Doha: More hot air?

How many conferences have there been since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 1992? What are the tangible results? Here we go again in Doha, the capital of Qatar, for the United Nations Climate Change Conference - in which 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will spend ten days in negotiations.

The 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was the first legally binding instrument to address global warming, opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit 1992, which in turn opened the way for the Protocol of Kyoto 1997, in which 37 States pledged themselves to legally binding GEG (Greenhouse Gas) emission control and commitments to reduction. Kyoto expires at the end of 2012.

Twenty years on, and despite all the meetings and conferences, the latest World Bank report points towards a calamity scenario. If a two-degree Celsius increase in global temperature would have tangible serious consequences, the possibility of a four-degree  spike in the World Bank report, by the end of this century, would have calamitous proportions. And that is where we may be heading, fast.

Despite all the hot air released at these meetings and conferences, the World Meteorological Organization report on 2011 states that GEG emissions had reached a record high. To make matters worse, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reveals that what was promised in terms of maintaining global warming at under two per cent is not fulfilled.

So, the question remains, how many millions of the world taxpayers' money has been wasted on nothing at all, and how long will it be before the taxpayer is burdened with a global environment tax? What has (not) happened is all the more unacceptable since the technological options to achieve control over global warming is already available.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, stated at the opening on the Doha Conference on Monday that "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."

Doha follows the 2011 Durban Conference, which preceded the Bali Conference, which was followed by the Bangkok Talks. What is promised is the launching of a new phase in climate control, namely a legal framework which applies to all 194 UNFCC party members.

If Doha does not deliver, and after the farce of Copenhagen, when the rich tried to push through an agenda behind closed doors, who would be surprised? And Mother Nature has already shown us through Hurricane Sandy what she can, and will, do. Add that to a global ice melt and the coastlines of many countries could retreat some hundreds of kilometres. Coastal flooding will be a reality, not some distant threat and the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people will be devastated.

We are speaking of a global environmental and economic catastrophe. Let us hope those who represent us are more interested in our future than in the selfish demands of the lobbies which dictate matters. After all, the world is ours, not theirs.


Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey



Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey