Highlights of the amended Climate Change Act

President William Ruto is joined by Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuiya and other leaders when he assented into law the Climate Change amendment Bill, 2023 at Statehouse, Nairobi on September 1, 2023. Photo | PCS

The Climate Change Amendment Bill, 2023 passed by the Senate on Thursday during a special sitting is an amended version of the Climate Change Act, 2016 which focuses on introducing regulations for carbon markets within the Act.

 

The Climate Change Act, 2016, was initially designed to enhance responses to climate change and promote low-carbon, climate-resilient development. However, it lacked provisions for carbon trading. Climate Change (Amendment) Act, 2023 provides a robust legal framework for sustained Climate Action in Kenya, as the country ramp up efforts to cushion against the ravaging effects of climate change.

Key higlights in the amended law includes but is not limited to the following;
  • Adds terminology related to carbon trading to the Climate Change Act;

Carbon market means the mechanism that enables and allows public and private entities to transfer and transact emission reduction units, mitigation outcomes or offsets generated through carbon initiatives, programmes and projects subject to compliance of national and international law.

 

  • Empowers the Cabinet Secretary to appoint the designated National Authority for market mechanisms and the National Carbon Registry;

Clause 6 of the Act has been revised to expand the mandate of the Environment Cabinet Secretary on the appointment of the designated National Authority for market mechanisms and any other mechanisms deriving from Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

 

  • Provides detailed regulations for carbon markets, including guidance by the Climate Change Council;

Under Clause 12 on the regulation of carbon markets, a new section 23A has been introduced to empower the Climate Change Council to provide guidance and policy direction on carbon markets to the national and counties, the public and other stakeholders.

 

  • Allows the Cabinet Secretary to engage in carbon trading agreements with other countries;

The mandate of the CS has further been broadened empowering her to enter into a bilateral or multilateral agreement with another State Party to trade carbon for emission reductions and removals. But, this will depend on the approval of the Cabinet.

Additionally, this part provides for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) requiring every carbon trading project authorized under the Act to undergo an environmental and social impact assessment.

This is in accordance with the Environmental Management and Coordination Act, 1999 under section 23D.

 

  • Establishes the National Carbon Registry to monitor carbon credit projects for greenhouse gas emissions reduction;

The National Carbon Registry to be maintained by the Designated National Authority. The Registry shall, in addition to keeping records of community development agreements, be responsible for records on the following:

  • carbon credit projects and programmes implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Kenya;
  • a REDD+ carbon registry;
  • authorisations granted to participate in an initiative/project/programme under the Bill;
  • the carbon budget and the greenhouse gas reduction units;
  • the number of carbon credits issued or transferred by Kenya;
  • the number of carbon credits issued to emission reduction projects and programs recognised by Kenya from the national greenhouse gas registry account;
  • the transfer of carbon credits and any carbon credits issued or recognised by Kenya from a national greenhouse gas registry account;
  • the cancellation of carbon credits and any other carbon credits issued or recognised by Kenya from a national greenhouse gases registry account; and
  • any other carbon credits issued or recognized by Kenya from a national greenhouse gases registry account.
The new law further mandates community development agreements which must encompass the annual social contribution, calculated as a percentage of the previous year`s aggregate earnings from carbon trading project, to the local community with the contribution set at 40% yearly for land-based projects and 25% yearly for non-land based projects.
Section 23F of the Act also regulates the share of proceeds and cancellation rates and compels the national and county governments to undertake best practices regarding the share of proceeds and cancellation rates for overall global mitigation.