The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Last Day of Climate Talks—Will Anything Be Accomplished?
By Jake Schmidt
Today we begin the final day (hopefully) of the global warming negotiations in Doha. A lot of delegates are talking about it going into Saturday as the meeting is being poorly handled by the host country Qatar. Unfortunately the leadership of the host country plays a critical role as we witnessed with the excellent leadership of Mexico that helped deliver a solid agreement in Cancun. It can all come together in Doha as this meeting is supposed to set the stage for stronger international action in the years to come (not finalize those details). Will it?
The key issues are coming down to crunch time. How will these issues get resolved in the final hours?
Will countries finalize the second round of the Kyoto Protocol? There are still some differences, but countries came into this meeting knowing that it was the main political fight so they have had a year to try to find a compromise. Ministers have been tackling this issue since early in the week so clearly the “big guns” have been focused on this intensely.
Will countries wrap-up the small number of loose ends from previous rounds of negotiation? In Cancun and Durban countries agreed to specific mitigation commitments, a new multilateral financial tool, greater transparency and accountability requirements, tools to help developing countries tap into clean energy technologies and support to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable countries. These are important tools that can now be fully implemented as Doha has already finalized key outstanding issues.
Unfortunately, poor leadership by the Saudi Arabian chair has led to a mess. The negotiating text should have been cleaned up days ago with only a small number of issues punted to Ministers. Instead negotiators were working late last night and into the morning to try to clean up the text.
Ministers need to quickly “sweep up” all the elements that are ready for prime time and translate them into the final agreement. No time for dithering.
Financing future investments to spur clean energy deployment, deforestation reductions and adaptation in developing countries? In Copenhagen countries pledged $30 billion between 2010-2012 ($10 billion per year). In the face of a huge economic downturn and budget cuts, developed countries have met that commitment. There is some quibbling about the shape of that money and what should count, but it is clear that large amounts of money have been mobilized to help developing countries reduce emissions and combat the impacts of global warming. That is great news given that $10 billion per year is orders of magnitude more than had been mobilized in the previous years.
Now countries are trying to agree on a signal that this level of commitment won’t drop off the “climate fiscal cliff." A number of countries have outlined that they’ll continue investing in these actions with commitments from Germany, UK, France, Sweden and other European countries. Will more come forward?
Will more countries come forward with commitments to cut their global warming pollution? The Dominican Republican announced that they’ll cut their emissions 25 percent below 2010 levels by 2030. This commitment is already enshrined in their domestic law. They should be applauded for stepping forward with a clear commitment to help address global warming.
Will host country Qatar, United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia follow suit?
After Doha will countries focus on how to secure even stronger action by 2015? Countries began the negotiations on the new “legal agreement” to be agreed by 2015. These discussions are still at a very early stage, but countries began to set the right tone for that negotiation. Those discussions were surprisingly uncontroversial. No country backslid from the agreement in Durban.
There are some minor issues left before this can be agreed in Doha, but assuming the rest of the issues get resolved countries will leave Doha focused on how to secure even greater international action.
It hasn’t come together yet, but it still can.
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.
Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.
By Andrea Germanos
Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.