November 18, 2010

Kenya takes a lead on climate legislation

The government has drafted a Bill to fight off the destructive effects of climate change, enabling investors to earn money from the global carbon market by engaging in projects that reduce emission of carbon dioxide.

The draft Climate Change Bill 2010 is intended to provide directions on how Kenya will lessen the effects and adopt to climate change.

The proposals require that the government release guidelines on better land use to prevent destructive practices. It also requires publication of an energy management plan and setting of mandatory energy efficiency targets for companies.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) recently announced it will release new regulations for industrial, commercial and institutional organisations in a move expected to open new lending opportunities for commercial banks, as firms seek to replace or upgrade their machines. The energy management regulations will guide organisations on investments they should make to conserve energy by using efficient machines and diversifying into renewable energy like solar, biogas and wind power.

Bernard Osawa, the director of renewable energy at the ERC, said a key requirement of the new proposed Energy (Energy Management) Regulations 2010 is that a company must do its energy audit every three years.

The proposed Climate Change Bill 2010 requires update of planning and building regulations to ensure buildings to not emit unnecessary greenhouse gases. The updates include the recent requirement that all new buildings in towns should have solar water heating systems — expected to ease pressure on electricity generated from non-renewable sources like diesel.

The government will also prepare and enforce waster prevention and management plans for commercial and residential premises through the National Environmental Authority (Nema). There will also be regulations that reduce packaging of products to the minimum to reduce waste. Other rules will require retailers to include a deposit fee in an article to encourage consumers to return items like soda bottles and get a refund of their deposit.

The draft Climate Change Bill 2010 also proposes that six months after it becomes an Act, the government will establish a National Clean Energy Development Mechanism Authority to give directions on trading of carbon emission reductions.

The authority will complement the proposed climate exchange platform planned to facilitate trading in carbon credits and open up financing for generation of renewable energy and afforestation.

Treasury officials said the formation of the exchange was being fast-tracked because of the high number of inquiries received from foreign banks that wanted to partner in carbon credits trading.

The draft bill was released on a day global food security experts warned that climate change could deal a catastrophic blow to food security in poor countries.


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