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Consensus Eludes Nations At Doha UN Climate Talks

DECEMBER 08, 2012

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The United Nations climate talks in Doha are struggling to reach an ambitions deal to combat global warming. The two-week UN conference in the Qatar capital of Doha was never meant to yield a pact to curb greenhouse emissions, which has been put off till 2015. But many developing nations are frustrated with the rich countries’ hesitation on everything from climate aid to emissions cuts.




The biggest fight revolves around "loss and damage," a new concept which relates to damages from climate-related disasters. Island nations and Least Developed Countries have been demanding a mechanism to deal with this but the USA has retreated over concerns that it may have to foot the clean-up bill due to its second biggest emissions behind China. Many scientists warn that extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy will become more frequent as the Earth warms, although it is impossible to attribute any individual event to climate change.






Poor countries demand a timetable on how rich countries will scale up climate change aid for them to $100 billion annually by 2020 - a pledge made three years ago - and how they will raise the money. But rich nations, including the USA, European Union and Japan, being mired in a financial crisis are not interested. The current text on financing agrees only to continue "scaling up" aid until 2020 and delays most detailed decisions until 2013.





Negotiators are also trying to agree on extending the Kyoto Protocol, an emissions reduction pact for rich countries that expires by year-end. A sticking point was whether to allow countries to carry over surplus emissions allowances into the next phase as well as to extend it for five or eight years. The US had never joined the Kyoto accord, while Japan, New Zealand, Canada and Russia don't want to be part of its extension, meaning it would cover just 15% of the global greenhouse emissions.





The UN talks aim at keeping temperatures from rising more than 2 Celsius, compared to pre-industrial times. Temperatures are already 0.8 Celsius above that level, says UN's top climate body. A recent World Bank projection shows that temperatures are set to rise by upto 4 Celsius by 2100.




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