MARRAKECH// The UAE delegation headed by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, attended the opening session of the Conference of Parties 22 on Tuesday.
Sheikh Mansour thanked the government and people of Morocco for hosting this important event to tackle climate change and to put in place an effective mechanism for the implementation of last year’s Paris Agreement.
The session was chaired by King Mohammed VI of Morocco and was attended by several heads of state and government leaders and by the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
The UAE’s presence at the conference reflected the leadership’s willingness to build bridges of cooperation and constructive partnership with the international community, to address the challenges facing the world and to provide solutions to climate change and environment protection, said Sheikh Mansour
“As part of its vision for the post-oil phase, the UAE has embarked on a drive to build a diversified and sustainable economy,” Sheikh Mansour said.
He underlined the efforts being made by the country to spread awareness among the youth and preparing them as leaders of the development programmes that prioritises the environment.
The session was attended by members of the delegation accompanying Sheikh Mansour, and included Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan, Adviser to the UAE President, Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment and Ali Al Hossani, Adviser at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon voiced hope on Tuesday that Donald Trump would 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 Mr Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and has threatened to cancel the global pact, Mr Ban said: “I am sure he will make a good, wise decision.”
The UN secretary general said he had spoken to the president-elect, and said he was optimistic that the mogul “will hear and understand the seriousness and urgency of addressing climate change”.
Mr Ban was speaking in Marrakech 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 global warming.
Mr 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,” Mr Ban said.
“As the president of the US, I am sure he will understand this, he will listen, he will vary his campaign remarks.
“No country, however resourceful or powerful, is immune from the impacts of climate change,” he said. “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 2°C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels by cutting planet-heating greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and gas.
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 negotiation and put the planet-saving goals of the deal at risk.
While waiting for Mr 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 will be on Marrakech, where about 60 heads of state and government are scheduled to address the 22nd Conference of Parties 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 came into force on November 4 after crossing the threshold of 55 ratifications by countries representing 55 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
* Agence France-Press and Wam