Doha gateway becomes reality

Activists demonstrate at a conference centre seeking urgent action to address climate change at the U.N. climate talks in Doha on Saturday. Photo: AP  

The Doha gateway became a reality on Saturday evening with countries adopting all the proposals tabled except for the U.S. which rejected the idea of equity by refusing to be part of a new agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Russia rejected amendments to the Kyoto Protocol.

Russia had blocked the adoption of the amendment under the Kyoto Protocol on the issue of surplus emissions. After protracted discussion on a host of issues including taking forward the Durban platform, the second period of commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, issues of loss and damage, finance and commitment to mid-term finance by developed countries, the Doha gateway has not achieved a consensus and the U.S. which was not part of the Kyoto Protocol, is now refusing to be part of a new regime which will come into force post 2020.

The U.S. rejected the idea of equity enshrined in the principles of the Convention and will not be part of a future protocol on emission cuts.

Earlier Conference of Parties (COP) 18 president Abdullah Bin Hamid Al Hattiyah of Qatar pushed for a conclusion, while accepting that everyone was unhappy with the proposals, but at the same time wanting an outcome.

After a brief informal plenary in the morning where Mr. Al Hattiyah asked ministerial outreach groups on key issues to report back after consultation, the plenary convened briefly in the afternoon where no one said anything on the proposals under discussion which include finance, loss and damage, second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol, apart from long term cooperative action (LCA). It was decided then to take up the various proposals starting with the Kyoto Protocol and its second commitment period under the Conference of the Parties (COP) serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP).

The COP president, determined to finish the meeting on Saturday, said there could be no text to make everyone happy and if the texts were reopened for discussion, it would be like opening a Pandora’s box and take another two or three weeks to reach a conclusion. On what he described as the final day, he called on countries to accept what “we can offer,” while agreeing that it was not perfect.

After much heated debate through the night including a standoff between G-77 and the United States on the issues of loss and damage, finance and shared vision, the Doha Gateway to which Mr. Al Hattiyah referred to optimistically on Friday night seemed reachable, though the likely outcome smacked of a weak-kneed approach and even weaker commitments on all fronts. After protests by several countries on the main proposals up for debate and which were revised in fresh texts in the morning, the sticking points continued to be finance, where the new text remained vague on midterm commitments and the proposals on payment for loss and damage where an international mechanism had been suggested much to the consternation of the U.S., and the lack of ambition in emission cuts by developed countries.

“Key issue is money”

Kuomi Naidöo, international executive director of Greenpeace said, “The key issue is money and we are running out of time. Science is urging us to take quick decisions. We came here with low expectations and there are some main issues for instance, the countries jumping ship from the second period of commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and the question of finance.”

“The United States is probably going to spend $60 billion on damage to New Jersey alone after superstorm Sandy and it spends an equal amount if not more on its marching bands in the military,” he remarked.

The proposals for the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol too continued to be weak and linked to reviews and a ministerial process, said Harjeet Singh of Action Aid International.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 2:54:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/Doha-gateway-becomes-reality/article12439819.ece

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