U.N. climate talks headed into the final stretch with a host of issues unresolved, including a standoff over how much money financially stressed rich countries can spare to help the developing world tackle global warming. The United Nations climate talks in Doha, Qatar ended Saturday with key countries agreeing to some guidelines on how to track progress toward meeting their commitments and set a path toward a stronger legal agreement in 2015.
Developing countries were demanding firm pledges before the Doha conference ends, like a midterm target of $60 billion in the next three years, or written agreement that funds will be scaled up annually until 2020. But rich countries have been reluctant to make such commitments, citing the financial turmoil that is straining their budgets.
It must be remembered that a similar agreement had been made in Kyoto some years ago. The U.S. never joined Kyoto while Japan, New Zealand, Canada and Russia don't want to be part of any formal extension, meaning it might only cover about 15 percent of the world's emissions of greenhouse gases.
Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), made the following statement from Doha:
"This year has been filled with devastating wake-up calls that global warming is already impacting us. Failure to act will hurt people and communities in the United States and around the world."
"With the agreement in Doha, countries can now focus on following through on the commitments they made to reduce emissions at home, build stronger efforts to support action by developing countries, and improve the transparency of their actions."
The agreements in Doha:
· Outlined the clear path to negotiating even stronger action in 2015 that will include actions by all key countries.
· Finalized key guidelines on how developed and developing countries will monitor and report their emissions and track progress towards their emissions reduction commitments.
· Reaffirmed the need to continue investing in efforts to support developing countries in deploying clean energy, reducing deforestation emissions, and supporting the most vulnerable countries in strengthening their resilience to climate change countries.
· Finalized the second round of targets for a number of developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol.
The question now becomes whether any agreement will be ratified by the various nations involved.
Conference image via UN