While UN climate-conference delegates seek ways to cut world reliance on high-carbon fuels like oil, OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) confirmed that it would keep producing oil at current levels, estimated in excess of 31 million barrels a day, despite prices that continue to plummet. Arab activists are on the case.
Earlier this week activists gathered in front of the main plenary of the COP21 negotiations to express their frustration toward the current Saudi position and how the rest of Arab countries are following their lead at the climate talks underway in Paris.
“Right now, in the Arab Group, there is no peer pressure, there are no champions, so Saudi Arabia has been allowed to act as a blocker for much of the climate talks. Arab countries are standing silent and letting Saudi Arabia talk on their behalf. Morocco and Egypt have strong climate action plans and Jordan has the largest wind farm in the region, but due to their silence, their climate action and their reputations are being undermined. Will they keep hiding behind Saudi Arabia’s obstruction, or will they step out and represent the will for climate action in the region?”, said Safa’ al Jayoussi, head of climate campaign at IndyACT and CAN Arab World coordinator.
IndyACT and other youth activists staged a bit of performance art for international media, wherein negotiators tried to move towards an ambitious carbon-cutting agreement, but – tethered to the “oil industry”, they failed to make headway. “This reflects what is happening behind closed doors. We are asking Arab countries who are leading in renewable energy to take the initiative in moving ahead with an ambitious agreement,” PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance representative and CAN Arab World Coordinator Chakri Said said in a press release.
“The conference in Paris presents our leaders with the opportunity to take critical action, such as investing in clean energy and the removal of legal and structural obstacles by creating detailed national energy plans that facilitate a fast transition to a 100% renewable energy system. This is essential if we are to keep average temperature rises to no more than 1.5°C, ” said al Jayoussi.
IndyACT is the leading Arab non-governmental organization working on climate change policy. Want to get involved on a local level? Contact Ms. al Jayoussi (email link here).
Images from IndyAct