Doha Climate Change Conference 2012

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The Doha Climate Change Conference 2012 was hosted in Qatar in the city of Doha in December, 2012.

This was the 18th United Nations Climate Change Conference, and is also referred to as COP18. Doha is the capital of the world’s highest carbon emitter per capita.

Contents

Goals

The two-week summit, which finished on Saturday 8 December 2012 considered:

  • Finance for developing countries
  • Reaching a tentative agreement on "loss and damage", a sort of insurance mechanism for the disasters that may beset the poorest and most vulnerable nations.
  • The implementation of a second period of the Kyoto Protocol, the only effective climate treaty in place, which will begin in three weeks with even fewer members and lower ambition than the first version.

Agreements reached during the conference, bundled as the "Doha Climate Gateway" included:

  • A second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, with all that it entails in terms of continuity and mechanisms
  • The third set of results from the AWG‐LCA, completing the Agreed Outcome of the Bali Action Plan
  • A qualitative but bold understanding on finance, especially for the medium term, leading to 2020 and the 100 billion a year target;
  • A systematic way of addressing loss and damage;
  • A roadmap to 2015, 2020 and beyond.

Criticisms

However, the conference has been widely criticised for lack of progress on substantive issues associated with the increasing effects of climate change and policies to address them.

The conference did not acknowledge the need to ramp up action on emission reductions and meet a rapidly closing window to cap global warming at a maximum 2 degrees was not addressed, other than creating another avenue to a hoped-for treaty - The Doha Gateway.

The recent spate of scientific reports such as that of the WMO, UNEP, the IEA, and PwC, the impact of Hurricane Sandy, or even a devastating typhoon in the Philippines, and the emotional response of its delegate in the final days of the talks, failed to spur governments into action.

The economic actions of individual countries may deliver the technology breakthroughs that are needed to combat climate change. Germany’s investment in solar PV has triggered a wave of investment and deployment that has helped bring down the costs of flat panel solar by 80% in the last two years, and sparked a revolution in world energy markets. Improved energy efficiency standards in Europe, Japan, the US, and now in Australia, will do the same.

WWF's head of delegation, Tasneem Essop, summed up the summit: "These talks have failed the climate and they have failed developing nations. The Doha decision has delivered no real cuts in emissions, it has delivered no concrete finance, and it has not delivered on equity."

No signficant contributions have yet been made by developed nations to the UN's climate green fund, which is supposed to reach $100 billion a year by 2020. This can be contrasted with the United States rapidly meeting the anticipated $80 billion damages bill for Hurrican Sandy.

"This is about more than the science and the legal wrangling as far as we are concerned," said the chief negotiator from the Marshall Islands. "It is one of urgency. Our islands are being inundated by salt, our food security is threatened. There is very little than we can do to stop the degrading of our way of life."

Next year's UN climate summit will be in Warsaw, before likely moving to Peru and then Paris. UN chief Ban Ki-moon will host a leaders' summit in 2014 with a goal is to extract commitments to action before the new treaty will come into force from 2020, recognising that a lack of ambition before that date will condemn the world to 3 to 4 degrees of warming, or even more. France's President Francois Hollande is also focusing on country leaders, and the talk in the corridors of Doha was that he intends to hold a series of "leadership retreats" in exclusive areas of France in the lead-up to the Paris negotiations.

See also

External links

References

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