Economy reels from Sh50b climate change annual loss

Effects of climate change cost Kenya more than $500 million (Sh50 billion) per annum.

The worst hit sectors of the economy are agriculture, livestock, tourism, forestry and fisheries.

Environment Cabinet secretary Prof Judi Wakhungu estimates the loss is the equivalent of two per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A recent report by the Department for International Development says costs include potential threats to coastal zones (sea-level rise), health burdens, energy demand, infrastructure, water resources, agriculture and loss of ecosystem services. The study addressed the potential impacts and economic costs in these sectors.

The CS spoke at Hill School in Eldoret during the unveiling of Sh3.6 billion programmes to rehabilitate Mt Elgon and Cherangany Hills water towers on Sunday. She said  the state of affairs has been occasioned by serious degradation of the  forest ecosystems, which contribute 3.6 per cent to the country’s GDP.

Studies have shown that climate change risks in Kenya are characterised by increase in average annual temperatures, more frequent droughts, increase means annual precipitation in the highlands and decreased mean annual precipitation the highlands.

These risks negatively impact the water towers in ways such as shift in species location, drying of forests leading to greater risk of forest fires, decline in productivity of closed canopy forests and decreased levels of water in water sources.

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