Doha Climate Summit

Updated: Nov 25, 2012, 18:23 PM IST

Shruti Saxena

Thousands of climate experts, government negotiators and activists will gather in Qatar - which has the world’s highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions (ironically), busy streets with SUVs, sky-high towers, constant air-conditioning to beat temperatures as high as 50 degree Celsius - from November 26th to December 7th for the 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The country will serve as host for the global climate conference to take place in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

The summit is officially referred to as the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

As the world is facing a grave climate change situation, the conference aims to carve an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to deal with global warming. It identifies the fact that carbon dioxide emissions, industrial emissions and other greenhouse gases affect the climate system.

Delegates meeting at Doha will aim at reviewing and framing a deal to slow down the process of climate change, such as floods, sandstorms, droughts, rise in sea levels and heat waves. The deal is meant to be reached by the end of 2015 and enter into force in 2020.

Who can share the dais?

Only nominated representatives of parties, observer states, accredited observer organisations and accredited members of the media can participate at COP18 and CMP8.

Those Parties to the Convention (COP) that are not Parties to the Protocol may join in as observers in the Meeting of the Parties (CMP).

The conference is expected to witness delegates from 194 nations, 7,000 representatives of non-governmental organisations and more than 1,500 members of the global and regional media making the COP18 conference the largest Qatar has ever hosted.

Key Issues:

Kyoto Protocol 2: The paramount issue that needs to be addressed this year is the Kyoto Protocol. The first commitment of Kyoto Protocol is set to expire by December-end of 2012, so, it is important to bring in effect a second Kyoto agreement commitment to abide by emission reductions that have been made by countries previously.

Deeper emission cuts: Another important issue is that the Doha climate summit must keep up with the momentum gained from the Durban Summit and the European Union (EU) and other countries must give more in order to keep up with their promise of limiting the global warming to 2 degrees as pledged earlier.

Climate fund: Although United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the world leaders to contribute and aid in financing the UN multibillion-dollar fund in order to fight climate change, but the road seems to be tough due to current global economic crisis, especially the Eurozone crisis and the financial downturn prevailing in the US. It is also evident that developing countries will pressurise developed nations to aid financing and technology to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change.

What should be done in Doha?

With climate change and extreme weather conditions being witnessed across the world like the vast devastation caused by ‘Superstorm Sandy’ in the US, floods in Africa and the Philippines, Arctic ice melting at fearsome rate etc, it is the need of the hour that we realise the stark truth that climate change problem is growing ‘grave’.

A report released by the World Bank says the present global mean temperature of 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels could rise to as high as 4°C by 2100, even if countries fulfil current emissions-reduction pledges, possibly resulting in extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks and life-threatening sea-level rise.

So, at Doha COP 18 conference, it has to be understood that it time to act without any further delay or face the wrath of Mother Nature in the near future due to irreversible changes brought by wrongful human activities.

Experts believe that the conference will serve as a key milestone to host a negotiation process between rich nations and developing countries to bridge the ‘ambition gaps’ in the climate change issues. But, they are not very much hopeful and the least that they expect is an agreement on ‘Kyoto 2’ in 2015.

At present, China, the United States and India are world’s three largest emitters of greenhouse gases, with China leading the chart and India at third place.

Let’s wait and watch if the political will of the world leaders attending the crucial climate conference exists or we will have to wait for some more climate disasters to serve as eye-openers.

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