Conservative pundits from the Heritage Foundation declared the 2012 U.N. Climate Conference in Doha, Qatar a failure. Supporters point to expanded commitments at a conference that was only expected to be a planning session for a “Big Deal” in 2015. Was Doha a success or Failure? You decide.
Detractors cited failure to hit Kyoto Protocol defined emissions objectives, lack of international support (U.S. refusing to ratify and exceptions for developing nations such as China and India) and an unworkable Kyoto structure that placed all emissions targets on a few dozen countries. They called for the U.S. government to “more accurately determine the severity of climate change and verify U.N. claims.” They continued saying the U.S. should work “through informal arrangements….undertaking appropriate steps toward a cost-effective reduction in warming.”
In an expansion of the definition of “beggar-thy-neighbor” which is an economics phrase describing how one country gains advantage at the expense of other countries, they said we should not try to mitigate global warming by “going it alone”. Their suggestion was it was “Better to remove unnecessary regulations on fossil fuels and block any attempts to implement a carbon tax.” In other words, we should act like global warming is not yet proven, slow our efforts to informal discussions with others and drill baby drill.
Advocates of climate change declared the meeting a success citing the following agreements accomplished at the Doha conference:
- Attending countries altered the structure of future negotiations from two tracks (one each for developed and developing countries) to just one negotiating forum ostensibly limiting future exceptions for developing nations.
- The EU and some other countries extended the Kyoto Protocol which was set to expire at the end of 2012, until 2020 and the EU, Australia, and Norway increased their carbon cutting targets. The Kyoto Protocol is the only existing treaty that requires emission cuts.
- Developed nations gave recognition to poor countries for the “loss and damage” they face from the ravages of climate change. This first ever concession opens the way for developed nations which have arguably caused climate change to possibly one day compensate poor countries for efforts they must take to repair the “loss and damage” incurred.
- Attendees at the conference set out a schedule of necessary steps to be taken between now and 2015 as a work plan to prepare for negotiation of the “Big Deal” in Paris.
In the shadow of U.S. economic stresses, political gridlock, and inaction, the world owes a debt of gratitude to the EU, Australia, Norway and other nations for continuing the fight to control global warming. We can only hope the US finally provides leadership in 2015 (the second Obama term) for the world’s efforts to limit rising temperatures.
On a related topic, scientists are afraid the world has passed the opportunity to limit the climate change temperature rise to only + 2°. Accordingly the World Bank sponsored a report entitled “Turn Down the Heat” which was prepared by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Climate Analytics. The report states the world is on a path to a + 4° temperature rise by the end of the century and predicts additional dire consequences.
Use the following links to obtain more information:
http://search.worldbank.org/all?qterm=turn%20down%20the%20heat Select first entry “Climate Change Report Warns of Dramatically Warmer World This Century” and read.
Scroll down farther and select 5th entry, “Turn Down the Heat Executive Summary English”, and read.