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Climate Talks

Kyoto Protocol extended; Green groups skeptical

The United Nations climate talks in Doha have reached its end and over 190 countries have reaffirmed their commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by extending the Kyoto Protocol.

The second round of Kyoto Protocol will begin shortly on January 1, 2013 and will take effect until 2020.

During the two-week conference, the delegates agreed on a firm timetable to adopt a “universal climate agreement” by 2015 and agreed to raise emissions reduction goals, if necessary, to further address climate change.

Likewise, they endorsed the completion of new infrastructure that will boost clean technology funding and deployment, and settled to deliver a long-term finance mechanism for renewable energy projects to developing countries.

An estimated $100 billion is expected to be raised for both climate mitigation and adaptation activities by 2020.

“Doha has opened up a new gateway to bigger ambition and to greater action - the Doha Climate Gateway...Now governments must move quickly through the Doha Climate Gateway to push forward with the solutions to climate change,” said Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, President of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 18th Conference of the Parties.

Christiana Figueres, U.N.F.C.C.C. executive secretary, urged the nations to immediately implement what has been agreed in Doha, to stay below the agreed maximum 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise.

"The U.N. Climate Change negotiations must now focus on the concrete ways and means to accelerate action and ambition. The world has the money and technology to stay below two degrees. After Doha, it is a matter of scale, speed, determination and sticking to the timetable," she said.

While the outcome of the Doha talks has been lauded, environmental groups remain skeptics as to how it could deliver significant contributions to climate change mitigation.

Greenpeace International said the conference failed to meet the pace of climate change.

“Where is the urgency? The pace of progress is glacial. The inability of governments to find common ground to combat a common threat is inexplicable and unacceptable. It appears governments are putting national short term interest ahead of long term global survival,” stressed executive director Kumi Naidoo in an official statement.

Additionally, Greenpeace questioned the effectiveness of the Kyoto Protocol 2. “While they agreed to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, it was judged so full of loopholes as to have little or no effect on carbon emissions,” it noted.

Meanwhile, World Wildlife Fund said delegates in Doha were unsuccessful in meeting even the minimum expectations for the U.N. climate negotiations.

“The acid test for these negotiations was real emissions cuts; real and concrete financial commitments for climate change; and the basis for a new global deal by 2015 that is both ambitious and equitable. But instead we got a shamefully weak deal, one that is so far away from the science that it should raise ethical issues for those responsible,” it stated.

“But hope is far from gone. Communities and people affected by climate change are standing up for safety, food and water security, and clean energy, confronting dirty projects all over the world, such as coal, and demanding real change.” – C. Dominguez</p>

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