The 2012 UN Conference on Climate Change (COP 18) – the outcome

As it has become a tradition with the UN climate talks each year, a
decision or final agreement wasn’t reached until after the official end.
The meeting was meant to close on Friday, 7th December 2012, but final agreements were only reached and made public on Saturday 8th.


For me, the two main outcomes were draft agreements on “The Kyoto Protocol” and  “Loss and Damage.”

The continuation of the Kyoto protocol was
secured for a further eight years, until 2020, "preserving this vital
framework of international law, and retaining rules on accounting for
emissions and trading between countries," as pointed out in a report in the Guardian. However, the Doha deal
confirmed that Kyoto will be wound up in 2020 and it will be replaced by
a single legal agreement that ends the outdated distinction
between "developed" and "developing" countries and requires all to make
commitments proportionate with their level of development, added the report.

The draft on “Loss and Damage” addresses loss and damage associated with climate change impacts
in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse
effects of climate change to enhance adaptive capacity. This means rich nations should compensate poor nations for losses due to climate change. Up to now, wealthy nations have agreed finance to help developing countries to get clean energy and adapt to climate change, but now they might accept responsibility for damage caused elsewhere due to climate change induced by their GHG emissions. "It is a breakthrough," said Martin Khor of the South Centre – an
association of 52 developing nations. "The term Loss and Damage is in
the text – this is a huge step in principle. Next comes the fight for
cash." Whether or not this will happen remains to be seen though!

The previous UN climate meeting in Cancún recognised GHG emission reduction
targets for industrialized and developing countries and countries
acknowledged the need for deep cuts in global emissions in order to
limit global average temperature rise to 2 °C. Parties agreed to keep
the global long-term goal under regular review and to consider
strengthening it during a review by 2015, including in relation to a
proposed 1.5 °C target. Speaking after Doha, the UN Secretary-General,
Ban Ki-moon, said he believes that far more needs to be done and he
calls on governments, along with businesses, civil society and citizens,
to accelerate action on the ground so that the global temperatures rise
can be limited to 2 °C. He said he will increase his personal
involvement in efforts to raise ambition, scale-up climate financing,
and engage world leaders as we now move towards the global agreement in
2015.

As expected, a lot went on outside the plenary rooms, too, with social
movements making sure they were present to stand against the lack of
urgency in the climate negotiations. The more people become aware of or
experience the effects of climate change, the greater the presence of
ordinary people at these climate conferences, and the greater the pressure
they put on leaders taking part in the event, and the more people talk
and blog about issues such as reducing GHG emissions and clean energy. This time there was even a
march to demand real leadership to tackle climate change!

Link to an analysis of the Doha outcome by The Guardian news online.

Link to BBC News article on Doha outcome.

Link to CABI's internet resource Environmental Impact.

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