Saudi Ara­bia and its Gulf al­lies vow to ad­here to Paris Agree­ment pledges, ir­re­spec­tive of how the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion will move on cli­mate ac­tion.


Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from al­most 200 coun­tries met in Mar­rakech over two weeks for the lat­est an­nual cli­mate change con­fer­ence, COP22, which was viewed as an op­por­tu­nity to show­case progress and com­mence the im­por­tant process of turn­ing the COP21 Paris Agree­ment into a de­tailed plan of ac­tion. But the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump as the fu­ture pres­i­dent of the United States cast a long shadow over progress made at the con­fer­ence and a huge ques­tion mark hung over whether he would pull the US out of the Paris Agree­ment. How­ever, the world lead­ers at COP22 and across the globe dou­bled up on their com­mit­ments to ad­dress cli­mate change and ma­jor fos­sil fuel ex­porter coun­tries in the Mid­dle East in­clud­ing Saudi Ara­bia and UAE have been among those vo­cal groups of coun­tries in­sist­ing that the US elec­tion out­come will not af­fect their plans to curb green­house gases un­der the Paris deal.

Global im­pact

Don­ald Trump's vic­tory in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion re­ver­ber­ated around

the world. The po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion added con­fu­sion to a task that was al­ready ex­traor­di­nar­ily dif­fi­cult. Global warm­ing is a near-per­fect ex­am­ple of the tragedy of the com­mons, as it is a prob­lem that no in­di­vid­ual ac­tion, no sin­gle coun­try can re­solve on its own.

On the one hand, this sug­gests the great dan­ger of a Trump pres­i­dency's re­ver­sal of cli­mate change poli­cies could bring about a global knock-on ef­fect, push­ing the world to­ward harsh na­tion­al­ism and re­duced in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal co­op­er­a­tion. On the other hand, there is a veiled hope that the neg­a­tive im­pacts of US cli­mate pol­icy un­der Trump will be lim­ited by the cur­rent mo­men­tum in tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment and other fac­tors. But these steps have been com­pli­cated be­cause the Paris deal re­quires bil­lions of dol­lars in pub­lic and pri­vate cli­mate fi­nance to be chan­nelled from rich to poor coun­tries and Pres­i­dent-elect Trump vowed dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign to end US funds to UN cli­mate pro­grammes.

Ahead of the next con­fer­ence un­der the pres­i­dency of Fiji, which will be host­ing COP23 in Bonn, Ger­many, the one is­sue that will be closely mon­i­tored by the par­tic­i­pat­ing na­tions will be the new Pres­i­dent Trump's pledge to scrap Pres­i­dent Obama's Clean Power Plan and the COP21 agree­ment. That said, if Trump was not to hon­our com­mit­ments un­der the Paris Agree­ment, it is likely that this will neg­a­tively im­pact his abil­ity to get the co­op­er­a­tion of world lead­ers on other is­sues.

Gulf coun­tries vowed to ad­here to the Paris Agree­ment

In the wake of the Trump vic­tory, Saudi Ara­bia, by far the world's largest oil ex­porter, has pub­licly vowed to ad­here to its Paris Agree­ment pledges. Saudi Ara­bia says it will press ahead with pledges it made un­der the Paris cli­mate change ac­cord, even if pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump pulls the US out of the global deal af­ter he is sworn in. It fur­ther added it had “no in­ten­tion of wa­ter­ing down” its com­mit­ments to the deal. Other key Gulf coun­tries like UAE, the first Gulf na­tion to rat­ify the Paris Agree­ment, echoed sim­i­lar words of sup­port to ad­here to and go ahead with eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and im­ple­ment­ing the ac­cord.

This is a promis­ing in­di­ca­tion of how iso­lated the United States may be if it aban­dons the cli­mate agree­ment that vir­tu­ally ev­ery coun­try in the world struck last De­cem­ber in Paris, as the world's largest oil ex­porter said that the com­mit­ment of other economies such as China and France un­der­lined the ac­cord's strength.

Af­ter COP22

As the cur­tain fell in Mar­rakech, the del­e­gates leav­ing COP22 gave a re­sound­ing message to the world that the COP21 Cli­mate Agree­ment is here to stay and would be driven for­ward re­gard­less of what Amer­ica de­cides. We can only hope that, in the event that Amer­ica does with­draw its sup­port, the Agree­ment re­ally is big­ger than any one coun­try as has been claimed. How­ever, the US, be­ing the most pow­er­ful econ­omy in the world and the sec­ond largest emit­ter of green­house gases, must re­spect the com­mit­ments that were made. It's not sim­ply its duty, it's in the com­mon in­ter­est of hu­man­ity.

We need to rec­og­nize that the cli­mate is­sue is a global is­sue. At the end of the day, this process is re­silient enough to move for­ward with global co­op­er­a­tion and com­mit­ment. We haven't won the bat­tle yet, we need to get more of a move­ment go­ing. We need to get more peo­ple to en­gage

Amer­i­can stu­dents protest out­side the UN cli­mate talks dur­ing the COP22 in­ter­na­tional cli­mate con­fer­ence in Mar­rakesh in re­ac­tion to Don­ald Trump’s vic­tory in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

NEESHAD V S Co-Founder & Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor, Arab Youth Cli­mate Move­ment Qatar (AYCM-Q) Mid­dle East Man­ager, CliMates Fo­cal Point, CAN Arab World

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