27 January 2009

Kenya to change environment policy on carbon trading

Reuters, Jan 26, 2009 9:46am EST

NAIROBI  - Kenya plans to review its environmental strategy to allow companies to trade carbon credits, its environment secretary said on Monday.

Such schemes have been around for a number of years in other parts of the world, but the east African nation's current environmental strategy from 1999 does not take into account the challenges posed by climate change.

"With time new challenges have emerged, climate change being one of them," said Alice Kaudia, the environment secretary in the ministry of environment.

"Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) being a component of climate change will be articulated in the framework environment policy."

CDM projects allow their owners to sell carbon credits to firms which then use them to offset their own carbon emissions. She said Kenyan firms were trying to seize the opportunities presented by the growing carbon market.

A few Kenyan companies like sugar miller Mumias (MSC1.NR) and electricity producer Kengen (KEGN1.NR) are in the process of initiating such projects.

Mumias expects its project that will generate electricity from cane by-products to reduce 130,000 tonnes of carbon every year, earning it more than $1 million annually from selling its credits.

Kaudia said the new policy will be finalised by the end of this year, adding the country was already experiencing hardships as a result of climate change like drought and emergence of diseases in areas where they were not recorded before.

"Africa has been hit hard already...we need regional strategies and an Africa-wide strategy," she said at a British and Kenyan meeting on CDM. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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