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Climate Change


Doha Getaway: World on line for new regime, US on track to escape

Indrajit Bose, Doha

Two weeks of intense climate negotiations ended rather dramatically at Doha on December 8, 2012. The countries gathered made sure they achieved the minimum required to let Qatar claim the meeting was not an abject failure. The long-term cooperative action or LCA track was closed. A second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was agreed upon. And, a plan of work was laid out for the post 2020 agreement under the Durban Platform. Doha, however, with these three decisions, failed to do more than give the world a fig leaf to hide the fact that the environmental imperative of ambitious and quick action to reduce emissions had not been met.

Doha outcome adopted. US reserves its right to walk out later

Indrajit Bose, Doha
 
December 8: 7.40PM
US does a Kyoto again. It rejects the idea of equity by refusing to associate itself to any new agreement that is under the Convention.  
 
December 8: 7.10PM  
Russia outrightly rejects proposal. G77 and China, BASIC groups support Doha outcome. Despite Russia's continued protests against the President's decision, President says "it was my sense that the decision reflects the will of party as a whole to resolve Doha". 
 
December 8: 6:58PM 
Russia challenges the gavelling and the US says it rejects certain parts of the decision.
 
December 8: 6:46PM
Doha gateway adopted. Resounding applause. All in a flash. No arguments. 
 
December 8: 6:40PM
Delegates leaving. Journalists leaving. Air of frustration around because no one has clarity on what's exactly happening at the moment. Looks like LCA will begin before KP. First, an informal to adopt package and then move to the COP.
 
December 8: 5:45PM 
Russia blocks adoption of KP amendment over AAUS. Groups huddle to arrive at a compromise. No wonder CMP session has not yet started.  
 
December 8: 5:10PM 
COP18 has experienced its share of arm-twisting tactics. Who will the AOSIS support? Who will LDCs side with? Then there are LMDCs, and several other groups in addition to the Umbrella group comprising a few developed countries. Where will compromise be struck? Or, has it, already? How come no objections were raised in the informal plenary? We'll find out.  
 
December 8: 4:50PM
KP about to begin. Plenary hall filled with people broken into groups of twos, threes, fives animatedly discussing what to expect. A common question seems to be whether Poland will block within EU on AAUs...
 
December 8: 2:50PM
Informal Plenary begins. No objections raised to the text in the informal plenary. On to CMP now to debate KP.  
 
December 8: 1:46PM
The buzz in the corridors: Plenary may not begin before 4pm. Too many Parties unhappy with the new text. Text might be reopened. 
 
December 8: 12.35PM
No news of plenary yet. Parties still engaged in closed-door discussions. This may be the lull before the storm. 
 
December 8: 11.11AM
Ninety minutes long over. Still no sign of informal plenary. Closed-door meetings happening among countries and groups.  
 
December 8: 8.25AM
COP President introduces new text. Gives 90 minutes to Parties to review text and meet again. 
 
December 8: 3.55AM
News in the corridor: US and other developed countries propose to junk all unresolved issues under the current LCA draft text. They have gone back to their stand of day one, junking the past 12 days of negotiations. This may derail Doha talks. Everyone shocked at this development. Plenary at 7.30AM
 
December 8: 2.40AM
Press and youth form a long chain and assemble along the corridors of the Qatar National Convention Centre. They shout: “If not now, when? If not us, who? If not here, where?” 
 
December 8: 2:30AM
Ministerial meetings in progress. BASIC doing a huddle. They fear that talks could collapse given issues stand unresolved. Loss and damage debate getting ugly with the US sticking to its stand that there can be no international mechanism for loss and damage. “It’s absolutely critical for AOSIS and LDCs that an international mechanism on loss and damage be established. But US is strictly opposed to it,” says Harjeet Singh of Action Aid International.
 
December 8: 12.21AM
India commended by observer organisations for taking a principled stand in the Doha climate talks. India has continued to show immense strength despite pressure.
 
December 7: 11.45PM
ADP draft text sent to the COP after a two-and-a-half hour heated debate between developed and developing countries. Umbrella group opposed reference to the Rio declaration in the drafts text. The reference now goes as brackets, to be taken up in the COP closing plenary. 

