Intervene now to minimise climate change effects

Kenya needs to seek practical ways to adapt to climate change immediately so as to minimise the effects of the current trends of global warming.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that if no intervention is taken, average temperatures will rise by 6°C by the year 2100 and by 2020, Mt Kilimanjaro will have completely lost its ice cap.

“We need to adapt our local indigenous knowledge and find out how our communities coped in the past to changes in climatic conditions like drought and flooding,” said Prof Christopher Oludhe of the Department of Meteorology, University of Nairobi.

Prof Oludhe was speaking at a media workshop for Kenyan science journalists held in Nairobi on 9 December 2008.

Some of the practical interventions that individuals and institutions can take to slow down the trends of climate change include the use of renewable sources of energy (e.g. solar and wind energy), use of early-maturing seed varieties and planting of trees. The media also has a role to play in awareness creation.

Kenya has not been left behind in experiencing the global effects of climate change. These have been characterised by decreasing rainfall trends and rising average temperatures. Prolonged dry spells have led to famine and subsequent loss of livelihoods that depend on agriculture, with significant impacts on household food security.

Climate change refers to a permanent shift in the long-term average weather patterns in a specific location. Global average trends in climate change have seen rising temperatures and sea levels, melting of glaciers, shrinking of lakes and an increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.