Climate action should be the ultimate test for candidates

Presidential hopefuls Ekuru Aukot (left), Japheth Kaluyu and Michael Wainaina (right) at a past debate in 2017. [File, Standard]

Climate change continues to pose threats to our future and attainment of sustainable development goals to nations that rely on natural resources like Kenya.

The recent landslides in West Pokot and prolonged drought and floods are an indication of the need for climate to be front and centre of all policies.

The 2022 succession debate and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) are currently hot topics, but how many are talking about climate action? The 2022 General Election will mark the third presidential debate in Kenya.

The debates should help winnow the least-suited candidates out of the race by promoting content that matter and filtering off melodrama.

Presidential campaigns and debates should highlight a candidate’s climate crisis plan for voters and Kenyans to understand what politicians have in store in mitigating climate change for there is no planet B.

Leaders who fail to acknowledge climate and protect Mother Nature should be regarded to be against human rights.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the Ministry of Environment, United Nations Environmental Programme and other non-governmental organisations should put in place measures that ascertain a candidate's stand on environmental and climate issues before they are cleared to run for political office.

The requirements should be guided by the Green agenda in the sustainable goals on climate action, life below water, clean energy and how to reduce carbon emissions.

The regulation ought to include the candidate’s plans to boost low-income communities facing worst effects of climate crisis.

Prior to the presidential debates, contestants should release their climate crisis plan to the audience for comparisons.

This will give chance to analysts to establish which candidate has the most sustainable and eco-friendly policies.

It’s sad how during presidential debates climate action is always left unaddressed. The candidate must tell the voters about the challenges of climate crisis and what he or she plans to do about those challenges. 

Patricia Kombo, Eldoret.