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Scaled-down Climate Change Deal At Doha; New Accord To Follow …

  • December 10th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

eu-industry-scape10.jpgThe world climate change conference at Doha ended on Saturday (8.12.12) with Australia and the European Union forming a rump on industrialised countries renewing the Kyoto agreement – but with a schedule for a renewed process.

STICKING POINTS

The original Protocol on bringing down pollutant gas emissions was signed in December 1997 at Kyoto, at an assembly effectively taking in the full membership of the United Nations General Assembly.

In a process underwritten by the UN organisation, successive gatherings were called to affirm and extend the terms of agreement, but met with set-backs, notably at Copenhagen in 2009, when a split developed between new polluters, as China and India, and old ones, as Europe and the United States.

Other sticking points included the question of how much support should be given by industrialised states to assist developing countries in their efforts to manage the impacts of climate change – like, in the case of small states such as Tuvalu, rising sea levels encroaching on their territory.

The original host country, Japan, dropped out of the accord, as did Russia; and also Canada and New Zealand, following the election of right-of-centre governments in those two countries, falling into step with a shift in conservative circles against the Kyoto commitment.

SETTLEMENT AT DOHA

doha.jpgIn the event the Kyoto Protocol has been renewed with the participation of 35 industrialised counties, together accounting for 15% of global gas emissions.

The involvement of Australia and EU was consistent with their already having in place, a shared framework for attacking the climate problem, in the form of emissions trading schemes.

The two schemes are being linked operationally, see EUAustralia Online, “EU-Australia hook-up on climate change trade”, 8.9.12.

The Australian government has adopted a formal goal of cutting carbon gas emissions by 5%, by 2020  (against 2000 levels); the EU has gone further, setting the goal at 20% by that date (against 1990 levels) – and recording effective progress on than route.

See EUAustralia Online: “Climate Change: Australia’s 80/50 plan, modeled on EU’s 20/20”, 11.7.11; “Europe claims climate gain s with its emissions trade”, 22.6.10; “Climate moves ‘won’t turn on a dime’”, 30.12.09; “’It’d better be good’”, 18.2.07.

NEXT STAGE

The next stage in the process is to be making a new Climate Change agreement to occur in 2015.

Supporters of the process reported that at Doha, Qatar, new progress was made towards agreement with developing countries, whereby they might receive greater assistance, while themselves undertaking strong commitments against future waste.

Negotiations have been taking place to bring in, and bring back, up-until-now recalcitrant partners.

combetashx1.jpgThe Australian Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, said on radio the indications were positive.

“Well a year ago the US, China, India and others agreed to negotiate a new agreement and those negotiations are under way and they’ll continue – and the Kyoto Protocol is just a part of that overall commitment”, he said.

“I think everyone of course aspires to get on with this much faster. But this is a very complex international problem…

“Just in a few weeks’ time the US state of California, which is a very large economy, larger than Australia’s, carbon pricing kicks off with an emissions trading scheme just like ours.

“South Korea is getting an emissions trading scheme going in 2015, China starts carbon pricing emission trading schemes in many cities and provinces next year also. New Zealand’s had a carbon price the last couple of years.”

Reference

Sabra Lane (interview), “Combet says Doha talks important but more needs to be done”, “AM”, ABC radio, Sydney, 10.12.12. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-10/combet-says-doha-talks-important-but-more-needs-to/4417998, (10.12.12).

UN Framework Convention of Climate Change, Doha Climate Change Conference – November 2012, (Home), (26.11 – 8.12.12). http://unfccc.int/meetings/doha_nov_2012/meeting/6815.php, (10.12.12).

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