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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs