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NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - A recent ruling by the Kenyan National Environment Tribunal putting on hold the construction of a controversial coal-fired power project in Lamu County came as a relief to many Kenyans and environment champions, not forgetting the Lamu people who were going to be directly affected by the Project.This, however, was not the case with the US Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter, whose Boss, President Donald Trump, has expressed bias regarding such climate-polluting technologies viewed as contributing to the accumulation of Greenhouse Gases. In a string of tweets seemingly meant to insinuate the five-judge bench that delivered the ruling at the Supreme Court was misguided, and worse still, incompetent, Mr McCarter exhibited the true personality of President Donald Trump, who has pulled his country out of the landmark Paris Agreement and any globally-agreed framework to combat climate crisis.Yet we have seen better American envoys in Kenya. A day like thisJuly 7 was always a time to watch in the history of Kenya, as champions of democracy pushed for multi-partism. Such pushes were supported by one Smith Hempstone, a US Ambassador to Kenya between 1989 and 93, and who was an aggressive vocal proponent of democracy for Kenya. He wanted the best for Kenya, unlike his equal now, who has clearly displayed dislike for this country by supporting the dangerous Lamu power project.Though the ruling is not afinality - an Environmental Impact Assessment study has been ordered conductedand a licence issued to the AMU Power to proceed with work on the ground cancelled - the tribunal ruling was a deserved victory for thousands of Lamu residents, Kenyans and well-wishers who have battled this toxic project. The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the AMU Power were also admonished for not ensuring adequate public participation on the project and asked to do better. And as we wait to see whether AMU Power and NEMA will appeal within 30 days after the ruling as advised by the tribunal, we can only wish that McCarter was not intimidating an independent institution to serve his partisan interest, which we all know – President Trump’s climate-denial diplomacy. In the past, the US was a global moral paragon of hope, standing with the most vulnerable, the powerless and those at the frontline of autocratic persecutions. Currently, however, Trump, and to an extent, his representatives, stand for the opposite of what their predecessors stood for – standing with the mighty against the poor and those facing environmental and human rights abuses worldwide. Tragically, this should be the lowest moment for the United States. That a US government official appointed by the President himself would appear to belittle arguably the most independent Judiciary in Africa, and champion implementation of a project thatwill clearly leave voiceless people more troubled than they have been, with more debts than they can manage, cannot be fathomed.It is absurd, and indeed beats logic that a person of McCarter’s ilk can openly lie that coal is “environmentally sound” in a continent…
 BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - At the UN climate talks, Civil Society Organisations from the global north and south, have raised alarm on what they term as incoherence and exclusion of key stakeholders from the implementation of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI). At a meeting with the EU Head of Delegation, at the on-going climate talks in Bonn, Augustine Njamnshi, Coordinator of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access (ACSEA) said CSOs from both the global north and south are concerned with the direction of AREI, which he said has completely excluded key stakeholders from the process. “As key stakeholders, we are extremely concerned AREI is almost taking a wrong direction—no information on what is happening and a total exclusion of all key stakeholders,” said Njamnshi. “We thought of engaging you as EU for we know that you remain a key observer and stakeholder of AREI so that you can take responsibility, and help to correct the situation.”Njamnshi said the EU should not only be seen to play its observer role regarding projects, but also show leadership on governance of the project. “The EU was actively involved at a meeting in Brussels at which projects were being discussed, so it is not right to say that the EU is just an observer when there are issues like what is happening where the initiative seems to have taken totally a wrong path, but then become active observers during project matters only,” said Njamnshi. AREI is an Africa-owned and Africa-led initiative of the African Union. It aims at harnessing Africa’s abundant renewable energy resources to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), enhance well-being, and sound economic development by ensuring universal access to sufficient amounts of clean, appropriate and affordable energy for all Africans. As energy is the engine of economic development, AREI also seeks to help African countries leapfrog towards renewable energy systems that support their low-carbon development strategies while enhancing economic and energy security. The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) aims towards the installation of 10 GW of new and additional renewable energy generation capacity by 2020 and at least 300 GW by 2030. In so doing, the Initiative aims to ensure access