Doha climate deal hits middle of everyone's acceptance

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 10, 2012
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Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, president of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), attends a joint press conference with UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres (not in the picture) at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, capital of Qatar, on Dec. 8, 2012. UN climate talks in Doha adopted Saturday a package of drafts of low-ambitious second period of Kyoto Protocol and weak commitment on climate finance after overnight negotiations on differences between developed and developing countries. [Xinhua]

After around-the-clock haggling over the past 13 days in Doha, Qatar, exhausted delegates from 194 countries finally found an agreeable middle course to tackle the pressing issue of climate change.

The president of the climate conference, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Atiiyah, sounded his gavel on all of the measures one by one in the last minutes of the UN session Saturday. That came before they could be dragged into additional fruitless debate. The deal is not perfect but at it's least acceptable.

Developing countries were satisfied with the agreement that urges developed countries to boost their funding for poor countries' climate plans from 30 billion U.S. dollars per year in 2010-2012 to 200 billion dollars annually in 2013-2020.

The latest UN climate conference extended the Kyoto Protocol, the only internationally binding treaty on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, to the end of 2020.

In response to a call from poor countries and those most vulnerable to climate change-related damage, delegates from the developed world gave the go-ahead for the creation of "institutional arrangements" for loss and damage in the next round of climate talks in Warsaw, Poland.

Unfortunately, countries like the United States, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand still stood outside the Kyoto Protocol and refused to commit to any binding agreement to cut CO2 emissions.

The developing nations also complained that large promises of money from rich donors have not materialized. No agreement or timetable surfaced at the Doha talks on how to bridge the funding gap from next year, with the United States, Europe and other developed nations citing an economic slowdown as the excuse for refusal to provide more.

Another unsolved divergence is that countries like Russia, Belarus, and Poland, with surplus emissions allowances, or "hot air," from the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period, demand banking the credits. Europe, Australia and Japan, however, said they were not buying.

Xie Zhenhua, the head of the Chinese delegation to the Doha talks, said wealthy countries were trying to water down the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" (CBDR) in order to evade their historical responsibility for climate change.

Greenhouse gas emissions, set to rise 2.6 percent this year, are more than 50 percent higher than in 1990.

Global temperatures have already risen by 0.8 Celcius degrees since pre-industrial times. Two degrees is viewed as a threshold to dangerous climate change, including stronger storms, more heatwaves, droughts, melting icebergs and rising sea levels.

The impending danger sounds a big alarm for mankind and tests the collective efforts and wisdom of the world.

The UN climate talks have become a headache every year. Low-efficiency talks coupled with endless bickering have wearied the delegates, world media and the public.

It is understandable that different countries of varied levels of development are widely divided on their capabilities to deal with climate change and their goals.

Compromise can bring about positive results. But the world is expecting active engagement and strong commitment of all countries, especially the global leaders, to save the planet.

Those countries that only tend to self interests instead of group ones, short-term interests rather than long-term strategy, will merely impair the well-being of mankind and inflict losses on their own.

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