Despite efforts to bring down greenhouse gas emissions, the world is still headed to a 3°C rise in temperature in this century.
However, it is still possible to meet the 2°C goal of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change through a green pandemic recovery plan which could cut up to 25 per cent of the predicted 2030 greenhouse gas emissions, a report by Unep states.
A decrease of carbondioxide emissions by seven per cent in 2020 will have negligible impact on climate change, states the Emissions Gap Report 2020.
The world needs to limit global warming by an average 1.5°C pre-industrial levels so as to avoid the worst effects of climate change, according to climate change commitments.
“If governments invest in climate action as part of pandemic recovery and solidify emerging net-zero commitments with strengthened pledges at the next climate event, they can bring emissions to levels broadly consistent with the 2°C goal,” states the report.
Some of the pledges include the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
Low forest cover
As such, Kenya committed to restore 5.1 million hectares of degraded landscapes as a contribution to the Africa Forest Landscape Initiative (AFR100), and 50 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases from the forest sector by 2030 as part of its NDCs to climate change.
Kenya has, however, experienced years of land degradation and deforestation, with data showing that 488,000 hectares under the management of the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) have been degraded. The country is losing 12,000 hectares of forest each year as a result of deforestation.
“Kenya is classified as a low forest cover country as the recommended global minimum is 10 per cent,” said Alfred Gichu, the head of the Directorate of Forest Conservation and National REDD+ Coordinator at the ministry.
With support from the United Nations Development Programme, one of the strategies Kenya is implementing is the National Forest Programme 2016-2030. In the strategy, Kenya needs to plant 1.8 billion seedlings by 2022 to achieve the targeted tree cover. Kenya needs to invest $438 million (Sh48.9 billion). “If you don’t give the sector this amount then the cost of inaction is $1.5 billion,” warned Gichu.
In an ambitious campaign across the country, there are 33 million seedlings in KFS nurseries currently and another 45 million others are in private nurseries. He said efforts to restore Mau are bearing fruit as 14,000 hectares were reclaimed in the Masai Mau “without any human rights violation issue.”
“In last year in November, the community which lived in the Kirisia Forest decided to move out voluntarily. As a result, 30,000 hectares of the forest was saved,” he said.