Sunday, November 15, 2009

Columbia Global Centers | Amman hosts pre-Copenhagen (Cop15) Environmental Summit

In the run-up to Cop-15—the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December—more than 100 policymakers, scientists, and business executives gathered at the Columbia Global Centers | Amman this week to discuss the environmental needs of the Middle East and potential summit outcomes. The “Way to Copenhagen 2009” was organized by Jordan’s Ministry of Environment, in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, the European Commission, and Jordan Europe Business

As the fourth most water-scarce country in the world, Jordan will face major environmental challenges in the coming years, even though its contribution to the global volume of greenhouse gasses is less than 0.1%.

Several speakers urged developed nations to take on their “fair share” of the climate change burden by providing financial support and increasing technology transfer, for example. Ibrahim Mirghani, head of the Sudanese delegation to the G-77, called on developed nations to establish a fund to “make full and effective repayment of climate change debt” that would amount to at least 1.7% of global GDP of developed countries.

Benoit Lebot, the Climate Change Technical Adviser to the UNDP, admitted that his hopes for major breakthroughs at Cop-15 were not high due to long-standing and well-known political resistances.
However, “we should not wait for global economies,” he said. “There is more happening in some villages in Sweden and in Germany.... We can act now.”

Jordan signed the Kyoto Protocol in 2003 and has committed to increase its usage of renewable energy from 1% to 10% by 2020. But both on the policy level and in terms of daily life, challenges remain. Despite many efforts to make the event “eco-friendly,” it proved impossible to find a local printer who could produce conference materials on recycled paper in the time frame required.

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