Climate talks fail

SIX OF THE largest environmental and development organisations in the world issued a statement claiming the climate talks in Doha were “on the brink of disaster” and that “rich governments had 24 hours to urgently make a deal that reflects the scale of planetary emergency facing humanity”.


That was 24 hours ago. And as the talks near an end, it looks increasingly unlikely that any progress on a ‘new Kyoto’ deal will be made.


The group, which includes the likes of WWF, ActionAid and Friends of the Earth, said any deal must include scaled up public climate finance from 2013, deep emissions cuts and a mechanism to address loss and damage.


“Doha delegates are rapidly running out of time,” said Friends of the Earth’s international climate campaigner Asad Rehman. “We urgently need a route map for developing a low carbon future and a timetable for getting there – but developed nations such as the US are blocking progress.”


The host nation, Qatar, has also been criticised for poor leadership, with negotiations now likely to run late into Saturday.


According to the BBC, the Quatari president of the talks was asked by the EU representative to break up the plenary session to allow countries to sort out disputes in small groups. This brings back memories of the talks in Copenhagen in 2009 when some of the world’s leaders sat around small coffee tables negotiating. Those talks ended in a weak agreement that few understood.


And three years on, the Doha talks look like going the same way with the current texts, according to the Guardian, having little to with emissions reductions or support for developing nations and instead focusing on more talks and workshops.


Given that these talks represent the hinge point between the existing UN system – the 15-year-old Kyoto protocol – and a future system to be settled by 2015, environmentalists are clearly concerned.


“The reality is that this year, people in rich and poor countries experienced the full force of climate change,” said Samantha Smith, leader of the Global Climate and Energy Initiative at WWF. “The gap between this reality and the political commitment to address climate change is just too large. This is being reflected in the shamefully weak deal being negotiated in Doha.”