The 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol opened on Monday, 26 November and continues until Friday, 7 December 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar.
Here’s another recent article by Duncan Clark highlighting figures released in July showing that the average Chinese person’s carbon footprint is now almost on a par with the average European’s.
However, Duncan included an important caveat:
The figures – like most official data on carbon emissions – are based on where fossil fuels are burned. A recent UK select committee report argued that it was also important to consider the import and export of goods when considering national responsibility for climate change. This would affect today’s data, because previous studies have suggested that almost a fifth of Chinese emissions are caused by the production of goods for export.
President Barack Obama’s envoy to UN global warming talks signaled flexibility on paving the way for a new treaty by 2015, saying he’s open to a discussion on the issue of fairness over how nations tackle climate change.
Todd Stern, the State Department official leading the delegation at a United Nations climate conference in Doha, also acknowledged today that the US has more work to do on reducing fossil fuel emissions.
Doha may not seem the obvious place to hold the latest round of UN climate talks. But, as the fight over energy policy in the UK has revealed, nor is it where success or failure on climate change will be decided.
The goal of the climate negotiations is to agree by 2015 on a framework in which the governments of the world’s leading economies make internationally binding commitments to cut their carbon emissions fast enough to keep climate change within the agreed threshold of 2C.
Whether they accomplish this will be decided not by climate negotiators in the UN but by the politicians in capitals who give them their instructions.
We are well into the second and final week of the UN climate talks in Doha, but the outcome is still far from certain. Almost all major negotiation topics remain and we see little progress on overarching objectives. Ministers arrived this week to pick up the mantle. They must improve the negative trend.
In Durban, the global community, with the exception of the self-ostracised government of President Obama, agreed the Kyoto Protocol would continue. In part because the United States is not intervening, many countries generally expect success on this objective for Doha. Kyoto commitments end this year, so Kyoto Parties must agree on a new commitment period to start on January 1, 2013.
However, countries have yet to even sort out the length of the second period (five or eight years) and many have offered no pollution targets. Most of the 2020 targets so far are pitiful, such as the business-as-usual (BAU) 20% from the EU and the 0.5% from Australia.
Doha: India is fighting an increasingly difficult battle to prevent the principle of equity from being junked from the platform of negotiations at the crucial climate change talks here, as certain powerful blocs seek to erase the baggage of history from the story of global warming.
The principle of equity in deciding who does what and how much in dealing with climate change was a founding principle of the UN convention for climate change but over the years there has been unwillingness on the part of rich nations to adopt it into actions.
The larger developing countries like India and China who are among today’s major polluters but have minimal historical role in taking the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to its present level are coming under increasing pressure to share the burden of emission reduction.
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