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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid