Young leaders from 17 countries set up a young agenda for climate protection in Berlin.
The UN Climate Change Conference in Qatar: Background, Topics, Aims
From 26 November till 07 December 2012 the 18th Conference of Parties (COP 18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in Doha, Qatar. The decision to host a climate change conference in a country which has the highest CO2 emissions per capita worldwide and whose considerable economic performance is based in great parts on the exploitation of migrant workers, was highly critized especially by trade unions as well as environmental and human rights organizations.
Even though these criticisms are more than legitimate, it is now essential to put emphasis on goals and possible results of the conference and to work towards a positive outcome – challenges ahead in Doha are too great to be put aside:
- The „Ad-hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform“ needs to develop a work programme on how to reach agreement before 2015 on a new global agreement;
- The “Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action” needs to discuss, amongst others, the peak year for global emissions;
- The details of the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol must be fleshed out including ambitious targets and clarity on the length of commitment (2017 or 2020);
- The problem of the so-called giga-tonne gap, i.e. the difference between 2 degree target and real commitments needs to be discussed;
- Negotiators must start openly discussing equity principles and seek common understanding on the issue of shared effort.
Broken promises with regards to climate reduction targets and non-compliance with financial pledges have sharpened the crisis of trust in international climate policy increasingly in the past years. As a result, fewer and fewer actors are willing to take the lead. The European Union, previously a forerunner, is hampered in the meanwhile: especially since the disappointing results of the climate change conference in Copenhagen 2009, where EU leaders were sidelined during crucial talks and the EU’s positions were barely considered in the final outcome document, it seems that the political will to find global solutions and to take courageous steps is virtually non-existing.
Reasons can be found besides the Euro crisis, which has led to a shift of priorities, and internal conflicts between a group of forerunners such as Germany, UK or Denmark and foot draggers such as Poland, in the lack of visible progress in other countries. Especially from the USA, which is anyway not known as the most progressive actor in climate policy, not much decisiveness can be expected in Qatar (this is all the more true against the background of upcoming presidential elections). In addition, US chief negotiator Todd Stern has recently put into question two basic conditions, under which developing countries are willing to negotiate: The 2 degree target and the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR).
The FES is engaged in a three-year preparatory process for COP 18, aiming to
- inform actors and draw attention to the issues to be addressed at the Conference,
- intensify the dialogue between industrial, emerging and developing countries through the provision of appropriate structures,
- strengthen positions, in particular those of developing countries, civil society actors and trade unions,
- link debates in the fields of policy, business and civil society, and
- build alliances for a just, socially compatible and development-oriented climate policy.