UN summit extends Kyoto Protocol to 2020 – YNET (Associated Press)
Weak plan to save Kyoto pushes climate talks to brink – DAILY STAR
Deal reached in Doha to extend Kyoto protocol – AL JAZEERA

UN summit extends Kyoto Protocol to 2020 – YNET (Associated Press)

Qatar climate change summit defies rumors of failure, ratifies 1997 greenhouse gas emission reduction pact for next seven years – but barely

Almost 200 nations extended on Saturday a weak UN plan for fighting global warming until 2020, averting a new setback to two decades of UN efforts that have failed to halt rising world greenhouse gas emissions.

The extension of the Kyoto Protocol keeps it alive as the only legally binding plan for combating global warming even though it will cover developed nations whose share of world greenhouse gas emissions is less than 15%.

The world’s poorest countries, inundated by rising seas and worsening disasters, made a last ditch plea for financial help early Saturday as negotiators at United Nations climate talks struggled 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 global climate pact to curb emissions of greenhouse gases – that has been put off until 2015.

But many developing nations said they were increasingly frustrated with the lack of ambition from rich countries on everything from climate aid to the emissions cuts they will make until 2020.

Talks were set to end Friday but they continued into early Saturday with negotiators set to meet in several hours to assess progress.

“The expectations we had for a great deal in Doha is no more. That is dust,” said Mohammed Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi who is a lead negotiator for a coalition of poor nations called the Least Developed Countries or LCD.

“We are facing day in and day out the adverse effects of climate change,” he said. “Nobody is nearby to rescue them. You see President Obama asking for huge funding for Hurricane Sandy … But we won’t get that scale and magnitude of support.”

The biggest fight early Saturday swirled around what is called “loss and damage,” a relatively new concept which relates to damages from climate-related disasters. Island nations and LCD have been pushing for some mechanism to deal with this but the United States has pushed back over concerns they might be held liable for the cleanup bill since they are the world’s second biggest emitter behind China.

Many scientists say extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Sandy’s onslaught on the US East Coast, will become more frequent as the Earth warms, although it is impossible to attribute any individual event to climate change.

“It’s becoming the last straw for the small island states, the least develop countries,” said Alden Meyer, of the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Seasoned negotiators are coming out of that room in tears, very emotional. They are starting to say what are we doing here? What is the point of these negotiations?”

Giving up on tough measures?

The tought negotiations, which were rumored to be on the brink of failure, activists said they were giving up hope that any deal would include tough measures to protect the planet from the effects of global warming.

“The deal in Doha is a recipe for disaster. The deal in Doha is a coffin for the planet,” said Michael Dorsey, a professor at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, speaking outside the negotiations.

“We will see the failure to have emission targets sufficiently high enough. We are going to see the failure to move critical resources to countries on the margin in the developing world who desperately need resources to get out ahead of the unfolding climate catastrophe that is playing out around the planet.”

Most of the key disputes revolved around money.

Poor countries, especially a coalition of island nations and African countries, came into the talks demanding a timetable on how rich countries will scale up climate change aid for them to $100 billion annually by 2020 – a general pledge that was made three years ago – and how they will raise the money.

But rich nations, including the United States, members of the European Union and Japan remain in the midst of a financial crisis and were not interested in detailed talks on aid at this meeting.

‘Kyoto Protocol extension barely reached’

The current text on financing agrees only to continue “scaling up” aid until 2020 and delays most detailed decisions until 2013. It includes no midterm targets or mechanisms — such as a tax — for raising the revenue.

One of the sticking points 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 and whether there would be a trigger requiring countries to commit to more ambitions emissions targets at a certain date.

The US never joined the Kyoto accord, while Japan, New Zealand, Canada and Russia don’t want to be part of its extension, meaning it would only cover about 15% of the world’s emissions of greenhouse gases.

Governments have set a deadline of 2015 to agree on a wider deal that would include both developed and developing countries, which now produce a majority of the world’s emissions. As part of that, delegates were also trying to make progress on the 2015 work plan and close loopholes that would bring all countries into one negotiating path.

The negotiations were also hampered, delegates and activists said, by a lack of leadership from Qatar. Draft agreements were not ready until the last second and Qatar did nothing to bring together key ministers to hash out a grand deal as past presidents have done.

The goal of the UN talks is to keep temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 Celsius), compared to preindustrial times. Temperatures have already risen about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 Celsius) above that level, according to the latest report by the UN’s top climate body.

“There is a huge lag between the international policy response and what science is telling us,” UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told The Associated Press. “We know that science tends to underestimate the impacts of climate, and so if anything, that gap continues to grow.”

Reuters contributed to this report

Weak plan to save Kyoto pushes climate talks to brink – DAILY STAR

DOHA: Weak proposals to extend until 2020 a shrivelled U.N. plan to fight climate change pushed marathon talks to the brink of collapse on Saturday.

Delegates from nearly 200 nations spent hours poring over a package deal put forward by the host, OPEC member Qatar, that would also postpone until 2013 a row over demands from developing nations for more cash to help them cope with global warming.

Developing nations were divided over the modest deal that all sides said fell short of recommendations by scientists for tougher action to try to avert more heatwaves, sandstorms, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.

