Climate talks deadlocked in Doha – ‘We are very far behind what science tells us we should be doing’Posted by Jim at Tuesday, December 04, 2012
(AFP) – UN climate talks on Monday entered their final week amid rows over the Kyoto Protocol and funding for poorer countries, despite fresh warnings of the peril from greenhouse gases.
After six days of wrangling, nearly 200 nations remained far apart on issues vital for unlocking a global deal on climate change, said delegates at the talks in Doha, Qatar's capital.
Poor countries were insisting Western nations sign up to deeper, more urgent cuts in carbon emissions under Kyoto after the pact's first round of pledges expires at year's end.
They were also demanding the rich world commit to a new funding package from 2013 to help them cope with worsening drought, flood, storms and rising seas.
Both questions are key to a new treaty that must be signed by 2015 and enter into force in 2020 to roll back global warming.
"What gives me frustration is that we are very far behind what science tells us we should be doing," UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) chief Christiana Figueres told a press conference, adding though that she retained "hope."
Some delegates began to voice fears of deadlock ahead of ministerial-level talks, starting on Wednesday, to crown the annual negotiations under the UN banner.
A new study warned Sunday that Earth could be on track for warming above five degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 -- at least double the 2C (3.6 F) limit enshrined by the UN.
It follows other research which said polar ice-cap melt had raised sea levels by nearly half an inch (11 millimetres) over the last two decades, and that Arctic ice shrivelled at an unprecedented rate in 2012.
The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Maria van der Hoeven, warned on Monday that limiting warming to 2C (3.6 F) "is becoming more difficult and more expensive with every passing year."
"Without concerted action soon, the world is on track for a much warmer future with possibly dire consequences," she said in a press release.
"Time is running out to prevent the loss of entire nations and other calamities in our membership and around the world," added the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), gathering nations badly at risk from warming-induced rising sea levels.
Despite the warnings, observers say the Doha talks have become stuck.
One problem is discord within the European Union (EU) on whether individual nations should be allowed to hold on to unused greenhouse gas emissions quotas -- so-called "hot air".
These leftover allowances, estimated to total about 13 billion tonnes of CO2, were allotted under the first leg of Kyoto.
EU member Poland and some other countries insist on retaining their tradeable "hot air" into the followup Kyoto period -- a move vehemently opposed by the developing world and island states who say this will further raise greenhouse gases to dangerous levels. […]
By Alister Doyle; Editing by Nina Chestney and Pravin Char
3 December 2012
(Reuters) – Almost 200 nations are meeting in Doha until Dec. 7 to try to extend struggling U.N.-led efforts to slow global warming to avert ever more droughts, floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.
The talks have low-key ambitions even though a series of studies has highlighted rising greenhouse gas emissions. One projected a 2.6 percent rise for 2012, despite an economic slowdown.
Below follow some of the issues to be resolved this week.
Environment ministers will try to extend the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol, which binds almost 40 industrialised nations to cutting greenhouse emissions by at least 5.2 percent below 1990 levels during the period from 2008 to the end of 2012.
Most nations favour an extension of the protocol, since Kyoto is the only legally binding U.N. pact for addressing global warming and underpins U.N. carbon market mechanisms.
But backers among rich nations - led by the European Union and Australia - represent less than 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Russia, Japan, and Canada are pulling out, saying it is meaningless to set new targets when major emerging nations, such as China and India, will have no binding targets. The United States never ratified Kyoto.
An extension for Kyoto was agreed in principle at a U.N. meeting in Durban last year, but some details still have to be worked out.
The European Union is split about the terms of an extension. Poland wants rights to carry over unused pollution permits into a new period, a strategy that other nations say would flood the over-supplied EU carbon market and drive prices down further.
Many developing nations want Kyoto extended for only five years, while the European Union wants an extension to 2020.
In Durban, ministers set a 2015 deadline for working out a new, worldwide pact to fight climate change that would enter into force by 2020. But that is getting off to a slow start - no major nations have laid out new goals in Doha.
There are also semantic arguments. Emerging nations say that developed nations must lead the way since the Durban deal speaks of a new accord "under the Convention" - the 1992 treaty that enshrines the idea that rich nations should do the most.
Developed nations want fast-growing emerging nations to offer more since the Durban deal also speaks of an accord "applicable to all". China, the United States, India, and Russia are the biggest national emitters.
Developing nations want assurances of increasing aid in coming years to help them cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to damaging climate change.
Facing budget cuts at home, developed nations say they have kept a promise made at a summit in Copenhagen in 2009 to provide $10 billion a year in "fast start" aid from 2010-2012. Most are promising "continued" aid, without giving assurances of more.
But poor nations want aid to increase from 2013 since rich nations in 2009 also pledged that climate aid would total $100 billion a year by 2020. The problem is that no one spelt out what happens from 2013-2019.