Developing countries unanimously reject LCA text

By: Indrajit Bose
Date: Dec 3, 2012

None of developing countries concerns reflect in the negotiating text, closure of LCA in Doha looks difficult

The second week of the Doha talks opened amid high drama as developing countries unanimously rejected the “draft text” prepared by the chairperson of the ad-hoc working group on long-term cooperative action (AWG-LCA). Such a draft text details the areas of convergence and divergence on all issues that are to be taken up for further deliberations by parties.

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Going Remote

India suffers from chronic energy poverty. Even after 65 years of independence, one-third of India's households have no access to grid power. More than a million households go dark after sunset.

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Differences emerge at climate talks over counting emissions from agriculture

By: Arnab Pratim Dutta
Date: Dec 1, 2012

Least developed countries oppose developing countries

Developing countries on Friday managed to bury a proposal of the Least Developing Countries (LDCs) on agriculture. The proposal said that studies need to be carried out to ascertain the role of agriculture in global warming. This proposal, placed before a scientific advisory body of the United Nations Frame Work Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the ongoing annual climate change talks in Doha, not only showed the deep divisions that run within the developing countries collectively known as the G77+China but was also seen as an aberration to the stand of the developing world that agriculture is only a subject for adaptation and not mitigation.

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Mistakes made at Copenhagen may get repeated at Doha climate talks

By: Indrajit Bose
Date: Dec 1, 2012 

Qatar could ask ministers to short-circuit negotiations

At the end of the fifth day of the Doha climate talks on November 30, the president of the Conference of Parties (CoP) held an informal meeting of all parties “in the spirit of transparency” to take stock of how negotiations have progressed. The session happened around the time news spread that negotiations will go into closed-door mode—what are called green rooms—when ministers of more than 190 countries arrive early next week in Doha. Speculation was rife on November 30 night in the Qatar National Convention Centre that this move came with the tacit support of some developed countries.

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Front Page Teaser: 

 Date: December 1, 2012

'We cannot sell the idea of equity back home,' says US negotiator

By: Indrajit Bose
Date: Nov 29, 2012

US says no to equitable division of atmospheric space

The US made it clear it is not on the same page on equity as the developing nations. On day 3 of the ongoing Conference of Parties on climate change (COP18) in Doha, the deputy chief climate envoy of the US, Jonathan Pershing, told NGOs in an informal briefing session that it would be hard for him to go back to the Congress and sell the idea of equity as espoused by the developing countries.

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Work plan under Durban Platform may prove contentious

By: Indrajit Bose
Date: Nov 28, 2012

Developing countries say the work plan can progress only if outstanding issues are resolved first

Talks are now in full swing at the climate meet at Doha in Qatar. The negotiations, which are happening under three different tracks—ad hoc working groups on Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP), Long-Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and Durban Platform—have all been launched. And the differences between the negotiating countries, or Parties as they are called in the climate circuit, are out in the open in all the three tracks.

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Doha climate talks: rich nations push for dropping disputed matters

By: Arnab Pratim Dutta
Date: Nov 28, 2012

No progress on the Durban Platform to be allowed unless elements from long-term cooperative action incorporated in negotiating process, say developing nations

The developed countries want to junk elements close to the heart of the developing world and bury them in Doha. At the opening plenary of the LCA (Long-Term Cooperative Action) on the second day of Doha climate talks, the rich nations suggested that all elements on which there is no agreement be left out of the new negotiating process emanating from the Durban Platform. These include elements like transfer of patented technology, means of finance, global peaking, unilateral measures and the cornerstones of climate negotiations like equity and common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR).

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US says it will not extend commitment on climate mitigation efforts

By: Arnab Pratim Dutta
Date: Nov 26, 2012

Ambitions on reducing carbon emissions levels missing at CoP 18, say developing countries

The swords and daggers are still not out. Going by previous experience of climate change conferences, the big fights are generally kept for the last week of the conference, ceremoniously also known as the high level segment. However, on the opening day of the 18th Conference of Parties (CoP18) in Doha, Qatar, parties reaffirmed their positions, on which each will try to consolidate its position over the next two weeks. Although Doha seems to be just another milestone in the setting-up process of a new treaty in 2015, based on the Durban Platform to be implemented from 2020, the coming two weeks will see confrontations, if not fisticuffs on numerous contentious issues that need to be settled before 2013. And in one of the several press conferences held on the first day, the United States, a party that has always shied away from taking on carbon emissions reduction, made this clear.

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Front Page Teaser: 

 Ambitions on reducing carbon emissions levels missing at CoP 18, say developing countries

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