Marrakech climate change conference pleads with Trump

Mezouar says conference’s 'message to new American president is simply to say: We count on your pragma­tism.'

Representatives of different indigenous groups from various countries protesting during COP 22 in Marrakech

2016/11/20 Issue: 82 Page: 1

The Arab Weekly
Saad Guerraoui

CASABLANCA - Ministers attending a UN climate change conference in Mo­rocco appealed to US President-elect Don­ald Trump not to give up the fight against global warming and invited him to see its effects with his own eyes.

It was the first UN climate confer­ence since the 2015 Paris agreement in which more than 190 countries, including the United States, pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for rising temperatures and sea levels, worsening droughts and heat waves.

Trump said during his campaign he would “cancel” the agreement and withdraw US funding from UN climate change programmes.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Sala­heddine Mezouar, the host of the two-week talks in Marrakech, said the conference’s “message to the new American president is simply to say, ‘We count on your pragma­tism and your spirit of commit­ment’.”

Ministers from around the world said they hoped Trump did not mean what he said during his cam­paign. Some appealed to him di­rectly.

“I renew my offer to President-elect Trump to come to Fiji and see the effects of climate change,” said Fijian Prime Minister Frank Baini­marama, drawing applause from the conference.

Fiji is to serve as president of the next UN climate change conference, set to begin November 6th, 2017.

More than 40 vulnerable coun­tries, including small island states and drought-hit African countries, declared they would aim for 100% renewable energy “as rapidly as possible”.

Small island countries are among the most affected by climate change with rising sea levels encroaching on their coastlines while 36 of the 50 countries hardest hit by climate change are in Africa, though the continent contributes only 3% of the world’s carbon emissions.

“If the current situation persists, the continent could only cover 13% of its food needs by 2050,” said a statement issued at a ministerial meeting at the conference on sus­tainability, security and stability in Africa.

The UN Food and Agriculture Or­ganisation, the World Bank and the African Development Bank have committed $3.5 billion from 2017 to 2020 to strengthen the resilience of coastal areas. These organisations will provide technical and financial assistance to support ocean-de­pendent economies in Africa.

Saad Guerraoui is a regular contributor to The Arab Weekly on Maghreb issues.

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