The 18th annual Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded on 8 December, 2012 in Doha, Qatar. The meeting, which began on 26 November (and was expected to conclude on 7 December) was set to advance on the Durban Platform of last year’s COP that promoted, amongst other issues, to extend the Kyoto Protocol due to end this year and create a Green Climate fund for climate change mitigation in developing countries. During this round of climate talks, many decisions were adopted by the countries in attendance.
Of note, the Kyoto Protocol was extended until 2020 for a second commitment period, to be finalized by 2015, unfortunately several of the original signatories will not being renewing the agreement, a few of those countries are Canada, Russia, and Japan. The mobilization for a $100 billion a year fund by 2020 has been put forth but does not have date that it will come into effect, however a novel new mechanism called Loss and Damage will see that richer nations (with higher emissions) will compensate developing nations for the impacts of climate change.
There are a few articles that summarize the outcomes well:
- “Snapshot of wins and losses at the Doha talks” breaks down the major decisions and what these mean.
- Parts of “UN climate talks extend Kyoto Protocol, promise compensation” read like a dramatic play, so, in addition to being very informative, allow for a glimpse inside the negotiations.
- “Despair after climate conference, but U.N. still offers hope” provides some interesting additional perspective
From a more US-based perspective, the BBC article’s commentary on the effect of the destruction on the East Coast caused by Hurricane Sandy that positively influenced Congress to provide funds for Loss and Damage seemed to be perhaps, if not a move towards binding agreements or reductions on the part of the US, at least a cooperative step with the rest of the world. This might not be related, however, the USAID launched a new resilience policy which actually means more than dealing with the consequences of climate change, although the greater occurrence of natural disasters will increase the need for good work towards resilient populations.
The more skeptical article from Reuters, pointed out the irony of a major fossil fuel exporting country hosting talks on curbing climate change, but also had unique input on the attendance by CEO and business. This is attributed by the writers of the article to the role of the UN in global “pollution allowances” and by the Global Director for Energy and Climate Policy of Dow Chemical Company as due to more business leaders “talking about sustainability and resource efficiency”; whatever the case may be it is certainly a set in the right direction.