Need for cooperation as climate change doesn't respect borders

Special to Times of Oman

Today, countries around the world recognize the global nature of the environmental challenges we face: climate change doesn't respect borders, oceans connect countries across the world, and water resources depleted in one area affect millions across a region.  

International cooperation is vital if we are to address these international problems, so today, on World Environment Day, the United States and Oman have re-committed themselves to working on environmental challenges together through the US-Oman Memorandum of Understanding for Environmental Cooperation.

Together, the United States and Oman will begin implementing their 2014 – 2017 plan for environmental cooperation on World Environment Day, a day that underscores the importance of the environment to everyone around the world.

The people of United States and Oman treasure the striking natural beauty our countries are blessed with — mountains, rivers, deserts, and beaches.  

The United States and Oman have worked together, and will continue to work together to preserve this natural beauty.

But environmental stewardship — limiting human impact on the environment — goes beyond protecting what we can see.  

A recent study commissioned by the US government, using long-term, independent records from weather stations, satellites, ocean buoys, tide gauges, and many other data sources, confirmed that the
United States, like the rest of the world, is warming.  Precipitation patterns are changing, sea level is rising, the oceans are becoming more acidic, and the frequency and intensity of some extreme weather events are increasing.

Many lines of independent evidence demonstrate that the rapid warming of the past half century is due primarily to human activities. The US will share United States regulatory best practices to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs and will engage in on-going dialogue so we can learn from one another how we each can address this pressing concern.  

It is important to recognise that carbon gas emissions from cars, factories, and other sources, don't just make their way into the atmosphere and cause climate change: many of the emissions are absorbed by our oceans, which causes them to become more acidic and eat away at coral reefs and shellfish.

This has enormous ramifications all the way up the food chain and makes business harder for fishermen. That is one of the reasons US Secretary of State John F. Kerry is hosting a worldwide conference, "Our Ocean" June 17 – 18, where Oman will be represented by  a technical expert from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth, to address the challenges facing the world's  oceans today.

We still have a lot of work to do, but cooperation is an important first step in addressing this global challenge.  

Protection of the environment is a top priority for both the United States, and we are proud of our partnership with Oman and our work together to address these global issues.

We each take our roles as protectors and preservers of the environment seriously, and, working together, we can move towards a brighter, greener future.

World Environment Day marks our continued commitment to our joint projects, but this is just the beginning.

The author is United States Ambassador to Oman. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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