x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE wants world governments to extend Kyoto Prootocol

The UAE Minister of Environment and Water addresses delegates at the United Nations climate change summit in Doha, Qatar.

DOHA // The UAE yesterday urged world governments to ensure the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol.

Dr Rashid bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water, told diplomats and ministers from 194 countries at the United Nations climate change summit in Doha, Qatar, that he hoped the international community would be able to address the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“The UAE is convinced that reaching a multilateral solution to climate change is still possible,” said Dr bin Fahad. “This is what is expected of us by future generations.”

Scientists at the two-week conference, which began on November 26, have been warning that unless urgent action is taken, the world can expect a significant warming of global temperatures – along with droughts, rises in sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events.

Governments at the talks have been trying to find a way to limit emissions so that the increase in temperatures does not exceed 2°C, but progress has been slow.

Dr bin Fahad urged world governments to ensure the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol – the only agreement that commits developed countries to legally-binding targets to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The treaty expires at the end of this year and governments in Doha have been trying to reach an agreement on recommitting to the protocol. The discussions centre on how long a second commitment period should last and what it should entail.

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, the director of energy and climate change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a member of the UAE delegation, underlined the importance of continuing the treaty.

“We are hoping the Kyoto Protocol discussions will be closed during the last days of the negotiations,” said Dr Al Zeyoudi on Tuesday.

Countries at the talks are debating how long the second commitment period should be, with some parties preferring five years, and others seven.

For the UAE, said Dr Al Zeyoudi, either option is acceptable, but there should be no gap between the end of the first commitment period and the start of the second. The country also believes it is essential for all countries that are major emitters of greenhouse gases to sign the treaty.

Also under discussion  was a new treaty to be signed by 2015, which will take effect from 2020, that requires both developed and developing countries to reduce greenhouse emissions.

“As everyone has seen, the negotiations are kind of slow, but I hope it is going to produce a result that will make everyone happy, when they go home,” said Dr Al Zeyoudi.

vtodorova@thenational.ae