Lebanon’s Environment Minister Acknowledges Climate Change

pollution, climate change, COP 18, Lebanon, Nazem al-Khoury, Environment Ministry, climate changeLebanon’s carbon emissions are relatively small compared to other Middle Eastern nations such as Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, and pale in comparison to that of China and the United States, but its environmental record is far from pristine.

Heaps of burning trash and some of the world’s most disgusting waterways are just two of the numerous issues plaguing the country, which is why we almost fell out of our chairs to learn that the Environmental Minister not only acknowledges climate change (which is more than some Americans are willing to do), but claimed his ministry is actively engaging solutions and coping mechanisms. 

Ahead of this year’s UN Convention of Climate Change in Qatar, COP 18, Nazem al-Khoury expressed concern about the impact that climate change is and will have on Lebanon.

“Climate change has serious consequences for the Arab world and for Lebanon, in spite of its relatively low emissions compared to the rest of the world,” Khoury said during a panel discussion at the ministry ahead of the United Nations convention on climate change in Doha later this month, the Daily Star reports.

He added that Lebanon has already experienced harsh climate phenomena such as heavy rains and prolonged droughts, which highlights the importance of managing the country’s scarce water resources.

Of course, he couldn’t help but lament, as so many others have done, that the actions of larger industrial nations such as the United States, which emits dangerous piles of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, will have a detrimental impact on Lebanon as well – despite their relatively small carbon footprint.

Still, that hasn’t prevented the environmental ministry from exploring various technologies that will either protect against climate changes or harness them in order to make Lebanon resilient in the decades to come.

Water, energy and transportation are among the most important topics, and a committee supported by Australia and the European Union is being formed to foster improved communication between the various ministries and other nations.

But insiders are not convinced. Very few genuine overtures have been made in Lebanon to improve public transportation or clean up widespread pollution that threatens the health of local Lebanese, though another comment reported by the Daily Star might clear up al-Khoury’s greatest concern.

Speaking at the panel, the Environment Minister was careful to note that whilst Lebanon will attempt to meet its stated obligations to reduce emissions, it is important to “make sure at the same time that efforts are made to combat climate change that will not put Lebanese economic growth at risk.”

A more concrete version of Lebanon’s plans will be presented in Doha later this year.

:: Daily Star

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