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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid