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)
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid