Important First Step on a Long Journey

  • 13 December 2010

The agreement reached on Saturday at the end of the 16th Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – which ran for two weeks in Cancun, Mexico – had several salient features. It included establishing a Green Climate Fund to provide assistance to developing countries and consensus on reduction of average of global warming by two degrees from the level before the industrial revolution. These are important steps on a long road to an effective and binding agreement on battling the dangerous challenges of climate change. The significance of this agreement lies in several key factors. Firstly, it allows a framework to move forward in negotiating the means to challenge climate change. This means that the hindrance witnessed at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 will be overcome and the same will not repeat itself in South Africa, which will host the upcoming rounds of negotiations on climate change in 2011.

Secondly, the agreement reached contained several elements that did not find approval at the Copenhagen Summit. This shows that there is an international consensus that the dangers of climate change cannot be minimized unless through cooperation. Even though the Copenhagen Summit agreement does not completely fulfill the aspirations of those seeking to save planet earth from the threat, it still forms a basis that could be built upon in times to come. This was also the case during the last conference when there was enthusiasm to succeed and efforts were made to push matters forward even if they happened to be small steps. The United Nations and major powers welcoming Cancun Agreement is a reflection of the awareness of its two major aspects. The first is the awareness that the world faces a real threat as a result of climate change whose impact is visible and is increasing continuously over time. Secondly, there is no other way to tackle this challenge, and no state can remain untouched by its impact, unless there is broad cooperation.

During his speech at the Cancun Conference UAE Foreign Minister His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan affirmed that a common international framework is the only mechanism that is capable of achieving the desired objectives of tackling the challenges of climate change at a global level. His speech was an indication of the UAE’s belief in the significance of this issue and the value of cooperation among nations to tackle it. Perhaps the UAE’s directive towards renewable and clean energy and its leadership of the world’s thrust in this regard showcases its awareness of the dangers of climate change and the need to take serious steps in this direction.