by Keren Setton
JERUSALEM, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Delegates from around the world are gathering in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh for the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference.
The conference began days after the Paris Agreement on efforts of countries to tackle the issue of climate change came into effect.
For some, this is a reason for optimism. But while there has been progress made on this important issue, much work is yet to be done and there are many stumbling blocks on the way.
The main goal of the Marrakesh conference is how to implement the landmark Paris Agreement which sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 celsius degrees.
Professor Daniel Rosenfeld of the Hebrew University's Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences in Jerusalem, is an expert on climate change, sees challenges still remain despite achievements in recent years.
"The recognition that there is a global warming caused by man made emissions of greenhouse gases -- this is important, because it is necessary to recognize the problem before we can address it," he believes.
Rosenfeld has conducted extensive research on factors that are affecting global climate change.
One of the main problems remains the developing nations. Their efforts to hasten their development and improve their standard of living may very well come at the expense of the environment.
According to Prof. Rosenfeld this will "inevitably accelerate further the emissions, well above the curbing action of the most developed nations."
This will require a delicate balancing act and significant funds. Developed countries, which are already industrialized, have the historical responsibility to provide assistance to developing nations in finding greener alternatives to industrialization and progress.
Incentives for rich nations to change their ways will also be needed. Private and public funding is critical for the process.
Rosenfeld sees that agreement that warming beyond 2 degrees as undesirable as a declarative success, however he assesses that "it looks hardly attainable not to surpass such warming."
So even though it seems the world is making progress with resolutions and treaties, the implementation may be farther away than desired.
No debate on environment and global warming would be complete without politics.
The election of Donald Trump as next U.S. president may dampen the cautious optimism delegates at the conference felt. Throughout his campaign, Trump threatened to back out of the historic Paris Agreement. Should he deliver on his promise, the U.S. backing out of such an agreement may be detrimental.
The United States is one of the most polluting countries in the world.
In the past, Trump called the issue of human-caused climate change a "hoax." While chances that he will completely back out of previous commitments are slim as there are legal mechanisms in place that will make such a move difficult. However, a negative and less cooperative attitude may have an adverse affect on the efforts to curtail climate change.
As the world grapples with the consequences of global warming -- such as super storms or extensive periods of drought, environmentalists are encouraging the use of renewable energy that will help reduce CO2 levels.
Yet again, the path to using such energy is not a smooth one.
"Going to renewable energy is becoming very difficult on the background of newly discovered huge resources of natural gas, fracking and other forms of fossil fuel," Rosenfeld said.
The World Bank is funding several programs to encourage countries to use renewable energy. The question remains whether this is sufficient.
Ultimately, the greatest challenge is the translation of words and proclamations into actions.
While declarations in Paris a year ago and work in Marrakesh at the moment are welcome, deeds are necessary.
"The actions that are taken by various countries to limit emissions are far below what is required to reach the goal of curbing the warming," Rosenfeld said.
The weakness of the Paris Agreement is in its voluntary nature. Countries are to determine themselves how much they contribute to the global effort of combating climate change by setting their own goals for reducing carbon emissions.
Such voluntary goals are not legally binding and there is no sanction for lack of implementation. This weakness accompanies the Marrakesh convention.
The Marrakesh conference may be a baby-step in a series of steps needed to make substantial progress on the critical issue of global warming and climate change.
If the meeting can agree on a clear sanctioning and obligatory mechanism for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, there is reason for optimism over the chances for success.