Kampala Urged to Emulate EU Cities on Climate Change Mitigation
Kampala Capital City Authority has been urged to emulate some European cities in designing innovations to mitigate climate change.
The European Union Ambassador to Uganda Kristian Schmidt says that although European cities are characterized by high energy consumption, high greener house emissions and high levels of energy access and urban activities, they are not as vulnerable to climate change as Uganda's capital Kampala.
He said that on the contrary, Kampala, which uses less energy and emits less greenhouse gases is more prone to disasters due to lack of mechanisms to mitigate the impacts of climate change. He warns that as Kampala develops, it will possibly increase the level of emissions to the environment.
"If you want to learn from Europeans, we have made mistakes and we have found solutions. You can leave from our mistakes and solutions to make Kampala a better city," he said.
Kristian Schmidt made the appeal this morning while speaking at the launch of the Kampala Climate Change Action Strategy, a 5 year strategic plan aimed at mainstreaming climate change responses in all city services. The strategy, launched at City Hall in Kampala today is expected to put the city on a low carbon and greenhouse emission development path.
The KCCA engineering director Andrew Kitaka noted that Kampala's rapid expansion has resulted into environmental degradation, increased emission and deteriorating air quality. He said the city's energy demand and greenhouse emission will go up as population increase.
The climate change action plan will address three key components; developing short and long-term adaptation strategies to climate change impacts, charting a low emissions development path and transforming the threat of climate change into an opportunity for residents.
Kristian Schmidt pointed out poor garbage collection, destruction of green spaces, flooding and air quality as key areas that need attention, political will and public support in line with the targets of the strategy.
"The quality of air in Kampala is perhaps not as good as in one of the European cities like Berlin, Paris or Copenhagen. That is something that you should think about."
Schmidt advised Kampala City authorities to think about alternative public transport means to reduce transport congestion. He argued that motorcycle transport (bodaboda) will not be a solution to traffic jam.
His plea comes amid renewed pressure for countries to 'dramatically' step up their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions - by 25 per cent more than those pledged in Paris in 2015. The agreement, seeks to tame the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.
Scientists around the world agree that limiting global warming to 2 degrees centigrade would reduce the probability of severe storms, longer droughts, rising sea levels and other devastating climate-related events. However, they caution that even a lower target of 1.5 degrees centigrade will reduce rather than eliminate impacts.
In line with the targets, several European cities are devising means to mitigate impacts of climate. The initiatives include; improving the energy performance and resilience of buildings in Hannover (Germany) and Umea (Sweden), managing water flows, in Glasgow (UK) and Isola Vicentina (Italy), facilitating sustainable mobility, in Larnaca (Cyprus) and Zagreb (Croatia).
Also listed quoted as success stories in mitigating climate climate change is a plan to renature urban spaces, in Lisbon (Portugal) and Bologna (Italy) as well as managing urban growth, with examples from Vienna (Austria) and Barcelona (Spain).
These are listed in a publication recently launched by the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, an EU initiative that brings together local and regional authorities committed to implementing EU climate and energy.