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Cautious and Restrained in Cancun

By Dr. Orr Karassin

CANCUN (Dec. 1, 2010) — After the great hopes for the Climate Change Conference that took place in Copenhagen just one year ago, the annual Climate Change Conference in Cancun began in a rather lackluster atmosphere, with little expectation of arriving at a new international agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and halting global warming.


The cautious and restrained attitude that accompanied the opening session of the conference was reflected in the opening speech of Christiana Figueres, the secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, who said that Cancun would not solve all the world's problems. At the same time, she expressed her hope that Cancun would bolster efforts and readiness to reach an agreement, if countries were ready for mutual concessions. In such a non-optimistic atmosphere, it should come as no surprise that a considerable amount of the discussions in Cancun will be devoted to adapting to climate change, rather than to prevention of emissions and reducing the global warming effect.


The Israeli delegation arrived at Cancun accompanied by a number of experts who will be presenting technologies for adapting to climate change. Yitzhak Moshe, deputy director of KKL-JNF's Southern Region, will present Israeli expertise in the field of desert afforestation and agriculture in semi-arid and arid regions. Moshe also be making a presentation at the Climate Village, which is where the various NGOs will be convening. Experts from the Volcani Center and the Ministry of Agriculture will present achievements in the fields of water conservation and grazing. And Israeli expertise in these fields will be showcased at a side event that will be part of conference discussions taking place today.


KKL-JNF is the only organization represented in the Israeli delegation that decided to erect a pavilion at the conference's exhibitions hall. As soon as Karine Bolton, KKL-JNF delegation coordinator, and the representatives of KKL-JNF Mexico, including CEO Motti Cohen, and three members of the board of directors — Osrat Vizner, Tessi Seet and Nancy Cohen — finished building the KKL-JNF pavilion, it was flooded by visitors who were interested in learning about Israel. Among the visitors were representatives of the Iraqi Ministry for Protection of the Environment, who were amazed to hear about KKL-JNF's extensive afforestation activities in Israel. They expressed their wish to initiate similar afforestation activities in Iraq.




Dr. Orr Karassin is a former Green Zionist Alliance representative to the board of directors of Jewish National Fund in Israel, and an advisory-board member of Aytzim: Ecological Judaism.




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