Parties, step up to the plate!

Integral Ecology | Fri, Dec 7, 2012

By Emilie Johann

When Ministers reached Doha at the start of week two almost no progress had been made on any of the crucical issues at the climate talks. A few days later, the finish line is now fast aproaching. Let's have a look at where we are.

Overall, discussions have been difficult and ministerial roundtables have taken several thorny issues from the technical to the political level. Will Ministers be up for the challenge to inject some political will and move beyond national interests to respond to the urgent needs of the poorest and for the sake of our common future?

Concerning the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) there is no sign of progress on ambition. The EU will not move beyond its current -20% target unless other parties move, and it is unwilling to consider the cancellation of carbon credits in KP2. So far none of the parties present have announced urgently needed more ambitious emission cuts. 

A weak KP2 is a bad sign in terms of the trust and ambition needed to build a new global climate deal which includes all parties, not only the current group of developed countries which amount to only 15% of total global emissions. All should think of the common good and move from their current positions and as a climate champion the EU should lead the way towards more ambition. Discussions on the second period should conclude today, which leaves observers wondering about the form and ambition of what is in fact a new treaty. We need KP2 and we need it to be strong, because this is not only about keeping the international climate regime alive, it is also about paving the way towards an ambitious and equitable global deal in 2015.

It is not given that discussions on Long Term Cooperative Action (LCA) can be closed. There is still consensus missing on crucial issues, especially on finance and it looks difficult to get that sorted. The Ministers of Switzerland and The Maldives now have the task to work out a satisfactory outcome on this track, which will be a hard nut to crack if finance is not part of it. Climate finance is of fundamental importance to developing countries for their efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Finance can turn out to be a deal-breaker or a deal-maker here in Doha. Pledges from the UK, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Sweden are a first step and welcome move after too long silence on this issue. Hopefully it will trigger other countries into action and we will see more money on the table, or even better - into the Green Climate Fund, by the end of the week. In fact, what has been pledged so far is far from what is needed to fulfill existing needs and to deliver on commitments that were made.

We need concrete commitments in a text that can be agreed here in Doha, commitments that will result in predictable climate finance which can be monitored, reported and verified. Also, as not all the issues related to scaling up climate finance will be resolved here, a high level political space should be created to sort out how developed countries will reach the promised $100 billion per year by 2020.

Have a look here at Colette Benoudji of environmental NGO Lead Tchad talking about climate change in her country and the need to keep faith in the climate talks. Let us know why you think we must keep faith in climate justice on Facebook and using #faithcop18 on Twitter. Watch other #faithcop18 videos.