Live from the UN Climate Talks in Doha, Qatar
TckTckTck and OneWorld are in stunning Doha, Qatar for the UN Climate Talks (also known as COP18) from November 26 - December 8. As delegates from 194 countries gather to work on a fair, ambitious and legally-binding global climate deal, we'll be tracking their progress right here.
Saturday, December 8
- Latest Headlines
NGOs condemn Doha Climate Gateway as vague and weak
Two minutes of gavel mayhem end two weeks of talks
US picks and chooses its favoured agreements
- Sat 2205: A strong reaction to the Doha Decision from Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace, speaking for the Climate Action Network.
- Sat 2200: "There were some winners here - the coal industry won here, the oil industry won here, the fossil fuel industry won here. This wasn't an environmental or science-driven discussion. This was a trade fair."
Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists offers a scathing reaction to the failure of the Doha climate talks.
- Sat 2140: It's not easy to summarise the decisions made in the so-called Doha Climate Gateway. The outcome documents themselves are incredibly complex. The UNFCCC press release is a little better, with a mere 4 pages.
Here's a few points from an unpalatable menu:
Emissions: those few countries participating in the new 8-year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol must review their pledges for cutting emissions no later than 2014.
Those countries not participating in the Kyoto Protocol must attend workshops in 2013 to discuss ambition and submit their throughts to the secretariat.
Climate Finance: donor countries are encouraged to continue the existing level of fast start finance for the period 2013-2015. For longer term finance, governments will continue a work programme. The Green Climate Fund is not expected to launch activities until 2014.
Loss and Damage: a pathway has been established for creation of institutional arrangements to improve protection against slow onset events such as rising sea levels. Extreme weather events are presumably excluded.
Hot Air Permits: there's no sign of any plans to cancel the hangover of credits from the Soviet fallout. Some key countries have made political promises not to purchase these credits.
- Sat 2120: Samantha Smith of WWF warns journalists not to listen to those countries which are about to proclaim the Doha outcome as a success. "The truth is that there is nothing in this deal which can keep emissions from going up as opposed to down," she says.
Sam Smith gives the first reaction to the comments by US special envoy, Todd Stern, in the immediate aftermath of the controversial sudden death gavelling of the Doha Decision:
"The United States basically excepted itself, or raised an objection to, or noted that any part of this Decision, especially the parts that relate to equity (and common but differentiated responsibilities) that was inconsistent with what was agreed in Durban (last year) - for them the Durban platform controls. It's actually all about what was agreed in Durban, That's what we like and that's what we want."
- Sat 2110: Most international NGOs are rightly critical of the world's leading countries for their failure to act at the Doha COP. Wael Hmaidan, Director of CAN International, calls on the NGOs themselves to merge their separate agendas for climate change and poverty reduction.
- Sat 2050: Tim Gore of Oxfam gives his reaction to the deafening silence on financial commitments in the Doha outcome agreement. "It's a betrayal of the commitments they made in Copenhagen," he said, referring to the promise brokered by President Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2009.
- Sat 2020: The blame game is just beginning but the events of today are consistent with the views of the much admired head of the Philippine delegation.
- Sat 2010: The Climate Action Network, representing over 700 global NGOs, has immediately condemned the "Doha Decision".
"These talks have failed the climate and they have failed developing nations," said Tasneem Essop, head of the WWF delegation.
The NGOs are concerned that the Doha talks have failed to deliver any cuts to carbon pollution at a time when the catastrophic effects of climate change are all too evidently fulfilling the predictions of scientists.
With the world's poorest countries facing exponentially rising costs of low carbon development and climate adaptation, Doha has done nothing to guarantee that climate finance will go up rather than down. "These are vague words and numbers," said Tim Gore of Oxfam.
There was however a welcoming word from the NGOs for the emergence of the Arab Youth Climate Movement, now positioned to demand leadership on climate change from governments in the region.
Here's the reaction from Friends of the Earth International:
- Sat 1930: While we listen to a succession of dazed speakers promising not to purchase unused hot air credits from the first Kyoto commitment period, as though swearing allegiance at a scout camp, I want to record Todd Stern's comments on the package "agreed" at COP18.
These claims for US exceptionalism will be the litmus test for the legitimacy of this embarrassing circus.
"Now we are concluding it (the LCA) - and I think have concluded it - and that's a good thing - Mr President I do need to tell you that there are a few paras in which I want to make a few short comments.
First with respest to para 2 of the LCA outcome doc (on equity and common but differentiated responsibilities) I want to make it clear that the United States does not accept this paragraph 2 to the extent that it is read in a manner that is inconsistent with the FCCC and the Cancun agreements."
He had a problem with the paragraph dealing with trade measures and then moved on the to tricky part of the ADP:
"Third regarding the last preambular paragraph of the decision on the ADP which references the principles of the Convention - the United States views this reference as having no effect whatsoever on the mandate for the negotiations that was agreed last year in Durban. This provision cannot and will not be the basis upon which the United States will engage on the work of the ADP and we will reject any attempt to invoke this provision as having any relevance to that mandate.
We would request that a report of this meeting reflect the various points in my statement according to the relevant agenda items."
Sat 1900: COP18 has exploded into life with its eccentric President wielding the gavel like a sledgehammer on a Qatari building site. Take the whole package or leave it is the first message; and the second declares it accepted as the gavel pounds the table.
Now he's allowing some statements. Todd Stern opens by dictating what the US will accept and what it will not accept - take that or leave that.
This will take some unravelling.
- Sat 1818, Doha: Truly, the delerium of waiting and waiting is starting to set in. Heather's latest update comes to you sung in verse.
- Sat 1755: This may look like a comfort break at COP18 but there's some quite heavy discussions going on in the various groups - presumably in search of a way forward in a process which appears super-glued to its own order papers. On the right are members of the UK delegation.
- But this is disconcerting, to say the very least.