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Civil society condemns the final outcomes of the UN climate negotiations in Doha as unambitious and ineffective

by Crystel Hajjar


DOHA - QATAR.  Almost 200 nations agreed to extend the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as the UN climate negotiations concluded on Saturday evening local time. The final outcome is under heavy scrutiny from civil society for failing to address the urgency of the issue.
“The coming 10 years are going to condemn the future of future generations, this is the reality that our political leaders need to wake up to and understand, not the political reality of short term interest and short term economic gain,” said Wael Hmaidan, the Executive Director of Climate Action Network International. 
The negotiations scheduled to end on Friday evening went for an additional 24 hours, running through the night to Saturday evening. After hours of inactivity in plenary, the conference president Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah rushed through the final decisions that were all approved.  
The final outcome lead to an eight year second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol to come into effect in January 2013. This is regarded as a weak outcome because it applies to 35 countries whose total emissions amount to 15% of the global total and  it doesn’t include any concrete plans on actually reducing emissions. 
"Much, much more is needed if we are really going to address climate change and reduce emissions," said Kieren Keke, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, in plenary. 
Moving forward under the Durban Platform, it is the plan to negotiate an emission reduction agreement that includes all countries by 2015 to come to effect in 2020. Despite this progress, the world is effectively locked into eight years of inaction. 
Another major concern of the outcome is the issue of funding. Earlier this week, Denmark, the United Kingdom and other European countries stepped up to contribute money to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), but there is very little certainty on its future. 
“We’ve seen a climate finance drought in Doha,” said Tim Gore, the International Climate Change Campaigner for Oxfam. “[Developing countries] are left hanging by their fingertips from that cliff . They really don’t know what to expect in the next years.”
The GCF is a funding mechanism set to give developing countries USD 100 billion per year from 2020 that would go to mitigation and adaptation to climate change. 
“In the United States, it was reported that the cost of reconstruction [from Hurricane Sandy] in New Jersey alone is 60 billion plus," said Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International. 
Progress during the negotiations was slow and a few key countries such as Canada, the United States and Poland played an obstructive role stalling the negotiations and blocking progress. 
“I would like to single out Canada for being one of the worst countries in this negotiation backing away of its commitments out of the kyoto protocol showing no shame or regret about it whatsoever, also for being super obstructive on finance,” said Samantha Smith, from World Wildlife Fund. 
Many blamed the poor progress during the negotiations on the lack of leadership from the host country, OPEC member Qatar. 

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Topics: Environment
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