x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Officials meet to clarify climate change stance

Senior government officials meet to clarify the UAE's position on climate change before the next round of international negotiations.

ABU DHABI // Senior government officials met yesterday to clarify the UAE's position on climate change before heading into the next round of international negotiations in December. The UN Climate Change Conference, to be held in Poznan, Poland is the next global step towards limiting the burning of fossil fuels. A major point of debate will be the role of developing countries. At the moment, the Kyoto Protocol requires developed countries only to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. Signatories listed as "developing" are required to record and communicate the amounts of such gases released into the atmosphere each year. However, some developed countries question this provision, asking that everyone commit to mandatory emission cuts.

The UAE ratified the Kyoto Protocol in January 2005. As a non-Annex country, the UAE is not obligated to reduce its emissions. The UAE position heading into the Poznan conference has yet to be clarified, but a comment by Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water, offers a glimpse of some of the issues that are occupying the country's decision-makers. "The current developed countries did not have to deal with restrictions," he said. "We want a chance to develop first."

Mr Fahad said the UAE had shown "great commitment" to the preservation of the environment. However, the State of the Environment Abu Dhabi report, issued last year by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), said that the "UAE has one of the highest per capita emission rates in the world". The document also said climate change may increase the sea level and cause flooding and extreme weather in the emirate.

* The National