By David Njagi
It has been the long rains season again and just as has been the trend, farmers sowed new crop, as a poor Kenyan were displaced by floods, landslides or disease.
It is also a season of sobriety as Kenyans welcome a new government. Among the list of duties lying in wait is making Kenya’s position on climate change and the post Kyoto period known.
Post Kyoto is the new commitment period which begun on January 1st 2013, after the previous Kyoto Protocol expired in December 31st 2012.
It requires governments to come up with a legally binding agreement on climate change by 2015, which will serve until 2020.
Those in government acknowledge that Kenya has agreed to a post Kyoto commitment on climate change, but the country’s final position will be known by 2015 as there is no clear answer yet from the ongoing negotiations.
There is unanimity that last year’s November Conference of Parties (COP) 18 in Doha protected the global climate change negotiation process, but Africa came back home with a few wins and a basketful of losses.
Kenya was well represented during the conference having sent a delegation of about 10,000 participants, but just like in the previous COPs, the grumbling from government, civil society and private sector continues.
Since the Stockholm conference on environmental protection in 1972, they say, the process has been marred by intrigues and manipulation as the world’s heavy polluters creatively elude commitments to reduce their emissions through a binding agreement.
Bali 2007, which laid the foundation for a successor to the Kyoto protocol came and went, as did Copenhagen two years later. Cancun 2010 squeezed through with the establishment of a Green Fund.
In the following COPs, Durban 2011 and RIO+20, developing countries made noise about the North’s intransigence against a legally binding pact, but only pledges came out of the lengthy and costly negotiation processes.
But the processes have also generated lessons in equal measure, some would argue.
East Africa worries about unclear financial commitments on climate change and the slow pace at which the North is fulfilling them.
West Africa sees the negotiation process as dodgy where developed countries hide behind technicalities to avoid commitments.
Even South Africa, the continent’s biggest carbon emitter, suspect the whole process is profit driven and has nothing to do with saving the planet.
But a few in the civil society are jogging their minds and asking: Could it be a conspiracy to keep developing countries chasing after elusive funds as a diversion from the real agenda of saving communities from the effects of climate change?
It is a question that raises a series of others, like, is the idea of a green economy a ploy to develop markets for the sale of the ecosystem as the new capital?
When the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) held its General Assembly in February, some of the delegates raised the possibility that climate change funding could be a new scheme to enslave Africa in the debt cycle.
Even the less vocal in the Nairobi meeting claimed the present funding through the World Bank’s Climate Investment Fund is processed as loans and out of reach from many.
The civil society mourn that such tactics have bound them into a ‘solidarity of frustration’.
It is this frustration that has provoked the African lobby to call for the establishment of a universal climate justice court to prosecute countries that backpedal on global pacts on climate change.
As the pressure continues to weigh on mankind’s existence, it appears the fate of planet earth is no longer a bureaucratic affair; even the displaced peasant is listening and watching keenly.
The pearls of wisdom keep streaming in, and planet earth is vigilant too.