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Running Doha wrap up - the key stories from the climate talks

  • 07 Dec 2012, 09:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff

COP17

The UN climate change meetings always add a note of excitement to news coverage of climate change, and Doha has been no different. Here's a running wrap up of the key developments as the conference enters its last day.

Major emitter standoff

Todd Stern, the US Special Envoy to the meeting, told reporters yesterday that the United States is on track to meet President Obama's own target of a 17 per cent emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2020. The Union of Concerned scientists points out that this is contrary to evidence provided by the government's own Energy Information Agency, which predicts a 9% reduction.

Meanwhile, China has promised to make a 'due contribution' to a global effort to reduce emissions, but maintains that developing countries are 'the victims' climate change. The Chinese delegation pointed to the 200 trillion yuan (£200 billion) investment that China has made so far in cutting emissions as evidence of its progress.

Developing country tears

A member of the Filipino delegation broke down in tears on the floor of the conference this morning as the frustration of days without agreement took its toll. The delegation called for agreement in the 'precious few hours' of the meeting remaining in an emotional plea for nations to overcome their differences and renew their efforts to combat climate change.

Criticising Qatar

There has also been general disappointment in the leadership of host nation, Qatar. While Qatar announced a new research centre there has not been any indication that they will set new emissions reduction targets, as many had hoped.

Money talk

There has also been a lot of arguing over how any deal to help developing countries meet the costs of climate change will be financed. Developing countries want firm commitments from the developed nations that they will honour a three-year old pledge to contribute $100 billion annually by 2020. A request has also been tabled for $60 billion of 'interim' financing to add to the $30 billion of 'fast-start' financing promised by the end of this year.

Monckton on a camel

One of the more bizarre spectacles to grace the meeting was the sight of climate skeptic campaigner Lord Monckton on camelback. He was appearing as 'Monckton of Arabia' to encourage the delegates to re-think their efforts.

Monckton subsequently posed as a delegate from Myanmar, earning boos from the conference floor after claiming global warming had stopped, and calling for a review of the science of climate change. Posing as a delegate appears to have got him evicted from the conference centre and barred from the UNFCCC process for life, and with his accreditation gone, it appears he's been asked to leave Qatar.

A draft agreement

Finally, for the moment, twitter is alive with news of a draft agreement. The draft re-affirms a commitment to keeping temperature change below two degrees, but fails to outline any more specific targets to achieve the goal.

Late night

It looks as though the talks are set to continue late into the night, report Reuters. Al-Attiyah has called for the next stock-taking session to be at 11pm local time (8pm UK time). Delegations will continue to work on drafts in the meantime.

Draft rejected

The Guardian report that agreement over the wording of a draft text circulated this morning is still failing to materialise. Negotiators say that they key points of four draft texts in circulation need to be included in the final text in some form.

Arguing over 'hot air'

Another ongoing argument is over what happens to carbon permits that were allocated under the Kyoto Protocol. Poland and Russia were given free permits to keep their heavy industries running. But the permits were no longer needed when Eastern European industry collapsed. That meant the permits could be sold without the countries having to make any effort to reduce emissions. The permits then become known as 'hot air'.

But Poland is refusing to surrender its permits. The EU is working towards a compromise that would allow Poland to continue to sell the permits, but for no buyer to purchase more than 2.5 per cent of Poland's quota.

Activists deported

Reuters report that two activists have been deported from Qatar following a demonstration in the conference centre. The activists held a banner reading 'Qatar, why host not lead?'.

Bad hosting

The activists are not the only ones frustrated with the hosts of the conference. The President of the Conference, Abdullah bin-Hamad al Attiyah, has been accused of failing to take the control of the meeting, report BusinessGreen. While the EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard is pushing for a single Ministerial meeting, Attiyah still refuses to convene one.

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