Dogged by Trump, UN cli­mate talks wind down

‘We have to work on fa­cil­i­tat­ing ac­cess to fi­nance’

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH -

MAR­RAKESH, Morocco: A UN cli­mate sum­mit in Mar­rakesh tasked with im­ple­ment­ing the hard-won Paris Agree­ment moved to­ward its sched­uled close yes­ter­day, dogged by Don­ald Trump’s prom­ise to aban­don the land­mark pact. The 196-na­tion fo­rum was stunned to see an avowed cli­mate change de­nier cap­ture the White House, and has been left to pon­der the im­pact that could have on their col­lec­tive ef­fort to beat back the threat of global warm­ing. On Thurs­day, the con­fer­ence sought to shore up their com­mit­ment with a rare united ap­peal.

“Our cli­mate is warm­ing at an alarm­ing and un­prece­dented rate and we have an ur­gent duty to re­spond,” the 196 na­tions, in­clud­ing the out­go­ing US ad­min­is­tra­tion, said in the “Mar­rakesh Ac­tion Procla­ma­tion”. “We call for the high­est po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ment to com­bat cli­mate change, as a mat­ter of ur­gent pri­or­ity.” Many fear that US pres­i­dent-elect Trump-who has de­scribed cli­mate change as a “hoax” per­pe­trated by China-will act on his threat to with­draw from the Paris ac­cord or its frame­work con­ven­tion, which could roll back years of painstak­ingly ne­go­ti­ated po­lit­i­cal good­will.

It would also de­prive poor coun­tries of bil­lions of dol­lars in promised fi­nance aid, to help them shift to clean en­ergy and shore up de­fenses against cli­mate change im­pacts that can no longer be avoided. “We have to work on fa­cil­i­tat­ing ac­cess to fi­nance,” Moroc­can for­eign min­is­ter Sala­hed­dine Me­zouar, who has taken over stew­ard­ship of the UN talks from France, said yes­ter­day. “There’s no doubt that if Mr Trump makes sharp cuts to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment sup­port of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, that will be no­ticed and have an im­pact,” vet­eran cli­mate ne­go­ti­a­tions an­a­lyst Alden Meyer of the Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists told AFP. The Paris pact sets the goal of lim­it­ing av­er­age global warm­ing to 2.0 de­grees Cel­sius (3.6 de­grees Fahren­heit) over pre-In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion lev­els.

No back­track­ing

That can only be achieved by rapidly slash­ing green­house gas emis­sions gen­er­ated by the burn­ing of fos­sil fu­els, sci­en­tists say. Coun­tries-in­clud­ing the United States-have pledged to do so un­der the deal by shift­ing to re­new­able en­ergy sources. But Trump has vowed to boost oil and gas pro­duc­tion, and to re­vive the sag­ging US coal in­dus­try, bat­tered mainly by the rise of nat­u­ral gas from frack­ing. Ex­perts say global warm­ing over 2C will re­sult in land-gob­bling sea level rise, wors­en­ing storms and droughts, dis­ease spread and con­flict over ever-scarcer re­sources. High­light­ing the stakes, US gov­ern­ment sci­en­tists said Thurs­day that the first 10 months of the year were the hottest in mod­ern times-and 2016 will likely sur­pass 2015 as the warm­est year on record.

—AFP pho­tos

MARRAKECH, Morocco: Mem­bers of In­ter­na­tional del­e­ga­tions pose for a group photo out­side the COP22 cli­mate con­fer­ence on yes­ter­day, in Mar­rakesh.

MARRAKECH, Morocco: Mem­bers of In­ter­na­tional del­e­ga­tions play with a gi­ant air globe ball out­side the COP22 cli­mate con­fer­ence.

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