What you need to know:
- World leaders recently met in Dubai for COP28 to discuss global weather partners and how to slow down the effects of climate change.
- The main discussion centred on reducing carbon emissions. Grants for counties feeling the effects of climate change were among the topics being discussed.
Environmental activists have asked countries leading in greenhouse gas emissions to directly compensate Kenyan families affected by the adverse effects of climate change.
The activists asked the states to pay people who feel the effects of adverse weather phenomena like drought and floods.
Some of the countries whose industrial operations speed up climate change are the United States, China, Russia, Germany, India and Japan.
Some parts of the country have been experiencing drought, which is directly linked to climate change.
Officials from Women’s Empowerment Link (WEL), an environmental group in Homa Bay, say most rural communities in Kenya suffer from extreme weather changes and should be supported to rebuild homes and improve their lives.
According to WEL‘s Lead for Climate Justice Gertrude Tala, the organisation demands justice for families facing hardship due to floods and drought.
She argues that climate change affects people differently, adding that those who contribute the least to air pollution, which is a major driver of climate change, suffer the worst consequences and should be supported to overcome the challenges.
“Children, women and persons with disabilities are at more risk of being affected by unpredictable weather patterns. It is time for us as activists to defend them and we ask the government to pay them for the losses they have incurred,” Ms Tala says.
World leaders recently met in Dubai for COP28 to discuss global weather partners and how to slow down the effects of climate change.The main discussion centred on reducing carbon emissions. Grants for counties feeling the effects of climate change were among the topics being discussed.
Ms Tala says most of the affected communities were sidelined in the talks.
She says WEL will continue advocating for the rights of vulnerable communities so that the international community and the Kenyan government can focus on compensating them for damages and losses.
“Most people have been left in a deplorable state after floods destroyed their houses. Others do not have food after their crops failed to mature,” she says.
Some families in Wang’ Chieng’, Rachuonyo North in Homa Bay county are among those living in hardship due to climate change.
Some residents live in homes marooned by floods after water in Lake Victoria had a backflow.
This has been the case for at least two years and is expected to continue if weather conditions do not change.
Ms Dorine Otieno, who is living with a disabiltiy, says there is no safe place to accommodate people displaced from their homes by floods.
She says camping in schools and other social places predisposes families to risks of contracting diseases.
“Imagine crowding in a room with some having airborne diseases. The rest will automatically have the same infection,” Ms Otieno says.
Aluora Makare community-based organisation chairman Willis Omulo says the international community must implement measures to ensure sustainability in climate change preparedness to save counties already suffering from adverse weather systems.
“Preparedness is cheaper than response, and it will enhance resilience to climate change effects. Our voices need to be heard and incorporated in international climate discussions,” he says.
Mr Omullo says climate change has led to other challenges like human-wildlife conflict and gender-based violence.
"Climate change has deprived vulnerable communities of their rights. A lot of people do not have shelter and food, which are basic human rights," he says.
Mr Clifford Omondi, a climate change expert, says world leaders should now focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
He says global leaders in industrial emissions should unite to find solutions to the effects of climate change.
"The world will continue feeling the impacts of climate change should leaders fail to act now. Environmental meetings like COP allow leaders to identify global problems and develop solutions," Mr Omondi says.
One of his recommendations for lowering global temperature is to reduce the use of coal and other fossil fuels.
He says the world should shift towards carbon neutrality to enable economic growth.
"There needs to be public awareness of the effects of climate change. There also needs to be behavioural change especially on reducing harmful emissions," Mr Omondi says.
According to UNEP’s Adaptation Gap Report 2023, temperature records toppled, while storms, floods, droughts and heatwaves caused devastation this year.
The report says inadequate investment and planning on climate adaptation exposes the world to the dangers of climate change.
It further says that progress on climate adaptation is slowing when it should be accelerating to catch up with these rising climate change impacts.
In the just concluded COP28, countries and global leaders have pledged money to address some of the effects of climate change.
Mr Omondi says leaders in Africa should ensure the money is used wisely.
"Peleges are different from what is in the bank. Leaders should ensure the pledges are actualised," the climatologist says.