Ban voices ‘hope’ as lead­ers tackle cli­mate change in Trump shadow

Cli­mate is a ‘com­mon and shared re­spon­si­bil­ity’

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE - —AFP

UN chief Ban Ki-moon voiced hope yes­ter­day that Don­ald Trump will “vary” his stance deny­ing cli­mate change as world lead­ers gath­ered in Morocco to keep a plan­e­tary res­cue plan on track. A week af­ter the elec­tion to the White House of Trump, who has called global warm­ing a “hoax” and has threat­ened to “can­cel” the global pact, Ban said: “I am sure he will make a good, wise de­ci­sion”. He has spo­ken to the pres­i­dent-elect, the UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral said, and he was “op­ti­mistic” that the busi­ness mogul “will hear and un­der­stand the se­ri­ous­ness and ur­gency of ad­dress­ing cli­mate change.”

Ban was ad­dress­ing jour­nal­ists in Mar­rakesh be­fore open­ing the “high-level seg­ment” of an an­nual UN cli­mate meet­ing-the first since last year’s adop­tion of the Paris Agree­ment to stave off calami­tous global warm­ing. Trump’s elec­tion has been up­per­most on the minds of many del­e­gates and ne­go­tia­tors gath­ered since last Mon­day to thrash out a roadmap for putting the agree­ment into ac­tion. “I have ex­plained at length about our ex­pec­ta­tions and our hope that... pres­i­dent-elect Mr Trump will hear and un­der­stand the se­ri­ous­ness and ur­gency of ad­dress­ing cli­mate change,” said Ban.

“As the pres­i­dent of the US I am sure he will un­der­stand this, he will lis­ten, he will vary his cam­paign re­marks,” he added. It was usual for cam­paign­ing politi­cians to en­gage in rhetoric, but a pres­i­dent had to un­der­stand “the re­al­ity of the whole world’s prob­lems,” said the UN chief. “No coun­try, how­ever re­source­ful or pow­er­ful, is im­mune from the im­pacts of cli­mate change,” he added. “My sense is that as a very suc­cess­ful busi­ness per­son in the past... I be­lieve that he un­der­stands that there are mar­ket forces al­ready at work on this is­sue.” The hard-fought Paris Agree­ment set an ob­jec­tive of lim­it­ing av­er­age global warm­ing to two de­grees Cel­sius (3.6 de­grees Fahren­heit) over pre-In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion lev­els by cut­ting planet-heat­ing green­house gases from burning coal, oil, and gas.

‘No Planet B’

Many fear that with­drawal by the United States, a cham­pion of the deal un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, would shat­ter the po­lit­i­cal good­will built up over years of ne­go­ti­a­tions, and put the very planet-sav­ing goals of the deal at risk.

While wait­ing for Trump to make his po­si­tion clear, many now look to the rest of the world to strongly re­state their com­mit­ment to the pact-with or with­out the US. All eyes was on Mar­rakesh yes­ter­day, where about 60 heads of state and govern­ment were sched­uled to address the 22nd Con­fer­ence of Par­ties (COP22 for short) of the UN’s cli­mate con­ven­tion, which gath­ers 196 na­tions and the EU bloc. To date, 109 of the 197 par­ties have of­fi­cially rat­i­fied the Paris Agree­ment, which en­tered into force on Novem­ber 4 af­ter cross­ing the thresh­old of 55 rat­i­fi­ca­tions by coun­tries rep­re­sent­ing 55 per­cent of green­house gas emis­sions.

They in­cluded the United States, which rep­re­sents about 14 per­cent of global emis­sions, and China which ac­counts for 25 per­cent. Bei­jing’s cli­mate en­voy Xie Zhen­hua stressed Mon­day that tack­ling cli­mate was a “com­mon and shared re­spon­si­bil­ity”. “In­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion is a must for us to address cli­mate change,” he said in Mar­rakesh. Sci­en­tists say warm­ing over 2 C will yield dan­ger­ous sea level rise, harsher storms and droughts, dis­ease spread and con­flict over ever-scarcer re­sources. “We have only one planet,” Ban stressed. “We don’t have a Plan B, be­cause there is no Planet B.”

Among the speak­ers on yes­ter­day’s agenda are Su­dan’s Omar al-Bashir, for whom the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court has is­sued an ar­rest war­rant for war crimes, crimes against hu­man­ity and geno­cide in Dar­fur. “If even al-Bashir can con­trib­ute to the global cli­mate ef­fort, then pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump will have no ex­cuse,” com­mented cli­mate ac­tivist Mo­hamed Adow of Chris­tian Aid.

— AFP

MARRAKECH: Morocco’s King Mo­hammed VI (cen­ter right), United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon (sec­ond right), Morocco’s For­eign Min­is­ter Sala­hed­dine Me­zouar (third left), UN cli­mate chief Pa­tri­cia Espinosa of Mex­ico (sec­ond left) are seen prior to the open­ing ses­sion of the UN cli­mate con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

MARRAKECH, Morocco: Ban Ki-moon, the UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral, speaks at the UN World Cli­mate Change Con­fer­ence 2016.

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