Earth Under Pressure

There is widespread concern that the emission targets for developed countries will in fact represent no new action, reports IMELDA ABANO from Doha


Over 17,000 delegates from 194 nations convened today for the next round of climate change talks amidst the accelerating climate change and extreme weather conditions being witnessed across the globe at Qatar’s capital Doha.


Delegates from the government, experts, non-government organizations and civil society groups expects “comprehensive and fair” from the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


In Doha, governments are expected to hammer out a renewed commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding agreement which aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, and expires this year.


Another contentious issue in the summit is the system on raising billions of dollars to help developing countries adapt to the changing climate. Rich countries are supposed to raise “fast-start finance”of $30 billion US dollars from 2010-2012 to help developing countries cut carbon emissions and to finance adaptation measures. Other long-term funds of $100 billion is also being discussed which should be raised before 2020 and channeled through the Green Climate Fund.


“A faster response to climate change is necessary and possible, both in terms of the international policy response and increasing action at national and sub-national policy level and from the global business,”UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres stated.


Figures added that governments will also decide on “how to stick to the task and timetable they set themselves to reach an effective, fair and ambitious universal climate agreement that is to be adopted in 2015 and to enter into force from 2020, and to raise the current inadequate global ambition to address climate change and its impacts before 2020.”


At the opening ceremony, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the former Qatari energy Minister and now the President of the two-week conference, said that the new round of talks herald a renewed stage of global concurrence on environmental strategies.


“This is a golden opportunity. It is a historic conference as it is of vital importance considering the items on its agenda. Thus it is a turning point in the negotiations on climate change,”Al-Attiyah said.


Philippines is being visited by an average of 20 typhoons. Flooding and sea level rise makes our country vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. “We are already headed towards food and environmental crises. If we do not do enough, we will not be able to deal with the impacts of climate change,” said Rowena Bolinas, coordinator of Akyon Klima Pilipinas, an ngo.


Last week, a World Bank report warned that by the end of the century, hundreds of millions of people living along coastal areas and cities would be affected by sea-level rise due to unrestrained global fossil fuel usage that would reach average temperatures by four degrees.


“There is widespread concern that the emission targets for developed countries will in fact represent no new action; that climate finance goals will not be set; and that rules governing accounting of emissions will be weakened,”said Meena Raman, negotiations expert at Third World Network said.


On the other hand, Mohamed Adow, International Adviser on Climate Change at Christian Aid said, “The conference is the last opportunity to secure agreement on ambitious targets and rules for the period 2012-2020.”

Imelda V Abano

Imelda V Abano

melda V. Abano is the President of the Philippine network of Environmental Journalists (PNEJ). She also sits as one of the Board of Directors of the US-based Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). With this SMS reporting project supported by Internews' Earth Journalism Network (EJN) she believes that environmental journalists are not only improving their reporting techniques, but also to inspire community engagement and provide access to news and information especially in incredibly isolated communities.