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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    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