"No country can meet the challenge of climate change alone. Climate change carries no passport; emissions released anywhere contribute to the problem everywhere.” – Ban Ki-Moon
Muscat – To meet the challenges of climate change, the world must unite to adapt, using diplomacy and technology as tools for change.
Climate change became evident a decade ago, despite the doubts of a minority who still do not believe in it. That minority brings to mind the proverb that says, “There is no worse blind man than the one who doesn’t want to see.”
More than 97% of the scientific community affirms that climate change is a reality and is dangerously accelerated by human action. Despite the vast scientific evidence, there is still a part of the population that denies climate change, relying on falsities and lies repeated over and over again.
Geological records stretching back millions of years indicate a number of large variations in Earth’s climate. These have been caused by many natural factors, including changes in the sun, volcanoes, Earth’s orbit, and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. However, research by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that it is 90% likely that human activity has caused more recent global warming.
Even the UN Security Council has unanimously recognized since 2011 that climate change is a reality and threatens global peace and stability.
14 MENA countries will soon face water stress
If we look at the Middle East and North Africa, a shocking number of 14 countries will face extremely high water stress in 2040. Such water stress is exacerbated by climate change.
In addition, the dynamic socio-economic development of the region will require more water. In 2017, the World Bank predicted that water scarcity could cost the MENA region a drop of between 6% and 14% of gross domestic product (GDP) each year by 2050.
Today, already 800 million people in more than 570 coastal cities worldwide are vulnerable to 0.5 meter of sea level rise by 2050. Given the rate of urbanization, the number of people at risk is expected to rise significantly. Therefore, coastal adaptation and disaster prevention are strongly recommended.
On the other hand, the Global Commission on Adaptation’s “Adapt Now” report, launched September 10, is a clear call to action on climate resilience. It recognizes adaptation as critical in combating the impacts of climate change, especially for the most vulnerable in the world. It also recognizes the centrality of water to adaptation by referencing water in every one of the report’s themes.
The World Economic Forum’s most recent global risk ranking estimated climate-related risks as the most likely and most impactful events to occur. The environmental risk category has become increasingly prominent since risks related to it started appearing in the top 5 in 2011.
Diplomacy and technology as tools for change
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our era. The repercussions for an international foreign policy agenda are substantial: Increasing water scarcity, more flooding, and extreme weather events threaten millions of livelihoods across the world. These circumstances sometimes force people to migrate or trigger violent conflicts as we witnessed in the Middle East in recent years.
A stronger role for foreign policy in international climate policy has been called for—namely through climate diplomacy. But how does climate diplomacy actually happen? And how it will continue to shape the international effort to confront the issue far beyond Paris COP21?
Technology, like renewable desalination, is a key to achieve successful climate change adaptation, but politics are important as well. Traditional inter-state diplomacy has a role in avoiding the negative social effects of the decarbonizing transition measures, especially in sensitive sectors, such as industry and agriculture. Stronger climate ambition relies on the creation of positive feedback between the real economy, political interests, and diplomacy.
We need to mainstream the emergency of climate change into other policy areas. We need companies to move away from carbon-intensive activities and factor climate risks into their supply chains, while embracing the opportunities of low-carbon transformation.
To sum up: We need efforts beyond the negotiation process itself, and we need the cooperation of all countries to overcome this challenge.
As the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said so well in 2015, “No country can meet the challenge of climate change alone. Climate change carries no passport; emissions released anywhere contribute to the problem everywhere. It is a threat to lives and livelihoods everywhere. Economic stability and the security of nations are under threat. Only through the United Nations can we respond collectively to this quintessentially global issue.”
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial views.
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