Kenya and the rest of Africa are facing devastating economic consequences due to the inadequacy of current climate pledges and targets, which may lead to a 3°C temperature increase, the visiting European Union Commissioner for Climate Action Mr. Wopke Hoekstra has said.
Speaking during a public lecture at the University of Nairobi, Commissioner Wopke said the finance aspect of climate action requires mobilizing trillions of dollars for the green transition in Africa and Europe.
Among his funding proposals include exploring various funding sources such as an international kerosene tax, a maritime levy, a fossil fuels tax, and a share of Emissions Trading System (ETS) proceeds. The Commissioner urged businesses, sectors, and non-traditional donors to contribute to addressing climate change.
“If the funding targets Africa are not met, and Kenya in particular, would face devastating consequences” he said.
Wopke expressed the EU’s commitment to pursue drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and to support communities in adapting to climate change, including through funding for loss and damage.
In his public lecture, the commissioner also discussed the EU’s “Fit for 55” package, which aims to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030, with the potential to overachieve. He revealed the EU’s ambition for a 90% net reduction by 2040 and emphasized the need for targets to be accompanied by effective implementation.
In the energy sector, he underscored the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency. “Kenya deserves special praise for being a frontrunner in renewables, aiming to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2030” he said.
The Commissioner celebrated Africa’s potential in the green energy transition and Kenya’s remarkable achievements in renewable energy. He highlighted the EU’s commitment to be a solid partner for Africa’s green industrialization, offering expertise in various renewable technologies. The EU Global Gateway program was noted for its investments in green and digital projects in Kenya, including the Economic Partnership Agreement.
Kenya is a key partner for the EU, with a strong bilateral relationship, as well as co-operation in green and digital transitions.
The Commissioner noted the challenging geopolitical landscape, including global conflicts and regional instability, while stressing that the urgency of addressing climate change remains undiminished. “Climate change exacerbates security challenges, particularly affecting vulnerable populations in conflict zones. It is a global crisis that requires collective action, transcending political divisions” the commissioner said.
He called upon the youth to push the ruling class to take meaningful steps against climate change and encouraged young activists to continue their engagement and innovation.