Introducing the Doha Climate Gateway

Parliament house flag post

Introducing the Doha Climate Gateway

Posted 11/12/2012 by Anita Talberg

On 8 December 2012—a day later than scheduled—the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded. With it, ended the Bali Roadmap (see previous FlagPost) and began the new era of climate change negotiations: that of the grandly-named Doha Climate Gateway. This FlagPost describes what the Gateway opens onto, and outlines some other items that were discussed (although possibly not resolved) at Doha.
Remembering the science
On 10 December 2012, the academic journal Nature Climate Change published research confirming that early predictions of possible temperature increases have proved accurate. The new research reinforces 2007 modelling that suggested that the world is most likely heading for a temperature increase of at least 4 degrees by the end of the century.

Just two days before Nature Climate Change published this article, the President of COP18 noted (with grave concern) that current emissions reduction pledges are not sufficient to keep global average temperature increases to within agreed limits. A new overarching and more ambitious agreement is needed.

Noting with grave concern the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C or 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels,
Recognizing that fulfilling the ultimate objective of the Convention will require strengthening of the multilateral, rules-based regime under the Convention,
A new agreement from 2020
With the Kyoto Protocol’s extension now filling the gap from 2013 to 2020, negotiators will focus more heavily on a new agreement to begin in eight years. Countries intend to develop and adopt a fully inclusive and legally-binding global climate change agreement in December 2015, to come into force in 2020. This new agreement, unlike the Kyoto Protocol, will not rely solely on commitments from developed countries; poorer countries will now be part of the solution. Beyond this, not much progress has been made. All the big decisions have all been pushed out to 2013 and later, for example:
  • Determining country emission reduction targets: Governments have agreed that workshops on increasing the extent of countries’ emissions pledges (raising their ambitions) will be convened in 2013. In aid of this, countries are to submit information, ideas and proposals to the UNFCCC Secretariat by 1 March 2013. A number of these types of suggestions have already been canvassed (here, here and here).
  • The shape and key points of a draft agreement: Parties have agreed that these need to be ready by end 2014 to allow a negotiating text to be drafted by May 2015. Political momentum for this is to be promoted by a gathering of world leaders in 2014 (as announced by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon).
What else was achieved at Doha?
Financing was heavily discussed at Doha, but no real progress was made. The Green Climate Fund, first announced in Copenhagen in 2009 as a means of transferring funds from richer to poorer nations for climate change action and adaptation, was finally given a home. It is to be based in South Korea and will begin its work in 2013.

In 2009, developed countries also committed to “fast-start” and “long-term” finance to assist developing countries in the area of climate change. The “fast-start” component was to consist of
 …new and additional resources, including forestry and investments, approaching USD 30 billion for the period 2010 - 2012 and with balanced allocation between mitigation and adaptation.
The “long-term” component is supposed to provide US$100 billion by 2020. At Doha, developing countries called for scaled-up support over 2013-15 to ensure continuity of activities that are already being funded or are in the pipeline. However, only European countries have answered the call and have guaranteed US$6 billion over that period.

Approaching the funding issues from a different tack, developing countries introduced at Doha the idea of a new UN mechanism to provide funding to (a) insure poor nations against unpredictable and extreme impacts of climate change, such as greater frequency and severity of damaging weather, (b) compensate them for the slow effects, such as rising sea levels, and (c) promote new efforts to assess the risks of climate change. Developing nations would like to see this new mechanism high on the agenda in 2013.

What wasn’t achieved?
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (known as REDD+) is still important to many countries and is expected to form part of any future agreement, but progress on that front has been slow. The sticking point is mainly over how to verify emissions reductions. What cannot be measured and verified cannot be counted towards country targets. If it cannot be counted, it is still far off receiving adequate funding.

No decision was made on the Joint Implementation (JI) scheme. The JI, which exists under the Kyoto Protocol, allows developed nations to undertake emissions reduction projects in other developed countries and count the resulting carbon credits towards their own targets. Whether this scheme still exists for projects that start after 2012 is unclear.

Finally, negotiators had hoped to develop some form of new market mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but Doha proved a failure on that front as well. Various proposals had been put forward including the idea of providing carbon credits for emission cuts across entire sectors, or the formalisation of bilateral offset programs. However, the only outcome was a work programme and the intention to continue investigating options.

What will happen at COP19?
The next major forum for climate change negotiators will take place at the end of 2013 in Warsaw. This is the second time in just six years that nations have met in Poland to discuss climate change. The last meeting, in Poznan in 2008, was not highly regarded. It was merely a stepping stone to the COP15 in Copenhagen, which itself was all seen by many as a disappointment. It might be that this 2013 meeting will be just as subdued as Poznan was. The next event with the promise of any real progress may not be until 2014.

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Indigenous Australians Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment taxation Sport illicit drugs Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force welfare policy Asia income management Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States higher education people trafficking school education aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA United Nations federal budget health financing emissions trading gambling Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Industrial Relations dental health National Disability Insurance Scheme forced labour Senate election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service International Women's Day corruption Fair Work Act child protection people smuggling debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure ALP New Zealand Australian Crime Commission Newstart Parenting Payment 43rd Parliament slavery by-election political parties Census constitution High Court skilled migration voting Federal Court terrorist groups Afghanistan Higher Education Loan Program HECS youth Aviation environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs poker machines doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers leadership United Kingdom UK Parliament Electoral reform politics banking firearms public policy mental health China ADRV terrorism social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation governance public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing paid parental leave European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas planning United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing election timetable citizenship Productivity asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Population Financial sector national security fuel violence against women domestic violence disability employment Tasmania integrity science research and development Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia accountability housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation family assistance expertise Senators and Members climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets health reform Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration health system Australia Greens money laundering servitude Special Rapporteur Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament Defence High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly public health smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days baby bonus DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking federal election 2010 workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions

Show all
Show less
Back to top