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Kibaki rejects climate Bill

President Kibaki declined to assent to the Climate Change Authority Bill, yet the silence with which his action has been received is as deafening as the devastation that calamities continue to leave in their wake.

Had the Bill been approved, it would have established an independent Climate Change Authority with legal powers to self-regulate and a Climate Change Trust Fund to finance adaptation projects.

Yet, as the president was rejecting the Bill, reports were pouring in that East Africa could be staring at one of the worst droughts in 2013, even as experts questioned the region’s level of preparedness.

Groups such as the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the Kenya Climate Change Working Group (KCCWG) and some government institutions claim that the Office of the President is yet to explain the rejection.

But those listening keenly to the private sector will pick nuggets of information suggesting that a conspiracy to kill the Bill may have been hatched even before it went through the second and third readings in Parliament.

Yet the rush with which the process of amendment was conducted during the second and third readings remains questionable, given that only six officials were appointed to the board by the Principle Secretary to oversee the process of such a weighty document.

Still, the private sector and civil society claim that the structure of approval all the way to the Office of the President was flawed, given that there was no time for stakeholders to critique the amendments.

Kenya was well represented during the Convention of Parties (COP18) conference in Doha, Qatar, in November last year.

The government delegation was actually one of the happiest groups when the Kyoto Protocol, which expired on December 31 last year, was given an eight-year extension.

During this period, some $33 billion is to be allocated to developing countries to finance adaptation projects.

Kenya stands in good stead to receive a big chunk of this money since the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) is one of five such bodies in Africa accredited as a National Implementing Entity to directly access it.

A good number of legislators and some government institutions have shown true passion in pushing for climate change to become a national agenda.

But given the billions of dollars the government is expected to receive to finance adaptation projects, would the unscrupulous resist the lure of such a carrot?

By global standards, Kenya emits only 0.05 per cent of the Green House Gases, while Africa at large accounts for 2 per cent. The US and China are killing the planet with 75 per cent GHG emissions.

The lessons learnt from previous COP meetings suggest that the North may not really be interested in helping Africa overcome climate change-related problems.

Yet, with a legislation in place, Kenya would have made a point to the world that it is responsible and can self-regulate on climate change issues.Kibaki’s rejection of the Climate Bill could negatively affect Kenya’s future

As the president was rejecting the Climate Change Authority Bill, reports were pouring in that East Africa could be staring at one of the worst droughts in 2013, even as experts questioned the region’s level of preparedness It is not clear why the president refused assent to the Bill, but the murmurs coming from those involved in drafting the legislation suggest that political intrigues led to its death

Most lobby groups are willing to cede ground and are calling for the review of the draft legislation which should be tabled in Parliament soon for fresh discussions.

They insist on the creation of a Climate Change Council, which would establish an advisory body to the government.

It is too early to tell which way a fresh process will go given that a new government will be in place after March.

( Daily Nation Sunday, February 3 2013 )