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Bahrain set for green drive at UN summit

, November 18, 2012

Bahrain is set to call for greater cuts in greenhouse gases as it takes part in a major United Nations Conference on Climate Change next week.

The Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) Bahrain chapter wants stricter guidelines to be signed during the event, taking place in an Arab country for the first time, said a report in our sister publication the Gulf Daily News (GDN).

The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997 in Japan, which legally binds its signatories to lower greenhouse gas emissions, is set to expire at the end of the year.

"We're specifically hoping to achieve a second protocol, with the only difference being that Arabs should take the lead as it is happening on our turf," said AYCM Bahrain chapter co-ordinator Reem Al Mealla.

The pan-Arab movement will bring together young people from more than 13 countries in an effort to take serious action against climate change during the 12-day conference, which starts in Doha on November 26.

The initiative began in September as it was felt the Arab world lacked a grassroots movement to campaign for environmental issues.

"Many countries such as Brazil and India are relying on Arab nations to be key decision makers in pushing for a new protocol," says Al Mealla, a marine scientist with environmental consulting firm Environment Arabia.

Despite a failure to achieve a consensus on new emission cuts at UN climate change conferences in Durban last year and Copenhagen in 2010, the movement is hopeful the Doha conference will be more successful.

"Earlier conferences failed as countries always looked to another year of deadline," Al Mealla told the GDN.

"However, the Kyoto Protocol expires at year end, so decision makers cannot afford to turn around and say that we can wait another year.

"We don't want it to be just a signed document but we are urging the setting of targets to cut emissions by different countries."

The Bahraini delegation will be made up of Al Mealla and co-ordinator Tariq Al Olaimy.

"Arabs often get the flak for being all about oil and not caring enough for the environment and we're working to change that mindset," she said.

The dangers of climate change are all too real for Bahrain as a low-lying island.

"We are set to lose 36 per cent of land, if the sea-levels were to rise by a metre," said the 24-year-old. "If that happens, we could become climate refugees and we'll be forced to the centre of the island, which is not practical as we're facing shortage of land."

The AYCM movement in Bahrain recently organised an environmental workshop entitled Arabs Take the Lead, which was simultaneously held across the Arab world.

More than 60 people including United Nations Environmental Programme representatives, students and non-government organisations attended.

"Everybody can be eco-friendly by doing simple things, such as separating their garbage routinely," said Al Mealla. "It won't take much time and there are companies in Bahrain who are willing to support you by collecting non-degradable waste for free." – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Climate | Conference | United Nations | Arab youth | Greenhouse |

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