By Charles Ogallo.
An independent study has revealed that Kenya was in-adequately adapted to deal with existing climate risks as the country faces heavy Costs from effects of climate change.
The immediate needs for building adaptive capacity and starting to enhance Climate Change resilience are estimated may cost Kenya between $100 – 150 million annually by next year -2012.
Costs include potential threats to coastal zones (sea-level rise), health burdens, energy demand, Infrastructure, water resources, agriculture and loss of ecosystem services.
According to the Stockholm Environment Institute report, a much higher value of $500 million/year or more is warranted if the categories of social protection and accelerated Development to address the current adaptation needs are included.
The above categories are associated with current climate variability – such as the existing vulnerability to droughts and floods.
However, investment in these areas provides greater resilience for future change and they are essential in reducing future impacts.
The report estimated that costs of adaptation may rise in future years, with aggregated estimates providing a possible range, with implications for the source and level of finance required.
Estimates of medium-term costs to address future climate change are typically of the order of $250 – 1000 million per year for Kenya by 2030, focused on enhancing climate resilience. Noted that the investment in 2030 builds resilience for future years when potentially more severe climate signals occur, according to the report.
However, higher values (a total of up to kshs 160 billion ($2000million) per year are plausible if continued social protection and accelerated development are also included, noting that these are primarily development activities.
According to the report, adaptation could reduce the economic costs of climate change but it has a cost with a warning that the costs of adaptation was still emerging. A number of categories of adaptation have been identified that relate to the balance between development and climate change.
The cost of adaptation by 2030 is likely to be in the range of $1 to 2 billion per year, an equivalent to kshs 160 billion, against the climate change cost of $500 annually.
The study has also prioritized early adaptation across the sectors. Potentially very large benefit in reducing present and future damages.
Periodic floods and droughts which are extreme events have already caused major socio-economic impacts and reduce economic growth in the country. Recent major droughts occurred in 1998-2000, 2004/05 and in 2009. Major floods occurred in 1997/98 and 2006.
The economic costs of droughts affect the whole economy. The 1998-2000 event was estimated to have economic costs of $2.8 billion from the loss of crops and livestock, forest fires, damage to fisheries, reduced hydro-power generation, reduced industrial production and reduced water supply.
The 2004 and 2005 droughts affected millions of people and the recent 2009/10 drought has led to major economic costs from restrictions on water and energy.
The study has also undertaken bottom-up assessments of the impacts and economic costs of climate change for a number of sectors, using climate and socio-economic projections.
According to the study dubbed the Economics of climate Change in Kenya, Kenya already has a complex existing climate, with wide variations across the country and very strong seasonality.
It has two wet seasons and strong patterns of climate variability and extremes, not least due to the periodic effects from ENSO: El Niño and La Niña, which are associated with extreme rainfall and flooding and droughts respectively.
The projections of climate change on temperature indicate future increases in mean annual temperature (average monthly temperatures) of broadly 1 to 3.5 ºC over the range of models by the 2050s (2046 -2065).
The study reveals that there will also be increases in sea level which would have advanced effects on the Kenyan coast.
It has considered the range of projections for sea level rise from the IPCC, plus an additional scenario based on some of the more recent literature, which reports potentially higher values.
The analysis shows that coastal flooding from sea level rise is estimated to affect 10,000 to 86,000 people a year by 2030 (across the scenarios), as well as leading to coastal wetland loss and coastal erosion.
The associated economic costs in 2030 are estimated to be $7 – 58 million per year (current prices, no discounting) including flooding. By 2050, these costs could increase to $31 - 313 million per year.
Be Ready and Act Now!
However, the report submitted in advance of COP15 recommended that the Kenya Government should adequately adapt to the climate risks by fully undertaking a deeper analysis to further explore coastal risks, health burdens, agriculture, water/flood risks, energy supply and demand and ecosystem services.
This would need a multi-stakeholder assessment of adaptation pathways at different scales, with estimates of costs, focused on short- and medium priorities that are most relevant for policy.
For both adaptation and mitigation, analysis of the costs, including government, private sector and individuals would provide both adaptation and low carbon costs in detail and as part of an investment and financial flow analysis (by sector). Matching the costs against the wide range of potential finance is a prerequisite for a viable investment plan.
Taken together, the report predicts that this analysis could form the basis of an expanded climate strategy that links national policy to sectoral objectives and targets, with effective mechanisms for implementation, monitoring, reporting and verification.
There is also a need for regional collaboration and co-operation across the areas of low carbon growth and adaptation, to benefit from economies of scale and to enhance regional resilience. These steps would provide national action on a low-carbon, climate resilience investment plan and would establish Kenya as an international leader, with ‘early mover advantage’ in negotiations and securing finance.