Nations at the UN summit at Doha last week agreed that talks should continue towards a global treaty to limit emissions by 2015, but no progress was seen on agreeing legally binding cuts to carbon emissions sooner.
The Doha talks drew to a close on Saturday 8th December, a day later than planned. Unfortunately the extra day didn't reflect an increase in ambition and the talks were widely greeted with disappointment. Simeon Mitchell, MRDF’s Acting Executive Director commented: ‘We have come to have low expectations of global climate talks, despite the crucial importance of intergovernmental commitments and global action in tackling climate change. Doha did nothing to challenge this view, as progress was woefully inadequate. Governments do not seem to be taking seriously the catastrophic threat that climate change poses to the lives and livelihoods of billions of people across the world, especially the marginalised with whom MRDF primarily works.’
However, there were two bits of good news to come out of the Doha conference. The UK government used the conference as an opportunity to announce a £1.8 billion increase in funding to help poorer countries to tackle the effects of climate change and develop low carbon industries.
For the first time, there was also recognition of the principle that poor countries should receive some form of reparation for the ‘loss and damage’ that climate change is causing them. Poor countries produce very low levels of carbon dioxide and other pollutants that cause climate change, but climate change is affecting them now and will continue to have a profoundly damaging effect. Mr. Mitchell added: ‘While recognition is some way short of the compensation we have been calling for, it is a welcome step in the right direction.’
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