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Ruto now an ardent crusader for climate change on global scene

President William Ruto drove himself in an electric car from State House Nairobi to KICC for a pre-Africa Climate Summit briefing. [PCS]

President William Ruto’s education background and position as head of state have seemingly fired him up to champion environmental matters.

Most of President Ruto’s speeches on the global stage have had the hallmarks of a climate change activist.

on Sunday, Ruto rode from State House to  Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC)) in a motorcade of electric cars and bicycles. 

Today, the president will preside over the inaugural African Climate Summit at KICC in Nairobi as a build up of a series of meetings Ruto has spearheaded in the climate change campaign.

Ruto, who chairs the African Union’s Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), has been vocal on the need for the entrenchment of environmental management issues at the core of nations’ building.

Ruto’s thesis for his doctorate in Philosophy in Plant Ecology at the University of Nairobi was on the; Influence of Anthropogenic Activities on Land Use/Cover Changes and Environmental Quality of Saiwa Wetland Watershed, Western Kenya.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Botany and Zoology and a master’s in Plant Ecology.

Days after he was sworn in, Ruto chaired a high-level meeting on conference CAHOSCC responsible for coordinating Africa’s common position on climate change during his trip to the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Since his first address at UNGA where he called upon the World Bank, the IMF and other multilateral lenders to extend pandemic-related debt relief to the worst-hit countries, especially those affected by the devastating combination of conflict, climate change and covid-19, Ruto’s pedestal at the his environmental management  at the continental and global forums.

During the opening of the African Youth Climate Assembly, Ruto said, the youth have often been told that they are the custodians of tomorrow, that they are the future and that they hold the future.

“I recognise that these sentiments have become clichés. However, I am here to say to you, the young people of Africa, that you have a crucial role to play today,” said Ruto.

Ruto noted that his optimism emanated from the fact that Africa’s youth is a pivotal part of the solution.

Additionally, our untapped potential in renewable energy and natural resources is a key
factor. These three elements – labour, energy and natural assets – are the driving forces behind the technical feasibility and commercial viability of the solutions we need for tomorrow,” argued Ruto.

These solutions, the president said, will safeguard our natural carbon sinks, transition our consumption to be greener and decarbonised – not only in Africa, but also globally – and implement large- scale carbon removal.

Africa has the capacity to expand its economy and prosperity while avoiding worsening the climate situation and, in fact, offering climate-smart solutions—a Climate Positive Green Growth. Our youth can imagine that future,” said Ruto.

Two months Ruto in a two-day meeting in Paris made the bold proposals on global financial reforms to increase financial flows for development and climate action during a session with President Emmanuel Macron, IMF Managing Director Christalina Georgieva, and World Bank President Ajay Banga and US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.

After the Paris Summit, Ruto said they had made progress on new global sources of financing for climate action and the plans to insulate them from national interests.

“This will move us closer to addressing the climate crisis, I would have liked to see more clarity on how we will mobilise the $9 Trillion a year that the International Energy Agency informs us is necessary to maintain the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

He called for the establishment of a new multilateral climate action financing mechanism, financed from global carbon taxes on fossil fuel, aviation, marine transport financial transactions to finance decarbonization, adaptation and nature protection and regeneration. 

In his address during the Comoros 48th Independence Day, Ruto said: “Climate Change has continued to ravage the world and our continent in particular and as the globe recovered from a horrific pandemic, it also faced a triple planetary crisis of pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change, as well as an unrelenting economic crisis fuelled by geopolitical unrest.

Consequently, he said, millions of individuals worldwide have suffered negative effects, including threats to their lives and livelihoods.

“This vulnerability is being made worse by climate change related phenomena such sea level rise, land subsidence, storm surge, and coastal flooding,” he said.

He said Kenya will partner with UAE to COP28 in December a win for all when he met Dr Sultan Al-Jaber, the designated President for COP28, at State House, Nairobi.

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