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Global climate change response might gain from US Democrats’ mid-term elections win

The declaration on June 1, 2017, by US President Donald Trump that the US would withdraw its commitment to the Paris Agreement seemed to confirm what many already suspected: that Trump might become the climate change denier in chief. Indeed, the leadership and rank and file supporters of the Republican Party are largely perceived as less supportive of efforts to counter the negative impacts of climate change than their counterparts in the Democratic Party.
This perception has spurred hope among many that the recent win by Democrats, who took more than 30 seats in Congress during the November 6 mid-term elections, might herald an era of reinstatement of climate change policies formulated by the Obama administration, which Trump and his key appointees reversed or watered down since his ascendancy to the Presidency.
According to an October 11, 2018 commentary by Randy Showstack in Earth and Space News, the win by Democrats signals the increased possibility for the enactment of various pi…

Conservation agriculture and climate change, why the buzz?

There are sustained efforts by various public and non-governmental agencies to promote conservation agriculture (CA) as an effective strategy for environmental conservation generally and climate change adaptation specifically.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) regards conservation agriculture as a crop production method that strives to achieve profits, sustained production levels while concurrently conserving the environment.
The technique involves minimal disturbance of the soil while planting and weeding farms. There are three rules that need to be followed for a practice to be regarded as CA. These are: do not turn the soil, keep the soil covered, and rotate crops. It combines several basic principles namely: reduction in tillage; retention of adequate levels of crop residues and soil surface cover; and use of crop rotation.
Immediate climate change related benefits from the practice include reduced emission of carbon dioxide stored beneath the soil su…

Are High initial costs of renewable energy installation hampering mitigation efforts?

A decision on May 21, 2018, by a Nakuru court in Kenya to temporarily ban the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) from cracking down on landlords who fail to install solar water heaters on their property has turned the spotlight on whether cost could be a barrier to the adoption of practices that promote climate change mitigation.
In 2012 Kenya came up with the Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations, aiming to increase the use of renewable energy by residences and institutions whose occupants use more than 100 litres of heated water per day. These include residential apartments, universities, hospitals, schools and commercial laundries (dry cleaners) among others.
This move was in tandem with Kenya’s desire to adopt a low carbon development pathway, having developed its National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) in 2010. At the time of coming up with the regulations, the country had just embarked on the development of the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCAP), which is t…

Wajir pioneers policy making through a climate change lens

Many Kenyans now say that the country’s climate has changed in a dramatic way. The current ongoing rains, which have resulted in the loss of unprecedented numbers of human lives and those of livestock, displacement and catastrophic damage to infrastructure are an ominous reminder that climate change is real. Tragically, the rains followed a protracted drought, which also took its share of loss of life and property.
The reality of climate change has hit home. It has however taken a long time for the phenomenon to be recognised for what it is. A major issue about which if nothing is done has the potential to reverse gains made in all fronts of the development process: economic, social, environmental and political. At the national level, Kenya’s policy and legislative response to climate change has been pioneering. Climate change is no longer regarded as just a cross-cutting issue. Going by national policy and legal actions that have been taken in a very short space of time, the nationa…

Study: Northern Kenya lacks climate change plans despite high vulnerability

Kenya has been hailed as being at the forefront in the formulation of laws and policies on climate change. The 2010 National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) was a first in the region. By the time of its launch, other regional countries had not yet begun formulating their national climate change response plans. The launch of the NCCRS was followed by the first National Climate Change Action Plan (2013 – 2017), a comprehensive blueprint to guide Kenya in following a low carbon, climate resilient development pathway on its journey to becoming a middle-income country with a high standard of life in line with Vision 2030.
A Report of a new study commissioned by a leading Kenyan NGO involved in diverse development initiatives, including environment and natural resources management, known as Act. Change. Transform! (Act!), reveals that counties in northern Kenya are yet to mainstream climate change in their laws and policies despite the area being the most vulnerable to its negative …

Why gender should be on the agenda for combating climate change

Fatuma Hussein uses her foot to roll a 20-litre container of water along the newly built road that connects Merile Bridge in Isiolo County with Marsabit town in Marsabit County. It is yet another hot morning and Fatuma is anxious to get the first 20 litres of water to her home and help her mother to prepare a meal for the family.

Her younger brother Ali Hussein resumed school this week. Their father decided to employ one of their older cousins to be taking their livestock, 100 goats and 15 camels, to pasture, to give Ali the chance to go to school. Fatuma will however not resume school until the long dry spell is over at which time water will be available closer to their home where her mother can easily fetch it and still do other routine chores.

This scenario is replayed among many pastoralist families in northern Kenya. It is common to find parents opting to keep girls out of school or even having them drop out altogether while their brothers continue with their education.

The situatio…

Win-win implications of climate-smart agriculture

Climate-smart agriculture has been described as the approach that addresses all the three elements of sustainable development namely: economic, social and environmental. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) views climate-smart agriculture as an approach that sustainably increases productivity, enhances resilience to climate change by reducing or removing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and enhances the achievement of national food security and development goals.
The term “climate-smart agriculture” (CSA) was adopted in late 2010 at the 1st Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change at The Hague. It describes tensions between maximizing global agricultural productivity, increasing the resilience of agricultural systems in the face of climate change, and concerns to GHG emissions from agriculture.
Projections show that while the global population will rise to 9.6 billion by 2050. Over the same period, there will be a reduction of global…