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COP 18: Doha Climate Summit brings no solution to climate change

 

Friday December 07, 2012

Doha Climate Change Summit, COP 18, Global Environment  
 

"The hopes raised across the world after US President Barack Obama’s post-election speech and his statement on occurrence of the super storm Sandy are almost shattered in the Doha summit for climate change ‘COP-18’. It’s to be noted that issues like climate change and global warming became suddenly relevant, politically, and featured as subjects of election campaign only after the super storm Sandy hit the US east coast when America was closing the day of presidential elections."

 
Basudev Mahapatra  
 

COP 18, the global climate summit held at Doha, seems to become another summit of disagreement and displeasure as ‘blame game’ between rich and developing nations has overridden the summit’s basic theme of accelerating solutions to climate change.

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of United Nations (UN), clearly targeted developed nations while saying, “Rich countries are to blame for climate change and should take the lead in forging a global climate pact by 2015, a deadline that must be met.” The head of the UN also said, it was "only fair and reasonable that the developed world should bear most of the responsibility" in fighting the gradual warming of the planet.

 

While Ban's remarks echoed the concerns of China and a few other developing countries, majority of rich nations including the US and European Union cited that most of the emissions now come from the developing world and China has overtaken the US to become the world's top carbon polluter. Leaders of rich nations rather pleaded to lift the firewall between developed and developing countries that guided the climate process since

last two-decades as it no longer remains relevant in a dramatically changing world economy.

Issue of finance

Finance emerged as the most contentious issue. Pressing that "the core issue is finance," China's chief negotiator Su Wei said. "If we can solve that then we have a good foundation for others." But US’ denial of having any obligation to provide cash till 2020 only further infuriated the developing countries.

Mentioning that pledges for finance are yet to be fulfilled, India’s deputy minister in the environment ministry, Mira Mehrishi, said, "No funds have flown to the green climate fund despite three years of its creation. This is one task that must engage our greatest attention. Resources need to be found and provided without casting a burden on those who are adversely affected by climate change. This is a matter of urgency."

Only Britain and Germany, among more than 20 rich countries, have pledged, so far, to provide cash until 2015 and, may be, even after.

India presses on Equity

In the climate summit at Doha, India reiterates its stand taken in 2011, i.e., “equity is central to any debate on climate change”.

Chief Indian negotiator at the 18th UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change, R R Rashmi, said while speaking in a side event organized by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and the Indian ministry of environment and forests, “In Doha, there is a general sense of agreement on the principal of equity per se. The challenge now will be to make the world agree on operationalising equity – equity cannot remain just an idea, it should become an operational principal.”

“Equity, in fact, is the pre-requisite for effective action in this area – there can be no effective deal at Doha without equity. However, in global negotiations, equity has become an inconvenient word,” said Sunita Narain, director general of CSE adding, “And the Durban Platform should give us the foundations to build on. It should create conditions so that the world can move to low-carbon, and leapfrog to cleaner technologies,”

“The Indian government should take a principled stand and walk out of the Doha climate talks if equity is not made a part of the deal,” Sunita urged.

In Doha, both Ms Narain and Mr Rashmi agreed that the principle of equity would establish the road map for now and future. "Developed countries are not fulfilling their obligations and are trying to rewrite the climate convention at Doha," they pointed out.

US stand frustrating

"Just weeks ago, President Obama's post-election victory speech displayed a vision of a second-term priority for addressing climate change,” said Kumi Naidoo about the stand of US at Doha while strongly reacting to the statements made by the US negotiators saying, "It is disrespectful of President Obama to inflict on us negotiators who act as if the comments he made after his election were never made."

The hopes raised across the world after US President Barack Obama’s post-election speech and his statement on occurrence of the super storm Sandy are almost shattered in the Doha summit for climate change ‘COP-18’. It’s to be noted that issues like climate change and global warming became suddenly relevant, politically, and featured as subjects of election campaign only after the super storm Sandy hit the US east coast when America was closing the day of presidential elections.

The hopes of the world sustained, even, till the US delegation boarded the plane to Qatar at the end of November, post presidential polls, for the global climate summit, Jennifer Morgan, a climate expert at the World Resources Institute, offered a bit of unsolicited advice saying, "I think there will be expectations from countries to hear a new voice from the United States," quoted Jorg Schindler, in New Hopes Dashed that came in Spiegel International’s online edition. Schindler also opined that Morgan's appeal seemed to have gone unheeded when US President Barack Obama's climate envoy Todd Stern stood before reporters in Doha for the first time and “did what he has been doing for years: He lowered expectations.”

“The US”, Todd Stern claimed, "has done quite significant things" on the climate front "in the president's first four years" citing at the improvements in building insulation as well as federal support for promoting renewable energies. The statement made United States’ unwillingness to make significant concessions in the global climate conference.

18th Doha summit made no significant progress on any single issue. With most of the EU member states avoiding to play a major leadership role and the US appearing uninterested, the Doha summit moves to end as another summit without making any difference.

References:

1. New Hopes Dashed: US Disappoints at Doha Climate Talks, Jorg Schindler, Spiegel International

2. Frustration over lack of climate cash for poor countries rises in Qatar, John Vidal, The Guardian

3. Ban Ki-moon: rich countries are to blame for global warming, Associated Press Report published in The Guardian

4. WORLD CLIMATE SUMMIT 2012, World Climate Ltd.

 
 

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