Councillor David Williams, Leader of the Greens on Oxfordshire County Council, is off to Morocco this week to attend the United Nations COP 22 Climate Change Conference as an official observer. Cllr Williams has been invited as the representative of the Green Economic Institute.
Councillor Williams says:
My job in Marrakesh will be to help monitor the negotiations and to lobby national delegates to makes significant practical steps to cutting carbon and methane emissions. As an official observer from a UN-recognised body I will have access to the main negotiating Chamber where national delegates will illustrate exactly how their country will achieve their set goals.
Cllr. Williams adds:
The Paris pledge was a significant step forward and the strongest message that something MUST be done about climate Change since the UN Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Over 200 countries will be represented at the Morocco Conference where the focus will be on what is each country actually doing to achieve the targets. The situation for the UK looks bad, with the announcement of more hydraulic fracking and a third runway at Heathrow. With the reducing investment in renewables, reaching the UK targets set before the Paris Summit looks extremely unlikely.
Cllr. Williams will also visit the worlds largest solar farm at Ouarzazate on the edge of the Sahara Desert which has just been built and comes online during the Conference. The single plant will supply 50% of Morocco's energy needs and combined with wind and hydro systems already in existence, will make Morocco virtually fossil fuel free.
With the election of Donald Trump as the new US president - a man who has called Climate Change a 'hoax' - lobbying the US delegates to ratify the Paris Agreement and stay in the Climate Change talks will be absolutely vital. Cllr. Williams admitted that Mr Trump's election was a massive step backwards for the prospects of an international agreement on Climate Change and fears the US contingent may well pack their bags and go home.