The president of COP22, Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, has said there will be no backtracking on the gains made in the fight against global warming.
Mezouar whose country is hosting the climate change summit in the city of Marrakech told AFP in an interview that the coming into force of the Paris agreement means “governments must face up to their responsibilities”.
His comments come on the back of the election of New York property developer,Donald Trump as president of the United States last Tuesday. Trump has described climate change as a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and has indicated his preparedness to pull out of the Paris agreement.
Salaheddine Mezouar however describes the “climate issue” as “a question that concerns the whole world” saying: “It would be, I think, extremely difficult to retreat” from the agreement adding “there’s no turning back”.
News of Trump’s shock victory has led many delegates at the summit to adopt a “wait-and-see” attitude with a Chinese delegate telling AFP: “We need to assess the situation when the new government comes into office,” which will be in January 2017.
COP22 president, Mezouar however said: “I am waiting with impatience to encounter the new American administration. I have absolutely no doubt … that the United States will pursue its commitments alongside the rest of the international community.”
The Paris agreement commits nations to collectively cap the Earth’s average temperature increase at under two degrees Celsius.
Under the agreement, rich countries have pledged at least 100 billion dollars a year starting 2020. Some nations have also submitted, in the annex to the treaty, voluntary pledges to cut down greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.
With one degree Celsius of warming to date, the world has already seen an uptick in deadly storms, droughts, heatwaves and flooding, reports AFP.
Ministers from a dozen countries and negotiating blocs including France, Germany, Mexico, Bangladesh and the group of Least Developed Countries attending the summit, on Friday issues a joint statement affirming their resolve.
“Our commitment to be climate leaders remains steadfast, as is our commitment to work with the whole international community, including the United States,” they said.