Marrakech and Climate Leadership

Fiji's Frank Bainimarama takes a leadership role on Climate Change

Fiji’s Frank Bainimarama takes a leadership role on Climate Change

The Marrakech climate conference has drawn to a close. 195 countries have issued the Marrakech Action Proclamation. The 48 most vulnerable countries have all said they plan to move to 100% renewable forms of energy as quickly as possible. The overwhelming majority of countries look set to transform their economies.

Meanwhile Donald Trump is building a team of oddball climate change deniers as the core of his new administration. Many American individual states, cities and companies are urging him not to abandon the Paris Agreement. Some states, notably California, will try and ratify it anyway if the Federal government withdraws.

Boris Johnson signed on behalf of the UK. He seems typical of this Tory government’s rather schizophrenic position, toying with both climate scepticism and climate action. Nick Hurd was in Marrakech speaking of action on climate change while being a member of a cabinet that has pursued a whole portfolio of policies that seem designed to thwart that very ambition. (The Green Deal fiasco, abandoning the Zero Carbon Homes Initiative, chaotic and sudden reductions in feed-in-tariffs, proposed increases in rates to businesses with solar panels, airport expansion, abandoning vehicle taxes aimed at promoting less polluting vehicles, pushing fracking despite overwhelming opposition, continued subsidies to offshore oil and gas exploration. I could go on, and on. The list is very long and quite frankly depressing)

Leadership on climate action is coming from many organisations, from campaigners and activists, inventors and entrepreneurs, businesses and cities, whole countries and regions. I shall be watching that list of the 48 most vulnerable countries with interest. They have the potential to leapfrog out of the fossil fuel era and into the solar era. I’ve written before about Morocco and Ethiopia. Some other countries like Costa Rica are well known leaders. Other members of this group include Burkina Faso, Senegal, Cambodia, Fiji, and Guatemala. Not countries I’d looked at previously in terms of political leadership on climate change and the development of renewable energy.

Frank Bainimarama, Fiji’s Prime Minister, is taking over as president of the Conference of the Parties under the UN climate programme. He has appealed to Donald Trump not to abandon the process, and pointed out that climate change is not a hoax. It is to him, and not to Donald Trump, that the world needs to listen.

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