December 9, 2012
Climate Change Urgency in Short Supply in Doha
The COP18 climate change negotiations have now concluded in Doha. According to the BBC:
UN climate talks in Doha have closed with a historic shift in principle but few genuine cuts in greenhouse gases.
The summit established for the first time that rich nations should move towards compensating poor nations for losses due to climate change.
Developing nations hailed it as a breakthrough, but condemned the gulf between the science of climate change and political attempts to tackle it.
For an alternative interpretation let's also take a look at a couple of video reports from Doha, courtesy of Al Jazeera. Here's the first one:
As you can see Connie Hedegaard, the EU's first ever Commissioner for Climate Action, said that:
If you ask me "Is this a fantastic step forward when it comes to reducing emissions?", no it's not! This is more like a "working COP" where it's not very spectacular, it's not revolutionary steps forward but it's rather insisting steps forward and that's very, very important.
whereas Samantha Smith of the World Wide Fund for Nature said that:
We ended up with an incredibly weak deal. This is a year when people all over the world have felt the impacts of climate change, yet governments came here with no money for developing countries, no real emissions cuts and no ambitions to help themselves prepare for a global agreement in 2015. It's a weak deal. Don't let anyone tell you different.
Kumi says that:
It's a betrayal of our children's and grandchildren's future. It's out of touch with the science. It's out of touch with what's actually happening on the ground like we've seen in the Philippines and Hurricane Sandy and so on, and basically what we've seen is an absence of political will and a really desperate state of cognitive dissonance.
Here's how Nick Clark summed up matters:
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned in his opening address in Doha that events like Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines and Hurricane Sandy in the US could become "the new normal". It's felt that urgent action is required, but if this conference is anything to go by, urgency is in short supply.
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