought to be wrapping up its strategy formulation stage of de-carbonizing the economy. Post Kyoto attempts propose a shift from greenhouse gas emission diminution strategies to total cutting out fossil fuels.The government will therefore be required to make bold announcements and pledges that will prove its commitment to pushing out the fossil fuel phase. In a country where youth unemployment is gradually turning into adult unemployment, such an opportunity should inspire young elites into proposing thought-through solutions that will steer this nation on the right track to sustainability. Unfortunately, it does not.
Climate change to many, is still a cliché used by carbon majors to explain why their development projects will make River Nzoia run dry, or worse still, force a child in Baringo to sleep hungry yet another day. But River Nzoia is overflowing its banks and food scarcity is not a rare case in semi-arid Kenya. The public doesn’t get it the difference between weather and climate. The media seldom reports about it. The government deals with issues in order of their ‘urgency’.
It’s therefore not surprising to find the youth, without concrete reasons, hopping into critics’ bandwagon and terming post Kyoto projections as highly ambitious and impractical. This can only be attributed to intellectual laziness and the stress-free attitude many young Kenyans are picking up as an alternative to racking their brains and tackling local climate threats.Ambitious the projections may be, but they are man’s only hope of increasing climate resilience and precluding its impacts from scaling beyond control.Sadly, laziness and lack of interest is killing what would be fresh innovative ideas in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Present-day political discourse shaped around the reality versus possibility analysis already portrays Kenya’s enthusiasm in contributing its own share of carbon emissions. The anticipation of good financial packages emanating from the recently discovered oil deposits in arid Kenya, will irrefutably shift public focus from the proposed ‘towards zero emissions’ global climate deal.
It’s a proven fact that Kenya is entangled in a carbon-driven economy and suggestions of cutting down or complete elimination of fossil fuel use may not be a compelling case.Overwhelmingopposition is bound to occur both behind closed doors and on elevated daises.It is unjust and selfish of climate majors to come up with obligatory preposterous mitigation strategies, we may think. However, we shouldn’t be oblivious of the fact that time for action is running out as the magnitude of climate change keeps increasing by the day.
As climate negotiators assemble to debate on the pre 2020 emission reduction strategies, young Kenyans should move swiftly in response to the global call for action.Rather than wait for the government to create quick-fix solutions, young innovative minds should come up with county specific recommendations which focus on practical actions that are self-enforcing and involve the public. This includes kick-starting adaptation projects throughout the country and poverty eradication through community based low carbon schemes.
There is no room for climate change skepticism in the 21st century. Not addressing the issue isn’t an option either. Youth presence in reviewing of climate policies, legislations and emission reduction pledges is a sure way of steering the nation towards a green economy. Of great importance should be the ambitious nature of the policies and pledges and government’s dedication to the same.