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Doha: One giant talkfest....with another to follow

Climate change seems to have alive and well as hot air pervaded the just-concluded UN Climate Change Conference in Doha.    What was achieved in 2 weeks of talk?   Very little, other than to have determined to have yet another conference.    One would have thought that ostriches (with their heads in the sand!) could have done better.

"The UN’s climate summit in Doha was a success — on one front at least. A decision by the Qatari organisers to make it a “paperless” summit saved more than 250 trees.

The summit didn’t save much else.

There was little to celebrate in Doha, the capital of the world’s highest emitter per capita and quite possibly the globe’s largest construction site. The two-week summit, which finished on Saturday, did tie up some loose ends, kicked a few cans down the road on sensitive issues such as finance for developing countries, managed to cap the extent of hot air that could dilute the ambition of future treaties, and reached a tentative agreement on “loss and damage”, a sort of insurance mechanism for the disasters that may beset the poorest and most vulnerable nations.

It also sealed the implementation of a second period of the Kyoto Protocol, the only effective climate treaty in place, which will begin in three weeks with even fewer members and lower ambition than the first version.

But on the substantive issues, the need to ramp up action and meet a rapidly closing window to cap global warming at a maximum 2 degrees, it achieved nothing apart from creating another avenue to a hoped-for treaty — this time called the Doha Gateway.

Not even the spate of scientific reports, such as that of the WMO, UNEP, the IEA, and PwC, the impact of Hurricane Sandy, or even a devastating typhoon in the Philippines, and the emotional response of its delegate in the final days of the talks, could spur governments into action."


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