COP18 Doha UN climate talks Nov 28

Weds 1220: What’s to be done about Poland? That seems to be the question exercising the minds of those who focus on a positive outcome for the Doha conference.

Anja Kollmuss of Carbon Market Watch came up with a strategic solution during the press conference for Climate Action Network (CAN) just concluded. If Poland wants to host nest year’s COP, then it must start behaving in a leadership role.

Leadership means finding ways to move on from Poland’s parochial interests – its stubborn refusal to jettison its hot air permits or to support EU ambition for emissions reductions. As Anja put it:

In short the a president of the talks must be able to rise above their own country’s own self-interest and be a leader…..failure to address the hot air issue puts the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol at stake and may very well derail the talks here in Doha

When questioned, the speakers for the NGO network conceded that they are unaware of any bids to host next year’s COP apart from Poland.


Weds 1505: The most depressing moment in the European Union press conference earlier this afternoon was Dr Runge-Metzger’s reference to new EU regulations on flourine and chlorinated paraffins. Sound relevant to a global agreement to curb climate change?

He did the same on Monday when challenged on Europe’s commitment to upping its feeble game on emissions reductions. The danger sign is that this is a long established tactic by the US delegation – to reel off a list of domestic initiatives on energy and pollution. Undeniably worthy but microscopic in relevance.

This suggests that, like his opposite number Jonathan Pershing from the US, Runge-Metzger has no mandate to compromise and is forced to waffle. That’s very un-European in the climate change context and unsettling for these talks.


Thurs 0510: It’s hard to track any measurable progress over Day 3 at the Doha COP. There were set piece plenary speeches and informal “contact groups” with little real negotiating inbetween.

Even the decision to locate COP19 in Poland appears to have been made by default because there were no other bidders.

I therefore found myself at liberty to peruse the official UNFCCC statement of the goals of the conference that was released during the day. The section dealing with the search for a universal climate change agreement from 2020 states the aspiration that:

different national circumstances are addressed in an effective, fair, ambitious agreement

Notice anything missing? That phrase at the end used to read “fair, ambitious and binding agreement”. The desperate last minute compromise in Durban last year substituted “an agreed outcome with legal force.”

No one was very sure what that meant but it looks as though UNFCCC deems it sufficiently impotent to quietly leave it out. The debate over coming days is unlikely to locate such a neat solution.

A more predictable contradiction stems from the statement on finance:

countries meeting in Doha need to reach a better understanding of how to mobilise long term finance

Canada’s Environment Minister, Peter Kent, doesn’t see it that way at all. “This isn’t a pledging conference,” he told Canadian reporters. And he’s taken the well-worn path of introducing a few domestic efficiency measures to give him something boast about at the COP.


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