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Host of UN climate talks asks Trump to show 'pragmatism'

Published 18/11/2016

Morocco's foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar (AP)
Morocco's foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar (AP)

A Moroccan official hosting United Nations climate talks has appealed to US President-elect Donald Trump to be pragmatic and to engage with the rest of the world in halting the global temperature rise.

Moroccan foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar, the president of the two-week talks in Marrakesh, said the conference's "message to the new American president is simply to say, 'We count on your pragmatism and your spirit of commitment'."

Mr Trump said during his campaign that he would "cancel" an international agreement aimed at fighting climate change and withdraw American tax dollars from UN global warming programmes.

His election victory spoiled the air of jubilation that has enveloped the ongoing climate talks since the landmark agreement was adopted in Paris last year.

More than 190 countries, including the United States, pledged to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions blamed for rising temperatures and sea levels, worsening droughts and heat waves.

Delegates from China to Brazil have expressed hope that Mr Trump would keep the US in the Paris Agreement despite his campaign promises and insisted the rest of the world would go ahead regardless.

The Marrakesh conference "has demonstrated that the spirit of Paris is alive and stronger than ever", German environment minister Barbara Hendricks said.

With mostly procedural issues under negotiation, countries announced various partnerships and initiatives to show their commitment to a clean-energy transition.

In a symbolic move, more than 40 developing nations on the front lines of climate change, including small island nations threatened by rising seas and drought-hit African countries, declared they would pursue 100% renewable energy "as rapidly as possible".

Many of them would require support from richer countries to switch to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Some, including the Philippines and Bangladesh, plan to expand coal power, a key source of global warming emissions, to meet their growing energy needs.

Still, the declaration signalled support from even poor countries that previously had said it was up to the West, which historically has polluted the most, to reduce emissions.

"This is a group of countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change, but they are not sitting back and complaining about being vulnerable," Jennifer Morgan of Greenpeace said. "They are acting and they are setting the pace for the type of change that we need to see in our world."

AP

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