News / Science & Technology

    UN Climate Talks Begin in Doha

    Organizers are seen on stage at the opening ceremony of the 18th United Nations climate change conference in Doha, Qatar, Nov. 26, 2012.
    Organizers are seen on stage at the opening ceremony of the 18th United Nations climate change conference in Doha, Qatar, Nov. 26, 2012.
    Rosanne Skirble
    The United Nations Conference on Climate Change began Monday in Doha, Qatar.  Delegates from nearly 200 countries hope to forge a new agreement on curbing industrial emissions that extends the Kyoto Protocol, the global climate change treaty due to expire this year.

    Conference president, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hama Al-Attiyah, reminded delegates in the cavernous Doha National Convention Center that the agenda for the two-week meeting is ambitious and challenging.

    "We must achieve a second commitment period under the Kyoto protocol," he said.  "We must achieve progress in what we undertook in Durban."

    Annual greenhouse gas emissionsAnnual greenhouse gas emissions
    x
    Annual greenhouse gas emissions
    Annual greenhouse gas emissions
    In Durban negotiators agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 climate change treaty that expires next month. The protocol identified increased atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases, such as industrial CO2 emissions, as a major factor in climate change, and it set emission- reduction goals for industrialized countries.  

    However, delegates exempted emerging economies like China, India and Brazil, which are now among the world’s largest emitters.  

    Skirble report - Climate Change Conference Opens
    Skirble report - Climate Change Conference Opensi
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    This year in Doha, climate experts hope negotiators can come up with a more equitable formula for curbing carbon emissions.  

    Jennifer Morgan directs the climate and energy program for World Resources Institute, a Washington-based think tank.  She says striking a deal in Doha will depend heavily on the positions taken by the United States, which signed, but failed to ratify the Kyoto treaty. Morgan notes that President Barack Obama has pledged to pursue a new international climate agreement, though not one that threatens the U.S. economic recovery.

    “I think that with the re-election of President Obama, there is a high expectation here from countries that they will hear a new voice from the U.S., that it will be more progressive and try and move things forward more aggressively than it has done in the past,” she said.

    International Response to Climate Change

    2011 - Durban Platform for Enhanced Action accepted
    2010 - Cancun Agreements largely accepted
    2007 - COP13 parties agree to Bali Road Map
    2005 - First meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
    2001 - Rules for implementation of Kyoto Protocol established
    1997 - Kyoto Protocol formally adopted
    1995 - First Conference of the Parties (COP1) of the UNFCCC is held
    1994 - U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) enters into force
    More than 17,000 delegates and representatives from non-governmental organizations, business and academia are expected to attend the U.N. climate meeting, which for the first time is being held in a Persian Gulf state. 

    Executive Secretary of the Conference Christina Figueres told delegates to seize the opportunity.

    “On this historic occasion the Gulf region has an unequalled world stage to showcase the contributions made to reduce the Gulf’s food and water vulnerabilities, to put regional energy growth on a more sustainable path and to build a safer, stronger and resilient energy future for all countries,” he said.

    Climate expert Jennifer Morgan says petroleum-rich Qatar would be wise to take up that challenge and reduce its carbon footprint.  The host nation leads the world in per-capita greenhouse gas emissions. 

    “Right now there are no pledges from this part of the world towards reducing emissions, [or] building up renewable energy. And that’s a big gap," she said. "You have much poorer countries around the world already acting and pledging, and I think that is going to be one of the big things that people are looking to see, if there are any progressive actors in the region here.”

    Morgan says she’s worried that without leadership from the largest carbon-emitters, the Doha talks will stall.

    “You need those big players to come out and take on those actors that don’t want to move very fast," she said. "Right now it’s in a bit of a hovering mode with very few countries really willing to take very clear action. And it will stay in a hovering mode.”

    Meanwhile, the planet continues to warm.  A U.N. report out last week finds that based on current reduction pledges, the world is on course for a 3- to 5-degree Celsius warming over the next century, which scientists say could cause a steady rise in sea levels and trigger more frequent and severe floods, droughts, and storms.  

     The U.N. climate meeting continues through December 7.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: William Holder from: USA
    November 27, 2012 10:30 AM
    Let's not get our panties in a bunch. The MET Office recently confirmed there has been no significant warming in 16 years.

    by: William from: Argentina
    November 26, 2012 5:27 PM
    I want to propose about UN Climate Conference in Qatar, that the Kyoto Protocol iniciatives, really would to be put on the move, by the more than a hundred of the countries capable and disposed to reduce carbon emissions fasten for themselves, in spite grand emissors expressed reticencies and no will on Protocol suscription for economic and political reasons. Thanks.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.