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World Bank: Middle East conflicts impede climate and other objectives
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Jun 19, 2017

EU 'deeply regrets' US Paris climate pact withdrawal
Luxembourg (AFP) June 19, 2017 - The European Union on Monday blasted US President Donald Trump for pulling out of the Paris climate change pact and said Brussels would continue to lead efforts to prevent global warming.

Trump caused outrage when he withdrew the United States -- one of the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases -- from the 2015 accord which is meant to curb rising temperatures driven by human activity.

"The Council (of EU member states) deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the US administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement," said a statement approved by the bloc's foreign ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg.

"The Paris Agreement brought us together in very challenging times... the Council reaffirms that the Paris Agreement is fit for purpose and cannot be renegotiated," it added.

Trump said the pact, signed by nearly 200 countries, hit the United States with "draconian financial and economic burdens" while competitors got off lightly.

"This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States," Trump said when announcing the withdrawal earlier this month.

Trump's decision was seen as a part of a new unilateralist approach in the White House, undermining international accords and especially the role of the United Nations.

In Monday's statement, the 28-nation EU repeated its "steadfast support for the United Nations as the core of a rules-based multilateral system".

"The EU and its member states remain united and absolutely committed to full and swift implementation of the Paris Agreement," it said.

"The world can continue to count on the EU for leadership in the global fight against climate change."

The economy of Jordan could grow on the back of green initiatives, but progress may be impeded by geopolitical shocks, a World Bank report found.

An annual report on the Jordanian economy from the World Bank found shocks from crises in Syria and Iraq have stifled trade lines and pushed expansion to around 2 percent, compared with the World Bank's estimate for the Middle East and North Africa of around 3.2 percent.

Kanthan Shankar, the acting regional director at the bank, said climate and energy reforms envisioned by the Jordanian government could help offset some of the regional economic strains.

"Such actions would spur job creation, reduce dependence on commodity imports, attract foreign direct investment and leverage international climate finance," he said in a statement.

Jordan is aligned with most international climate accords and was one of the first developing countries to sign on to the Kyoto protocol in 2003. The transportation sector accounts for the largest share of emissions in the country, though climate threats also extend across most water sectors in the country.

The World Bank estimates it would cost Jordan about $5.7 billion to achieve its goal of cutting emissions by 14 percent from a baseline scenario by 2030. The report found Jordan has secured financing of only $542 million to meet its target.

Lea Hakim, one of the report's authors, said external factors were presenting obstacles to many of Jordan's objectives.

"Short of a positive shock such as the reopening of trade routes with Iraq or a peaceful conclusion to the Syrian conflict, and given fiscal and monetary policy tightening, it is difficult to foresee an impactful jumpstart to growth unless strategic structural reforms are implemented at a quicker pace," she said.

Outside of renewables, the government aims to use natural gas to offset coal-fired power in the country. In the past, Jordan has struggled to find a reliable source of natural gas in part because of downstream problems in Egypt.

Israeli companies drawing gas from the Tamar field in the Mediterranean Sea signed agreements this year with Jordanian companies Arab Potash and Jordan Bromine to help push the economy away from coal.

EU's Juncker says no Paris climate deal renegotiation
Strasbourg, France (AFP) June 14, 2017
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday rejected US President Donald Trump's suggestion that the Paris climate pact could be renegotiated. Trump's decision two weeks ago to pull out of the landmark pact was "a sign of abdication from common action", Juncker told the European Parliament. Trump has made a vague suggestion that he could try to renegotiate terms with bette ... read more

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