Kuwait Amir reaffirms Kuwait moving to cut emissions – UN chief urges action at Qatar climate talks
DOHA: HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah yesterday urged negotiators at climate talks in Doha to tackle global warming, and detailed Kuwait’s moves to cut emissions. After eight days of tough talks, negotiators from nearly 200 countries were joined by some 100 cabinet ministers and a handful of heads of state for the final, high-level stretch of the annual United Nations huddle. Despite many late-night efforts, parties remain in disagreement over details of extending the life of the Kyoto Protocol on curbing Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions, and funding Third World climate projects.
“It is our pleasure to see this high-level international participation in this conference, which reflects the great importance that the international community attaches to the issue of climate change, which has become an obsession for all the states and people of the world,” Sheikh Sabah said. “Kuwait supports the efforts of the United Nations in the fight against climate change, through its active participation in the ongoing negotiations aimed at reducing the negative effects of this phenomenon, based on the principles and provisions contained in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol and their effective and sustainable implementation as the legal binding instrument and the basis for international cooperation in this field.”
The Amir stressed the principle “of shared responsibility, taking into account the variation of burdens and capacities and sustainable development of different countries in line with their national priorities and capacities in order to reduce emissions in materialization of the ambitions of all our peoples”. “This conference is held in Qatar at a crucial stage which requires adopting decisions that pave the way for the next phase beyond 2012 towards this phenomenon, and adapting to it whether within the frame of long-term cooperation through effective implementation of the Bali Action Plan in all its elements, and the agreement on the second commitment period for developed countries, without imposing new obligations on developing countries, except for those voluntary actions which commensurate with their national potentials backed with financing, technology transfer and capacity building,” he said.
“Kuwait also hopes that the developed countries abide by their leading role in reducing emissions and helping developing countries adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, and the negative effects resulting from the measures of responding to mitigating the effects of climate change, especially those whose economies rely on the use of fossil fuels as a major and sole source of income, and this can be achieved through the transfer of technology and the diversification of income sources,” said Sheikh Sabah.
“In contribution to emission reduction, Kuwait made great voluntary and thoughtful strides, according to available resources, in the rehabilitation of its oil and industrial installations, where the oil sector adopted a new strategy based on scientific and economic grounds that aim to reduce emissions as well as setting mechanisms for improving energy efficiency, and the use of clean technology for fossil energy without prejudice to its fundamental interests and obligations in its development of clean industry.”
The Amir added that “in the field of renewable energy, Kuwait has attached great concern to the diversification of its energy sources, where the concerned entities state the executive phases of an ambitious plan for using wind and solar energy aiming to raise the percentage of using this energy to 1 percent of the total energy usage in Kuwait in 2015, and up to 15 percent in 2030.”
UN chief Ban Ki-moon also urged negotiators to put aside their quarrels and act with urgency to find the money and agree on mechanisms to tackle the global warming “crisis”. Climate change “is a crisis”, said Ban, as a string of scientific reports warned the world could be headed for calamitous warming above the limit of two degrees Celsius being targeted by the UN. Warming poses “a threat to us all. Our economies. Our security. And the well-being of our children and those who will come after,” said the secretary general. Noting “mixed feelings” among delegates hammering out a deal, Ban urged the parties to “work with a spirit of compromise”.
A latest report, issued yesterday, said even an impossible zero-percent pollution target for the developed world by 2030 would not stop calamitous climate change, and poor nations too must do their part. The knowhow and technology existed to close the growing gap between countries’ pledges for curbing emissions, and what is actually needed to limit warming to 2C, but, said Ban, political will was lacking. “The gap can be bridged. But time is not on our side,” he warned. “It is an existential challenge for the whole human race – our way of life, our plans for the future.”
The Doha talks are meant to finalise a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only binding pact on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, but delegates disagree on its timeframe and country targets. The protocol’s first round, which runs out on Dec 31, bound about 40 rich nations and the EU to curbing emissions but excludes the two biggest polluters – the US, which refused to ratify it, and China which was left out because it is a developing country.
Another area of disagreement is money. Developed nations are being asked to show how they intend to keep a promise to raise funding for poor nations’ climate mitigation plans to $100 billion per year by 2020 – up from a total $30 billion in 2010-2012. The developing world says it needs a total of $60 billion from now to 2015. Britain yesterday became the first country to pledge money, saying it would spend some £1.8 billion ($2.9 billion) on international climate finance by 2014/15 – a move welcomed by climate activists.