Thoughts from Lama, at her first COP session

 

Before I begin, I want to draw to your attention that COP18 is my very first negotiation session. If you have ever participated in such a conference for the first time, you will understand well how I feel.

Just the fact that you are in the process of participating in a conference where they are discussing the existence of the humanity and the civilization makes this one of the most interesting conferences in the world. Everyone knows the importance of the participation in COP; you meet a lot of people of different nationalities and have the ability to make connections all over the world.

To be honest, I don’t have specific feelings, nor specific expectations. If I did, I believe that it would make the COP18 less interesting. But I am here today knowing that, in future years, I will have a better knowledge of environmental policies and, more specifically climate policy. 

So, for the moment, I can say that I am neutral.  I am trying to understand the process, and it is getting better day after day,  

Coming from the MENA region, the effects of climate change are already being felt in some areas and others are currently being threatened. This is why I've chosen to focus on mitigation; I am really keen that the knowledge I gain at the UNFCCC and through CAN will have a practical application in my work and within my region. I am looking forward to pushing all countries in my region to respond to climate change by reducing GHG emissions and enhancing sinks and reservoirs.

As I said before, I have no expectations, but I have some hopes. I have a hope that Arab countries submit concrete pledges for mitigation targets at COP18, real ones that take climate change effects into consideration. I have a hope that Arab Countries can prove that they are serious about this.

Finally, I really hope that COP18 will be a success!

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Where are the NAMAs for Arab Countries?

Having COP18 in Qatar presents a unique opportunity to move forward with mitigation and adaptation efforts for climate change in the region, as well as for climate finance. With this in mind, ECO is calling for leadership from the Arab states beyond the conference hall. 

ECO supports Greenpeace's call for east-west regional integration in the Arab world with regard to the research, financing and development of renewable energy technologies. This regional cooperation can build on the work already done by individual states in renewable energy development, while developing a new role for regional states at the forefront of clean energy technology innovation.
 
Renewable energy cooperation will also promote economies of scale and fraternal ties crucial to dealing with the other pressing climate impacts faced by many regional states: growing water scarcity amid shifting weather patterns and, in some, projected sea-level rises on coastal communities and aquifers.
Climate mitigation requires both regional and global efforts to switch from dirty fossil fuels to safe renewable energy sources. 
 
ECO favours a regional approach in which economic diversification crucial to future prosperity is built on sustainable national and regional energy strategies—where renewable energy progressively takes the lead role in generation. This includes a transformation away from fossil fuel over-reliance.
 
Qatar and fellow Gulf States have the economic capacity to make this shift and simultaneously play a key role in climate change financing. For equity reasons, this should only occur in the context of Annex 1 fulfilling their commitments to climate finance.
 
Where market adjustments are made, Greenpeace has demonstrated in its Energy [R]evolution that the capacity of Middle East States and the world as a whole can make the rapid switch to solar and other renewable energies, which are already becoming cost competitive, despite the massive subsidy advantages that fossil fuels enjoy. 
For Arab states, renewables provide the promise of energy sovereignty and the path to sustainable development and prosperity. But the Arab states are not the only ones who have not submitted their NAMAs.
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Related Newsletter : 

Brazil Takes 1st Place; Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, EU, Canada US, & More 2nd

It was a full day for fossils Sunday at the Rio+20 negotiations. Brazil earned the First Place Fossil for a frightening new draft text. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela took Second Place for trying to save fossil fuel subsidies. The European Union, United States, and other developed countries earned another Second Place Fossil for bringing empty pockets to plans in need of financing. The Fossils as presented read:

“Brazil earns the First place Fossil. Yesterday Brazil took over as host country of the negotiations for the Rio+20 summit and presented its new draft of the negotiating text. With great power comes great responsibility. The world is watching how Brazil performs in its task of steering negotiators towards agreement on ambitious, concrete outcomes. Outcomes that will get the world on the path to sustainable development and ensuring all members of this and future generations access to quality food, clean water and renewable energy, as well as a healthy, liveable planet, a stable climate and a vibrant prosperous economy. The outcome also need to find new sources of financing and ways to mobilize the technologies to achieve these goals.
 
Unfortunately the text yesterday shows no signs of movement in this direction. It appears that Brazil is missing the chance be a force for raising ambition and living up to the hopes and trust that the world has placed on its shoulders, and will be content with using its growing political clout and indisputable diplomatic capacities only to find clever compromises and get agreement on a watered-down document devoid of clear commitments and actions. Furthermore it seems that the Brazilian government are more focused on closing text, even though it is slashing the ambition, rather than ensuring the outcome we need. Of course Brazil can’t single-handedly turn this process around, and it needs bold and ambition proposals from other countries and a willingness from all countries to get this process on track to creating the world we really do want.”
 
“The United States, European Union, Canada, and other developed countries earned the Second Place Fossil. US, Canada, EU and other developed countries, turned up in Rio with not a Euro cent or Dime, and now that we see all references to finance and technology commitments deleted from the Rio negotiating text it’s clear that developed countries are intending to run away from the Rio principles signed 20 years
ago, especially Common But Differentiated Responsibility. Rich, industrialised countries need to step up and provide the predictable and adequate support that allows developing countries to pursue truly sustainable development.”
 
“Saudi Arabia and Venezuela also earn a Second Place Fossil. During closed door negotiations Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have consistently blocked progress on ending fossil fuel subsidies. Despite an honest effort by Brazil to bridge the divide, these two countries remain the biggest obstacle to stopping our governments handing taxpayers' money directly to the dirty energy industries. Why aren't these billions being spent on access to clean energy for the billions without? The oil industry' slippery tentacles are strangling sustainable development and driving us closer towards a climate catastrophe, with our governments in on the act. By refusing to end these dirty handouts, we give Saudi Arabia and Venezuela the second place fossil, hopefully we won’t see them on the podium again.”

 

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