“Voltaire said ‘Men argue. Nature acts’. When it comes to climate change, now more than ever we need to take a leaf out of nature’s book and act together”. The words Ambassador James Moran, Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt, who spoke at a conference held in Cairo to mark the world day for climate change which is marked on 17 June every year.
“The international community is working for a new global climate deal in Paris at the UN climate conference this December. Countries are expected to come forward with their contributions well in advance of that event so as to enable all of us to agree a robust and dynamic deal that is fit for present and future purpose, with the overriding aim of keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degreesCelsius.
According to Mr Moran, even a 2 Degrees Celsius rise in temperature, will most likely be seriously affected by climate change, particularly because of the large increase in projected heat extremes, substantial reduction in water availability and the associated negative effects on agricultural productivity and general welfare. About a third of the land could be affected.
Crop yield declines, coupled with climate impacts in other grain-producing regions would contribute to increasing food prices. Population increase and growing food import dependency will only worsen such risks. Deteriorating rural livelihoods could spur internal and international migration, adding further stress on urban infrastructure, with associated risks for poor migrants. Migration and climate related pressure on natural resources, especially water might also undermine social stability.
Sea-level rise caused by warming will also threaten heavily populated coastal areas, notably Alexandria and the Delta.
The importance of Egypt for achieving a meaningful deal at the Paris Climate Summit is indisputable, Mr Moran stressed. Egypt is both one of the largest economies and the largest net producer of emissions in the region.
Egypt also chairs the African Ministerial Conference for Environment (AMCEN) and has an important role in the group of Arab countries in the climate negotiations.
The Minister of Environment and his team actively support and drive the process to build the capacity of Egypt and of other African countries in coordinating their approach to climate negotiations and to be well prepared for Paris.
I very much hope that Egypt will soon be able to submit its national proposals for Paris, not only because of its own importance but also because, given its leadership role it could pave the way for others in the region and the African continent.
22 June 2015