The use of unclean cooking fuel remains to be one of the biggest challenges facing the world and Kenya in particular whose transition to cleaner fuel needs a coordinated approach by the sector players.
Clean cooking just like climate change is not to be shelved, the time for action is now and there are many significant opportunities that the private sector, manufactures, development partners and the government can take to push for a safe environment and a stable social-economic country. The efforts of all these partners if strategically implemented will support Kenya to achieve universal access to clean cooking which is a goal set to be achieved less than a decade from now.
Following the Paris Agreement which was adopted in 2015, a core factor is the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which represents efforts by individual countries to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
NDCs can create transformational change in a nation’s household energy plan by including sustainable clean cooking targets. In Kenya, the country submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in 2016 to the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Kenya has committed to cut its carbon emissions by 32% and it’s estimated that clean cooking has an abatement potential of 10% of the 32% target by 2030. There is a huge financial implication with the total cost of implementing mitigation and adaptation actions estimated at USD 62 Billion with Kenya committing to raise 13% of the budget and the deficit to be sustained by international support.
Unclean cooking fuel situation in the country
Though there have been significant disruptions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, less developed and developing countries continue to suffer as the situation exacerbates living conditions where families spend more time at home making it worse for those cooking with traditional fuels. Imagine the effects of Household Air pollution (HAP) on already compromised respiratory health systems?
Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) resulting from the use of traditional cooking practices leads to premature deaths of 2.6 million people per year globally of which over 21,560 deaths are from Kenya. The issue is alarming and calls for concerted efforts from both the national and county governments.
Household fuel use in Kenya currently contributes 22-35 million tons of CO2 each year and is equivalent to 30-40% of total Kenya GHG emissions. A great investment is required to grow the clean cooking sector for the achievement of the targets.
According to the Clean Cooking Sector Study 58.1% of households in Kenya use the Three Stone Open Fire (TSOF) as compared to 76% twenty years ago. Although the proportion of household users has dropped, the aggregate number has increased from 4.7 million households to about 7.3 million households.
Notably, the government has recognized clean cooking as a crucial issue and has included it in the regulatory frameworks such as the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) (2018-2022) and the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS).
These plans are the pillars of facilitating effective low carbon and climate resilience pathway with the development and adoption of a National Climate Change Framework Policy; and enacting of a Climate Change Act of 2016 to facilitate an effective response to climate change.
“One thing leads to the other Deforestation leads to climate change, which leads to ecosystem losses, which negatively impacts our livelihoods –it’s a vicious cycle. “Gisele Bundchen, Supermodel & UN Goodwill Ambassador
There is potential for Kenya to achieve modern clean cooking products and methods
Kenya’s ambitious target to achieve modern clean cooking by 2028, requires strategic frameworks and quick action to meet the targeted outcomes, hence the development of a bioenergy strategy. The strategy provides a framework for key interventions towards the set goal. It is founded on intelligence from global and regional trends in bioenergy production and consumption and an understanding of the local bioenergy industry status.
The strategy provides good support for the country to meets its commitment on the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Country’s goal-oriented objective to accomplish modern clean cooking by 2028, requires vital systems and fast activity to meet the focused-on results, hence the development of a bioenergy strategy. The methodology gives a structure on key mediations towards the set objective.
It is established on insight from worldwide and regional patterns in bioenergy creation and utilization and a comprehension of the local bioenergy industry status. The strategy provides a good support for the country to meets its commitment on the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In Kenya, the economic backbone depends mostly on the SMEs, this includes those in the clean cooking sector as well. The alignment of tax system to the SMEs growth needs to be considered as important, and should be priorities as important by the policy makers. CCAK as in the recent past submitted budget proposal to be considered for exemption or reduction, and the government has made its’ level best to deliberate on such proposal, as this plays a more critical part in job creation.
To achieve the set target, such coordinated approach needs to be needs to be adopted and an achievable framework has to be implemented that will promote the adoption of clean cooking solution by all.
The writer, Mr. David Njugi is CEO, Clean Cooking Association of Kenya