News / Science & Technology

    Amid Gloomy Climate News, Doha Talks Enter Final Week

    Somali refugees flee flooding in Dadaab, Kenya, an area prone to both drought and flooding from a changing climate. (UNHCR, B. Bannon)
    Somali refugees flee flooding in Dadaab, Kenya, an area prone to both drought and flooding from a changing climate. (UNHCR, B. Bannon)
    Rosanne Skirble
    High level officials from more than 200 countries are in Doha, Qatar, for talks that began last week on the next steps after the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N. climate change treaty expires this year.  

    The ministers arrive in the face of bad news for the planet. A spate of new scientific studies finds worldwide greenhouse gas emissions rising and ice sheets melting rapidly, and predicts a planetary warming of as much as five degrees Celsius by the end of this century unless nations act immediately to reduce their industrial emissions of CO2 and other climate-changing greenhouse gases.  

    The executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change told a Doha news briefing Monday that nations are not moving fast enough. 

    Doha Climate Treaty Talks Continue
    Climate Talks Continuei
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    “What gives me frustration is the fact that we are very far behind what science says we should be doing,”  Christiana Figueres said.

    Poor want wealthy to pay for climate problems

    Figueres hopes ministers in Doha will extend the 1997 Kyoto agreement, under which the wealthiest industrial nations were obliged to cut their industrial emissions. At Doha, they’re being asked to make further cuts.  
    The first climate change rally ever in the streets of Doha Qatar at the UN Climate Change meeting. (Richard Casson, Oxfam)The first climate change rally ever in the streets of Doha Qatar at the UN Climate Change meeting. (Richard Casson, Oxfam)
    x
    The first climate change rally ever in the streets of Doha Qatar at the UN Climate Change meeting. (Richard Casson, Oxfam)
    The first climate change rally ever in the streets of Doha Qatar at the UN Climate Change meeting. (Richard Casson, Oxfam)

    Dlamini Emmanuel, who heads the African Group of Negotiators in Doha, worries about the fate of poorer nations - those least able to protect themselves from climate change - should international ministers either fail to extend the Kyoto Protocol or craft a new treaty to replace it.    

    "This process is our only hope because we are likely to be doomed because the catastrophic impacts in our natural systems, eco-systems, particularly humankind in Africa cannot be imagined,” Emmanuel says.  

    Poorer nations also want more funding to help them adapt to a warmer world, with its rising sea levels and more violent storms.

    Jennifer Morgan directs the climate and energy program at the World Resources Institute. She says that funding will be in doubt when Kyoto expires. “There’s no certainty of what will come next.  And of course in these economic times it is a difficult discussion and it’s definitely one that will go until the end game.”

    US wants all nations included

    Many countries are looking for leadership from the United States. The U.S. signed but never ratified the Kyoto agreement in part because emerging economies like China, India and Brazil, which are now among the world’s largest emitters, were exempted.  

    U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change, Todd Stern, told reporters in Doha that any new climate treaty must include emissions-cutting commitments from all countries and be scaled to the world of the 2020s, when it would take effect.

    “It’s built on countries’ national circumstances and their capabilities and not built on their ideology, not built on an ideology that says we are going to draw a line down the middle of the world and countries are on one side or another and if you are on one side you have no obligations and if you are on the other side you have all.”

    Domestic policies hold back US lead

    While hopes are high that the U.S. will take the lead in Doha with new emission pledges, some experts doubt if the Obama Administration has the political support at home to significantly alter its climate policies.  Alexander Ochs, an energy and climate analyst with the World Watch Institute in Doha says the U.S. has its hands bound.  

    (l-r) United Nations Climate Change Convention, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres; Convention President Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah; and former Convention President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. (IISD Reporting Services)(l-r) United Nations Climate Change Convention, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres; Convention President Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah; and former Convention President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. (IISD Reporting Services)
    x
    (l-r) United Nations Climate Change Convention, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres; Convention President Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah; and former Convention President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. (IISD Reporting Services)
    (l-r) United Nations Climate Change Convention, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres; Convention President Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah; and former Convention President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. (IISD Reporting Services)
    "On the one hand, having this high expectation here of other countries that the United States should be  in a leadership role and on the other hand not being able to move more ambitiously to fulfill those targets and those commitments because of domestic resistance.”

    WRI’s Jennifer Morgan agrees, but expects nations to press the U.S. to do more. "I think that the hope is that in a second term, the Obama Administration would become much more ambitious and progressive in these negotiations and build coalitions.”
     
    Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, says the progress she’s seen over the past several years makes her optimistic about the process.  

    “What gives me hope is fully confidence that we will here in Doha deliver another firm step in the right direction.”  

    But Figueres adds that negotiations to put the brakes on global climate change still face a long road ahead. The Climate Change talks in Doha are due to end Friday.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Joseph Woo from: Ontario Canada
    December 04, 2012 11:25 PM
    How can we reduce the production of carbon dioxide when everybody on this world want growth. Any growth mean more energy being consumed. Moreover, the population keep growing and everybody demand better standard of living which again consume more energy.
    If anyone want to reduce greenhouse gas why not start with population control. It is so simple less people less energy consumption less greenhouse gas production.
    In Response

    by: Jackson from: Atlanta Georgia
    December 05, 2012 12:51 PM
    You sound like a chinese communist. A 1 child policy isn't the answer, the answer is alternative fuel, stuff that doesn't produce carbon monoxide.
    In Response

    by: Andy from: Romania
    December 05, 2012 7:18 AM
    Well, Joseph why don't you kill youself to let others enjoy life..or if you have a family can you force them to die so that "less people" be in action?? The problem is not the money or energy needed.. there is energy that can be harvested, Tesla did it and was killed for that, energy that dosn;t involve petroleum ... read a book or something before saying stupid things Joseph (like Stalin, he also killed millions of russians).

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora