On the second day of the COP18 conference, according to agencies, delegates from island and African nations chided rich countries for refusing to offer up new emissions cuts over the next eight years which could help stem global warming.
The debate mostly swirled around the Kyoto Protocol — a legally-binding emissions cap that expires this year and remains the most significant international achievement in the fight against global warming. Countries are hoping to negotiate an extension to the pact that runs until at least 2020 but several nations like Japan and Canada have said they won’t be party to a new one.
Marlene Moses, Chairwoman of a coalition of island countries, said she was “gravely disappointed” with rich nations, saying they have failed to act or offer up any new emissions cuts for the near term. The United States, for example, which is not a signatory of Kyoto, has said it would not increase earlier commitments to cut emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
The position of Japan and other developed countries has the potential to reignite the battles between rich and poor nations that have doomed past efforts to reach a deal. So far that hasn’t happened, but countries like Brazil are warning that it will be difficult for poor nations to do their part if they continue watching industrialized nations shy away from legally binding pacts like Kyoto.
Rising sea threatens artificial Gulf islands
The phenomenon of rising sea levels is a strong signal for investors pumping huge money into artificial islands in the Gulf region, according to an expert.
The slow-onset of effects of climate change is threatening the Gulf region. The reports of rising sea levels pose potential threats to the low-lying coastal zones of Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE. I would say it is not wise to invest hugely in the artificial islands, Sven Harmeling, Team Leader, International Climate Policy, “Germanwatch” told The Peninsula.
“Germanwatch” is a global NGO that actively promotes global equity and the preservation of livelihood. This region is not known to be particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change-at least not up to this point. However, this does not mean that the countries in the region are not exposed to calamities, he said.
Though slow, effects of climate change are threatening the region. An expected decrease in precipitation in combination with a projected temperature rise will exacerbate the already high level of desertification of the region, increasing the lack of arable land and water resources. Currently, the GCC region is importing over 90 percent of their food demand. The countries possess the lowest renewable water supplies per capita in the world, despite an extremely high consumption rate.
Earlier, releasing Greenwatch’s “Global Climate Risk Index 2013”, Sven and his colleague David
Eckstein said the countries of the Middle East are featured rather low on the 2013 Risk Index. But the new aspects of the region’s weather pattern are expected to be reflected in the Greenwatch’s next Risk Index. Qatar’s “Vision 2030” is a strong reflection of the country’s ambition in environmental management and protection objectives.