“They face two unpalatable options – accept a weak text or risk the collapse of the entire talks,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The draft deal would extend the Kyoto Protocol for eight years. It had obliged about 35 industrialised nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of at least 5.2 percent below 1990 levels during the period from 2008 to 2012.

Kyoto will expire at the end of 2012 if it is not extended and has been weakened by the withdrawals of Russia, Japan and Canada. The United States never ratified it, and its backers, led by the European Union and Australia, account for just 15 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions.

Expiry of Kyoto would leave the world with no legally binding deal to confront global warming, merely a patchwork of national laws to rein in rising carbon emissions.

The two-week U.N. meeting in the Qatari capital had been due to end on Friday but the talks went on past midday on Saturday.

“I believe this is a package we can all live with,” conference president Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said as he presented the Qatari proposal early on Saturday.

Most importantly, the proposal would keep alive hopes for a new, global U.N. deal to fight climate change due to be agreed by 2015 and enter into force by 2020 after past failures.

The 2015 deal would set goals for all nations, including emerging economies led by China and India that have no targets under Kyoto.

Qatar proposes that parties to Kyoto would have to revisit their targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2014, perhaps to make tougher goals, a concession to developing nations that had wanted Kyoto extended by only five years.

In a blow to the demands of developing nations for a clear timetable for a promised tenfold increase in aid to $100 billion a year by 2020, the draft deal merely agreed to put off decisions to 2013.

“The only thing that negotiators seem to be able to agree on is to defer difficult decisions to the next meeting,” said Kumi Naidoo, head of environmental group Greenpeace.

The United States, Europe and other developed nations, facing an economic slowdown at home, have refused to set a timetable for a rise in aid.

The document also outlined possible ways to meet developing nations’ demands for a new mechanism, including insurance, to help them confront losses and damage caused by rising sea levels or storms linked to climate change.

“On balance it seems to be fair,” Brazilian negotiator Luiz Alberto Figueiredo said of the package. “I think everybody won.”

World carbon dioxide emissions are set to rise by 2.6 percent this year, and are more than 50 percent higher than in 1990. Recent growth has come mostly from emerging nations, led by China and India.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/International/2012/Dec-08/197712-still-no-deal-as-un-climate-talks-go-into-extra-time.ashx#ixzz2EhmUcDCB
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

Deal reached in Doha to extend Kyoto protocol – AL JAZEERA

Delegates end conference with agreement to keep alive legally binding plan limiting greenhouse-gas emissions until 2020.

UN climate talks in Doha have come to a point of agreement on the extension of the Kyoto protocol, despite an objection from the Russian Federation.

After 36 hours of non-stop negotiation, delegates from nearly 200 nations in the Qatari capital agreed on Saturday to extend the protocol limiting greenhouse-gas emissions until 2020.

Almost immediately after Qatar’s energy minister announced the agreement, Russia stated its objection.

Al Jazeera’s Nick Clark, reporting from the conference venue, said Russia’s objection showed that despite the agreement, “not everybody is totally happy” with the outcome of the two-week-long conference.

The extension of the 1997 UN-backed Kyoto Protocol will keep it alive as the only legally binding plan for combating global warming even though it will cover developed nations whose share of world greenhouse-gas emissions is less than 15 per cent.

The 27-member European Union, Australia, Switzerland and eight other industrialised nations agreed to the binding emission cuts by 2020. Each signatory had already legislated individual targets.

The US has refused to ratify Kyoto. The protocol also excludes major developing polluters like China, the nation with the highest rate of pollution, and India.

‘Modest but essential’

“It is a modest but essential step forward”, Connie Hedegaard, European climate commissioner, said at the conclusion of Doha Climate Gateway.

A statement released by the office of Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, said while he supported the outcome of the Doha conference as a positive step, he “believes that far more needs to be done and he calls on governments, along with businesses, civil society and citizens”.

Kumi Naidoo, executive director of the environmental activist group Greenpeace, said civil society was especially disappointed with the outcome of the talks.
Follow our in-depth coverage of Doha COP18 negotiations

Speaking to Al Jazeera in Doha, he said with “no emissions targets anywhere near what the science” is calling for, what the agreement delivered was “at best, baby steps”.

He said that despite the presence of delegates from key global players, “the winners have largely been” the fossil-fuel industries – oil, coal and gas companies.

The talks, scheduled to end on Friday, were extended into Saturday as delegates from rich and poor nations disagreed on funding.

Finance remains an issue as “the United States and the bigger states don’t want to make concessions for poorer states”, Al Jazeera’s Clark said.

Qatar, the conference’s host, had originally introduced the idea of extending the Kyoto Protocol, which would have expired by the end of the year.

Question of funding

It also suggested putting off until 2013 a dispute about demands from developing nations for more cash to help them cope with global warming.

The issue of funding to help poor countries deal with the fallout from global warming and convert to clean energy sources complicated the haggling by envoys.

“We cannot close the [negotiations] without … finance,” Pa Ousman Jarju, Gambian negotiator, said on Friday.

Developed countries are being pressed to show how they intend to keep a promise to raise climate funding for poorer nations to $100bn per year by 2020 – up from a total of $30bn in 2010-2012.

Developing countries say they need at least another $60bn between now and 2015 – starting with $20bn from next year – to deal with a climate change-induced rise in droughts, floods, rising sea levels and storms.

But the US and the EU have refused to put concrete figures on the table for 2013-2020 funding, citing tough financial times.