little. It kept the UNFCCC
process intact, committed countries accounting for 15% of global carbon emissions to a second Kyoto commitment period and ‘completed’ the Bali (AWG-LCA) workstream. Completing this workstream was meant to allow future COPs to
concentrate on a streamlined ADP (Durban Platform) process for getting a deal which applies to all countries. Many of the unresolved issues were, however, transferred to the new forum so the much of the desired ‘simplification’ has
not been achieved.
This is the
probably the best that could be done at a time when Europe struggling
economically, the US is playing fiscal cliff-walking, the Middle East has
multiple armed conflicts and the new Chinese Leadership is not ready to address
international climate change politics.
But one feels the process is losing momentum with country positions becoming
more entrenched and the Civil Society and Business cheerleaders losing
The US remains a
drag on the whole process. The EU was
less united than at Durban with Poland being particularly awkward regarding its unused units from
the first Kyoto period. The Developing
World continues to fight for wording which recognises the inequity of its
position. It does not seem to recognise that
its ’victories’ over wording delay getting substantial funding to meet its mitigation and adaptation needs. The US, in particular, is resolved to block ‘unbalanced’ deals which put it at a competitive disadvantage
to China and other developing countries.
China, which played a constructive role at Cancun and Durban, reverted in
Doha to talking at length about equity rather than trying to get deals done.
Running through the
main issued carried forward from Durban:
1) The ‘Shared
Vision’: a global goal for substantially reducing
global emissions by 2050, and timeframe for the global peaking of
GHG based on a review which starts in 2013 and is informed by the IPCC’s 5th assessment
report (climate science due out Sept 2013 and final report Oct 2014), make recommendations to COP21 at the end of 2015.
Doha progress: Timetable for the review confirmed including workshops prior to COP19 and COP20.
2) Support for
developing countries: Finance:
a) Consider the work
program of the Standing Committee on finance covering 1) improving
coherence and coordination of climate change financing, 2) rationalization of
the financial mechanism, 3) mobilization of financial resources, and 4)
Measuring reporting & Verification (MRV) of support provided to developing
Doha progress: Work program agreed but no substantive decisions.
b) Endorse Songdo, Incheon City, South Korea as the host city of the Green Climate Fund.
where the money for the Green Climate Fund will come from.
Doha progress: Took note of the work program on long-term finance but did not make any decisions.
d) Further, as the
Fast Start money agreed at Copenhagen only went up to end 2012, deciding on the
level of funding for 2013 to 2019 and where it will come from.
Doha progress: Only ‘encouraged’
countries to provide money for 2013 – 2015 at the rate at least to the average
annual level with which they provided funds during the 2010-2012 fast-start
Germany, the UK, France, Denmark, Sweden and the EU
Commission separately pledged approximately $6 billion for this period. It was rumoured Qatar would get the Gulf States, which have very substantial financial reserves, to make a commitment but nothing materialized.
3) Support for
developing countries: Technology:
Doha progress: The UNEP-led consortium will host of the Climate
Technology Center (CTC), for an initial 5 years.
4) GHG Mitigation:
a) How to fund REDD+
b) A framework for
using markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote mitigation
c) A new
market-based mechanism to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote,
approaches and sector-specific actions (Aviation and Shipping)
5) Adaptation: Consider a work program on adaptation to the adverse
effects of climate change.
Doha progress: Agreed to establish institutional arrangements including finance, technology
and capacity-building to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of
climate change in developing countries.
6) Process:Get the AWG-LCA (Adhoc Working Group
on Long-term Cooperative Action) to complete its ‘Bali Action Plan’ work and
terminated. Work after COP18 should take place under the Durban Platform
for Enhanced Action. Will this happen?
Doha progress: As
noted above this was achieved in ‘form’ but many of the issues were transferred
to the Durban Platform so the desired simplification was only partially achieved.
7) Kyoto:The 2nd commitment period
Doha progress: 2nd
commitment period from 1 Jan 2013 to 2020 agreed. This is helpful in keeping CDM and other mechanisms working so they can be applied if/when the Durban Platform agrees a deal. The 2nd commitment period has, however, very little impact as:
It only applies to the EU,
Australia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Norway and Switzerland - totalling 15% of global emissions.
With the EU keeping its reduction target to 20%. This is now a modest commitment.
The surplus of credits in the EU ETS have drastically lowered the prices paid for CDM in developing countries.
For a more positive spin on the result see the UNFCCC's press release: http://unfccc.int/files/press/news_room/press_releases_and_advisories/application/pdf/121208_final_pr_cop18_cf.pdf
Qatar also has the highest carbon footprint per person in the world.
Qatari citizens get free water and electricity and are estimated to consume 1,200 litres per day. Nearly all the water for residential consumption comes from desalination plants powered by natural gas. An estimated 30 to 35% of the water from desalination plants is lost from leaks in the distribution system. This plus the high utilisation and limestone cap shortly below the surface has led to rising ground water which causes septic tanks to overflow. This 'foul' ground water has to be pumped out of building sites with much of the discharge going into the sea with minimal treatment.
Doha exhibits what Bill Barron calls 'The Great Disconnect'.
On one hand we have continued messages from research organisation of the severity of environmental crisis and the size of the actio required. Three more reports:
The European Space Agency and NASA have reconciled their numbers on the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Caps. The result shows ice caps, which had previously contributed very little to sea level risk, are now loosing mass at an accelerating rate. http://imbie.org/about-the-project/sea-level-rise/
But the negotiations seem to be making very little progress. Issues such as REDD and Bunker Fuels put on one side till next year.
As LSE (Lord Stern) notes: The overall pace of policy change is recklessly slow. We are acting as if change is too difficult and costly and delay is not a problem. The rigidity of the processes under the UNFCCC and the behaviour of participants hinder progress. www2.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/publications/Policy/docs/transition-low-carbon-economy.pdf
The IEA appears to agree. Its World
Energy Outlookwww.worldenergyoutlook.org/publications/weo-2012/#d.en.26099 estimates that with policies governments say
they are going to follow global energy demand will grow by more than one-third
over the period to 2035 with emissions corresponding to a long-term average
global temperature increase of 3.6 °C.
It also notes that without CCS no more than one-third of proven reserves
of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2C
extent of the disconnect between what is needed to stabilize the climate and
current plans is brought out by a World Resources Institute (WRI) ‘Coal Risk Assessment’ working paper ‘http://pdf.wri.org/global_coal_risk_assessment.pdf. This notes that nearly 1,200 new coal fired
power stations are proposed and that Australia, which is already the biggest
coal exporter in the world, proposes to triple its export capacity to 900
million tonnes a year.
is not to say ‘nothing is being done’. Europe
has done a great deal, it is encouraging that California has made its first
auction on credits under its carbon trading scheme and China’s action on RE,
Nuclear and energy efficiency is substantial.
But these are not enough. They
are just part of the action that the IEA assumes happens when it predicts
3.6C. As pwc concludes in ‘Two Late for
Two Degrees’ we must now prepare for a substantially warmer world. Perhaps more of a focus on adaptation
including the coastal cities which must be abandoned over the next 200 years
will cause those at Doha to be more willing for their countries to pay for
mitigating carbon emissions.