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Climate Talks

Doha climate talks begin

The United Nations climate talks has officially started on Monday in Doha, with about 200 nations which will be working together to come up with a consolidated efforts addressing climate change.

The 18th U.N. Conference of the Parties has begin in the midst of several scientific studies that see extreme weather events becoming commonplace if no urgent mitigation efforts are put in place.

A study commissioned by the U.N. Environment Programme revealed that emissions are now nearly 14 percent above where they should be by 2020. It also stated that instead of declining, greenhouse gases concentration is actually increasing by 20 percent since 2000.

Emissions in the atmosphere have reached an all-time high record at 390.9 parts per million, with no identified change in the upward trend, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Thus, the planet is approaching a “4 degrees Celsius world,” which will be marked by severe heat waves, flagging global food supply, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity and life-threatening sea level rise, warned a World Bank report.

While climate change is continuously putting the world in jeopardy, these reports highlighted that there are still things that can be done to curb its adverse impacts. Governments and societies should take immediate actions with resources readily available such as technology, investments and policy options.

“Expert analysis consistently says that we do have the possibility to keep on track and that to act now is safer and much less costly than to delay. In the last three years, policy and action towards a sustainable, clean energy future has been growing faster than ever. But the door is closing fast because the pace and scale of action is simply not yet enough. So Doha must deliver its part in the longer-term solution,” said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the newly elected president of the COP 18 and Chairman of Qatar’s Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, urged the conference “to stick to agreed timetables and speedily implement already agreed decisions.”

“Climate change is a common challenge for humanity. We must work in earnest for a better future for present and for future generations. We have a precious opportunity over the coming days, and we must make full use of it. Many delegates have stressed the importance of finalizing work on time, and that requires that we all show flexibility,” he stressed.

The COP 18 will last until December 7. Among the key agenda in the conference include the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol’s second round by January 1, 2013; planning of the work under the Durban Platform, an international emissions reduction agreement covering all countries from 2020; completion of the Bali Action Plan, which will cover the areas of mitigation, adaption to climate change and other initiatives alike toward low-carbon economy; and completion of a new infrastructure, which will provide a long-term finance mechanism for clean technology projects in developing countries.

“At stake in Doha is the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding cap of greenhouse gas emissions, whose first commitment period expires at the end of this year,” said Martin Kaiser, climate campaigner at environmental group Greenpeace.

He urged the governments to agree to the continuation of the Kyoto and close the loopholes that could give countries a “free pass” to pollute in the coming years. Additionally, they should set a concrete emissions reduction target, backed with urgent actions to achieve it.

"This in turn will send signals to investors about the future shape of the energy economy. Government leaders must help bring about an energy revolution from dirty to clean energy. It is time for them to wake up and face reality," emphasized Mr. Kaiser. (Catherine Dominguez)

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