to energy while addressing climate change. AREI was launched at COP21 in Paris in December 2015 and immediately received strong international support from development partners who committed to mobilise at least $10 billion cumulatively to harness Africa’s renewable energy potential and expand energy access across the continent. However, It was heard at a combined meeting of both global north and south CSOs held on the side-lines of the UN Climate talks in Bonn, that the initial administrative and implementation phases (2017 to 2020) of AREI have been marred with uncertainty and secrecy, much to the detriment of the core objective of the Initiative—people centred and decentralised energy systems to reach all Africans who lack access. “Decentralised energy systems should not only be about decentralising equipment but also decentralising decision making systems. And AREI has a…
BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Chile's Environment Minister and incoming COP25 President Carolina Schmidt and the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change Patricia Espinosa have officially co-signed the bilateral agreement which forms the legal basis for organizing and hosting the UN Climate Change Conference in Santiago de Chile, later this year. Dubbed the “COP of action”, the conference (COP25) is scheduled for 2-13 December, 2019. The theme is aimed building on the UN says was a successful outcome of COP24 that was held in Poland last year, which resulted in the Katowice climate package. As the host of COP25, Chile has a unique opportunity to demonstrate its leadership on ambitious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier this month, Chile announced its plan to completely phase out coal by 2040 and its objective to become carbon-neutral by 2050. This is a major step for a country with a 40% coal share in their electricity mix and is a prime example of the type of action required to limit the global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5°C, the central goal of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The COP Presidency rotates among the following 5 United Nations regions: Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - The world is already experiencing changes in average temperature, shifts in the seasons and an increasing frequency of extreme weather events and other climate change impacts and slow onset events. Accessible, adequate, and predictable finance is thus critical for developing and implementing adaptation action, from the local to the regional level, around the globe. At the UN Climate talks in Bonn, leading authorities on adaptation and finance have convened for the 2019 Technical Expert Meeting on Adaptation (TEM-A) to survey the adaptation finance landscape and discuss concrete actions that can help it better serve adaptation action for vulnerable countries, groups and communities. Now in its fourth and penultimate year, this year’s TEM-A is focusing on the topic of Adaptation finance, including the private sector. “Firstly, dedicating two days to this technical session on adaptation finance is a very progressive move,” says Augustine Njamnshi, Chair of Political and Technical Affairs of the , Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA). “While it is good that experts are exploring all the possibilities including the private sector, our view is that focus should be so much on public financing. Adaptation remains key for Africa and this area has been struggling as far as finance is concerned. We hope the workshop will highlight concrete ideas that will revamp the operationalization of the adaptation pillar as we get to COP 25 later this year.” According to available statistics, developing countries already face an adaptation finance gap, which will only grow in the absence of increased public and private adaptation finance, according to UN Environment. The 2016 UNEP Adaptation Finance Gap Report estimated that adaptation finance costs in 2030 are likely to range from USD 140-300 billion per annum, requiring finance that is approximately 6 to 13 times greater than international public finance for adaptation as of now. In the first week of the climate talks, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa urged action adding that “this was a climate emergency and that we must respond in kind.”“Nations are not on track to achieving their goals. They’re not even close. We have one ultimate goal as a civilization if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change: to limit global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. We are dreadfully off course,” she said. While industrialised countries immediate focus is mitigation—cutting their carbon emissions, the developing country parties are pushing for adaptation. Thus, throughout the TEM-A, panelists and attendees are looking to guide policymakers and practitioners towards unlocking more of the required adaptation finance. Representing various sectors and regions, the experts are drawing out valuable insights and illustrative examples throughout seven sessions addressing topics from emerging sources of adaptation finance, to assessing the impact of adaptation finance, to financing the commercialization of adaptation technology solutions. In recognition of the important role of the private sector, both to provide adaptation finance but also to seek and deploy it for its own adaptation needs, mobilizing the private sector forms an important thread of discussion…
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