Kenya and Peru have joined the list of developing nations creating climate change laws for their own economies. Both countries cited the lack of an international agreement on climate change strategies as a reason for their action, but neither has published much in the way of how their initiatives would work.
National Action in Peru
Peru has taken the more concrete steps of the two, by passing a government resolution last week that would lower carbon emissions and address the negative effects of climate change it is already experiencing. “If we don’t do something we will have problems with water supplies along the coasts,” said Mariano Felipe Soldan of the country’s strategic planning office. “We are already seeing temperature changes.”
The South American country is one of the world’s most geographically diverse, and as such is experiencing a wide range of climate change impacts. A 2009 World Bank report forecast glaciers in the Andes Mountains have been shrunk 22 percent in recent years, reducing fresh water supplies 12 percent, and could disappear in 20 years. Lima is considered the world’s driest capital, after Baghdad.
Details on Peru’s plan are vague, but it is long-term and also includes a crackdown on illegal logging and a shift toward renewable energy and fuels. The nation emits less than 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Parliamentary Play in Kenya
Kenya’s climate change law has not yet fully passed through the national parliament, but it is expected to pass this year. If enacted, it would become the first African country to formalize efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions. The country established a national climate change response strategy in 2010.
The legislation is being advanced by the Parliamentary Network for Renewable Energy and Climate Change (Panerecc), and would create an independent Climate Change Authority. This authority would establish a national carbon registry, reduce emissions, boost energy efficiency, and advise local governments on climate change mitigation measures.
Implications for the UN?
As more and more developing nations establish their own laws to reduce carbon emissions and address the impact of climate change, a uniform international accord could become more difficult to establish. United Nations climate negotiations have stalled around the rights of developing countries to further industrialize, thus increasing emissions, and the duty of developed countries to furthest reduce emissions.
It stands to reason any future UN-led agreement will have to incorporate the existing laws of participating countries, and as more and more take matters into their own hands (including countries like Mexico and South Africa) the need for a multi-tiered approach grows more apparent.
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