'Trump withdrawal from Paris pact undesirable'
Dubai - The Paris Agreement brought together 196 countries - except Syria, Nicaragua and now the US - on the agreement that they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions
The world has a joint responsibility in environmental governance and US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement is "undesirable" from a global leader, leading UAE environmentalist Habiba Al Marashi has said.
In an email interview with Khaleej Times, Marashi, the chairperson of the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), said that Trump's June 1 decision to pull out from the agreement is "unfortunate".
The Paris Agreement brought together 196 countries - except Syria, Nicaragua and now the US - on the agreement that they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to make sure the Earth's temperature doesn't rise by over two degrees centigrade, as this is considered the tipping point for the planet.
Leading scientists and environmentalists have warned about rising sea levels and how the Earth's core is heating up due to rampant and uncontrolled climate change. On June 3, an iceberg - being described as the size of Dubai - was said to be on the verge of splitting from the Antarctic shelf due to the rise in global temperature.
"The decision to pull out of the agreement is unfortunate and will have an impact on the struggle against climate change and keeping the global temperature rise to below two degrees. However, if all others come together in a renewed commitment to the agreement and what it represents, we might be able to overcome the challenges in the wake of the US decision to withdraw from it," Al Marashi said.
"The Paris Agreement is a landmark in global environmental governance and sustainability, and we all have a joint responsibility towards it. Withdrawing from it goes against the collective interest of all and is undesirable coming from a global leader."
Al Marashi hopes that there will be "enough efforts" from the rest of the world - particularly developing countries - to manage and mitigate climate change through action and reduction in emissions. She said measures from governments, businesses, civil societies and individuals need to be forthcoming.
Stating that the UAE has "undoubtedly become an example for other countries" when it comes to developing a green economy and a sustainably developed country, she said: "The UAE's enduring commitment to the Paris Agreement is symbolic of the salient role it is increasingly assuming at the international level. It is deeply invested in this covenant and will certainly deploy full efforts and resources towards its implementation.
"There is a great deal of work going on that is driven by national strategies on sustainable development and the mandates of the leadership of the country," Al Marashi said. "From innovation to happiness, smart cities to renewables, there are so many areas where the focus is strongly on building the country on sustainable foundations.
"The UAE is undoubtedly an example, especially in the Arab region. However, there is still tremendous scope for improvement in what we are doing and where we intend to go as a nation. Our people should be engaged in the sustainability journey in a composite manner so that our future is truly green and sustainable."