Respect cop21 pact, Zim tells US

Zimbabwe and other developing countries that will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) have called on the United States of America to respect the Paris Agreement and work with the rest of the world in addressing climate change. Nations are currently torn between welcoming and berating Washington’s envoys to the talks following the decision by US President Donald Trump to pull out of the agreement in June and instead promote the US fossil fuel industry.

COP23 begins on November 6 in Bonn, Germany. The United States will play a big role at global talks on shaping the Paris agreement on climate change, to the dismay of some nations which want Washington to be sidelined following Mr Trump’s plan to withdraw from the deal.

Head of Zimbabwe technical delegation to COP23 Mr Washington Zhakata, who is already in Germany, yesterday said Zimbabwe was optimistic that some form of sanity will prevail in the US on climate change.

“The American people will win the campaign for their country to respect the Paris Agreement and work with the rest of the world in addressing climate change. Also, Washington retains its place in the talks because the Paris pact stipulates that no country can formally pull out before November 2020,” he said.

“We would like to stand with the Africa Group positions on climate change and call on the Trump regime to be more serious and not hold the rest of the world hostage. This is the time for more strengthened unity in Africa and in the Group of 77 and China negotiations group.”

Mr Zhakata, who is the director in the Ministry of Climate Change’s management department, said Mr Trump’s pro-coal policies and doubts that climate change is caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, could undermine urgency at the meeting of senior government officials and environment ministers.

He said this year is on track to be the second warmest since records began in the 19th century, behind 2016 and scientists say rising temperatures will stoke ever more powerful hurricanes, floods and wildfires.

“It is pleasing that the US delegation will be led by Mr Thomas Shannon, a career diplomat who gave a speech in 2015, calling climate change “one of the world’s greatest challenges”. COP 23 will work on a rule book, due to be completed in 2018, for implementing the Paris agreement on issues such as the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and how national emissions will be checked,” he said.

Mr Zhakata said Africa, the Group of 77 and China expect US officials, many of whom were architects of the Paris Accord under former president Barack Obama, to contribute to clear, enforceable rules and not promote Trump’s pro-coal political agenda which may derail the negotiations.

Source: The Herald

Post Author: Nyasha Nyakunu

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