World leaders and experts gather in Doha, Qatar, for the 18th Session on the United Nations Conference on Climate Change
| By Maureen Chigbo | Dec. 2, 2012 @ 12:11 GMT
WORLD leaders and experts on climate change have started discussing various issues threatening the environment at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, UNCCC. The jaw-jaw taking place in Doha, Qatar, from November 26 to December 7, has delegates from 194 nations, 7,000 representatives of non-governmental organisations, and more than 1,500 members of global and regional media. This year’s round of the UN Climate Change Conference, better known as COP18/CMP8, is the 18th session. It is the first time that the conference is being hosted in the Middle East and the second time it has been hosted by an Arab nation.
Christiana Figueres, UNCCC executive secretary, is confident that COP18 climate talks will be a success and will see to the adoption of a Kyoto Protocol second commitment period. Before the conference started, Figueres had called on Xi Jinping, China’s new leader, to ensure the country remains committed to a low-carbon future and engaged in the next round of negotiations.
Other topics to be discussed include EU ambitions for COP18, the Kyoto Protocol extension, climate finance, future of the long-term cooperative action under the Convention, AWG-LCA, and what ‘confidence building’ measures we can expect in the first week of the summit.
Already, the Alliance of Small Island States, the Least Developed Countries, and the Africa Group, which together represent over a billion people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, is urging countries to fulfill their responsibility to address the climate change crisis and outline some key expectations for the talks in Doha. They are concerned that the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol, which is the only international treaty that legally binds developed countries to lower emissions, and thus their firm assurance that action will be taken, is eroding before their eyes. This will require action in Doha that prioritises reducing emissions that is in line with the latest scientific recommendations.
The group wants the second commitment period to be for a length of five-years to avoid locking in insufficient ambition. It wants the use of surplus units from the first commitment period to be dramatically curbed in the second commitment period to protect the environmental integrity of the second commitment period. The group also wants parties to reaffirm that legally binding Quantified emission Limitation Reduction Objectives, QELROS, inscribed in Annex B for the second commitment period are required for all Annex I Parties wishing to participate in the mechanisms.
It also wants parties to affirm that the compliance system of the Kyoto Protocol applies to the second commitment period. Finally, Annex 1 countries that are not parties to the Kyoto Protocol should take ambitious commitments under the LCA. They are of the view that if hard decisions to cut emissions are not made by all developed countries, developing countries will be forced to confront issues of adaptation on a previously unimaginable scale.