Kenya plans to use satellite data in order to combat climate change, a senior government official said on Thursday.
William Ruto, the Deputy President, told a media briefing in Nairobi that one of the challenges to overcoming climate change is lack of data to effectively monitor the causes and extent of environmental damage caused by green house gas emissions.
“We are therefore going to deploy the latest technology including satellite data to ensure Kenya can adapt and mitigate the negative effects of climate change,” Ruto said during the launch of the Africa Regional Data Cube.
The new tool is expected to harness the latest Earth observation and satellite technology to help Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Tanzania combat the climate change.
The launch was followed by in-depth training for government representatives of participating countries, so that they can immediately make use of this cutting-edge technology.
The data cube was developed by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) in partnership with the Group on Earth Observations, Amazon Web Services, Kenya government, Strathmore University in Kenya, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.
Ruto said satellite technology will help Kenya comprehend over a period of time how natural resources are being utilized so that targeted interventions can be deployed that can improve actions against climate change as well as secure sustainable food and water for the country.
Ruto noted that a vast majority of the Kenyan population derives its livelihood from the rain-fed agricultural activities as subsistence farmers.
“This makes them vulnerable to climate change because of its impact on rainfall amount as well as distribution patterns,” he said.
He noted that Kenya will harness satellite technology to build and enhances its climate resilience and adaptive capacity.
Keriako Tobiko, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, said the climate is changing, with its effects and impact felt by ordinary people whose livelihoods depend on more predictable weather conditions.
He noted that due lack of clear policies, the country’s forest cover has remained below the recommended 10 percent cover of total land mass.
“We will soon launch a national tree planning exercise to ensure forest over reaches 10 percent by end of 2022,” he said.
Tobiko said Kenya as a member of the global community and a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC) took to an emission reduction target of 30 percent by 2030 against a Business as Usual (BAU) scenario in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
Kenya’s NDC will be implemented through the National Climate Change Action as prescribed in Climate Change Act 2016.