Leadership, News

Without Responsibility, The Glasgow Climate Summit Will Be In Vain,

When God cre­at­ed this earth, He put in it enough to com­fort­ably sus­tain every human being. How­ev­er, we must be faith­ful stew­ards and take care of the earth so that it can also take care of us. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, in the last sev­er­al decades, humans have not tak­en good care of the earth.

A recent Unit­ed Nations report revealed how our addic­tion to oil as our main source of ener­gy has dev­as­tat­ed the earth that we live in. Emis­sions from these fos­sil fuels have heat­ed the plan­et by approx­i­mate­ly 2 degrees Fahren­heit or 1.1 degrees Cel­sius. The con­se­quent glob­al warm­ing is result­ing in errat­ic rain­fall, sea lev­el rise and a host of oth­er adverse effects that have left mil­lions poor­er, hun­gri­er, and sicker.

The ongo­ing Unit­ed Nations glob­al con­fer­ence is seek­ing to address cli­mate change and its harm­ful con­se­quences. This is the 26th time that this annu­al meet­ing is being held. Pres­i­dent Keny­at­ta was amongst the glob­al lead­ers at the meet­ing. Before he left the Con­fer­ence, he announced that Kenya will join forces with oth­er African coun­tries that make up the ‘Giants Club’ con­ser­va­tion group to fundraise for cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion pro­grams on the continent. 

This ini­tia­tive will enable the pri­vate sec­tor to invest in the restora­tion of Africa’s car­bon sinks, such as forests. Ear­li­er on, the Pres­i­dent was among the more than 100 glob­al lead­ers who pledged to end defor­esta­tion by 2030. Towards this end, he revealed that the Gov­ern­ment will set up a Shs500 bil­lion tree fund and spear­head the plant­i­ng of two bil­lion trees.

I am heart­ened by this turn of events because I have always been a strong believ­er in trees. They give us fruits and med­i­c­i­nal herbs even as they anchor our soils and mit­i­gate against cli­mate change. That’s why I have teamed up with numer­ous envi­ron­men­tal­ists and great Kenyans to cham­pi­on for a forty per­cent for­est cov­er in Kenya through the wide­spread Plant Your Age Campaign. 

Inter­est­ing­ly, only a few coun­tries are respon­si­ble for most glob­al car­bon diox­ide emis­sions, with Chi­na account­ing for 31%, the US for 14%, the Euro­pean Union for 7%, and India for 7%. As we con­tin­ue to hold them account­able, we as Kenyans, must take full respon­si­bil­i­ty of our eco­log­i­cal and eco­nom­ic wellbeing. 

Japan is a great case study on lead­ers who take respon­si­bil­i­ty. In Decem­ber 2016, Tadashi Ishii, the pres­i­dent and CEO of Dentsu, Japan’s largest adver­tis­ing com­pa­ny resigned after an over­worked employ­ee killed her­self. He took respon­si­bil­i­ty. Ear­li­er this year, Mizuho Bank Pres­i­dent and Group CEO Tat­su­fu­mi Sakai also took respon­si­bil­i­ty for com­put­er glitch­es that immo­bi­lized the bank’s sys­tem for a short moment. While he didn’t resign, he didn’t point accus­ing fin­gers at others.

Tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty unlocks effi­cien­cy and ensures results. This is exact­ly what Kenya, and the world needs as we con­tin­ue adapt­ing to cli­mate change. In the spir­it of tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty, I sug­gest that the Pres­i­dent should pri­or­i­tize full imple­men­ta­tion of the Kenya Cli­mate Change Act. For starters, I urge him to set up the Nation­al Cli­mate Change Coun­cil that shall, ‘pro­vide an over­ar­ch­ing nation­al cli­mate change coor­di­na­tion mechanism.’

All the forty-sev­en Coun­ty Gov­ern­ments should also take full respon­si­bil­i­ty espe­cial­ly in address­ing the life-threat­en­ing effects of errat­ic rain­fall and extend­ed drought. In this regard, one sim­ple but pow­er­ful thing that our forty-sev­en Gov­er­nors can do is to lead tree grow­ing cam­paigns in their Coun­ties. I sug­gest that they tar­get forty per­cent tree cov­er in their Coun­ties. Now that the world is pledg­ing bil­lions to this effort to halt defor­esta­tion by 2030, these tree grow­ing cam­paigns can cre­ate green jobs for our youth. 

Our tree grow­ing will how­ev­er be under­mined if we don’t address the issue cook­ing fuel. Cur­rent­ly a stag­ger­ing 7 out of 10 Kenyans still use bio­mass (char­coal and fire­wood) to cook. We must take respon­si­bil­i­ty and tran­si­tion them to clean­er, green­er cook­ing fuel like LPG, bio­gas and bri­quettes. Sim­i­lar­ly, ener­gy sav­ing clean cook­stoves should be the norm, not the excep­tion. Let us endeav­or to think and act green.

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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