THURSDAY 6 DECEMBER
A deal is possible if…—Ministers from the BASIC countries, the group of leading developing countries that includes Brazil, China, India, and South Africa, were quite optimistic about reaching a Doha deal today. Finance, they said, lay at the heart of core of the negotiations, as that would pave the way for action on technology and adaptation. And while they recognized the financial difficulties that many of the developed countries are experiencing, they maintain that these difficulties were temporary and should not keep them from making longer term financial commitments. South Africa stressed that while tackling poverty, “we’re in a perpetual state of economic distress. We don’t have the money.” For the last three years, developed countries have pledged—and have made good on—$10 billion a year. And they have set a goal of $100 billion a year starting in 2020. Developing countries say Doha needs to result in an interim pledge to continue a proper level of financing through 2020.
Queuing up for 2015—Countries have agreed that 2015 will be the year they agree to a global, legally binding agreement. Next year’s conference will be in Warsaw, Poland. In 2014, the conference will be in the Western Hemisphere, and now France has made it known that it would like to host the 2015 session. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France “has high ambition for 2015” and that, as part of the European Union, is in a good position to help.
An episode of denial—All accredited NGOs are eligible hold press conferences during the Climate Conference and this includes groups that do not subscribe to the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is happening due to human activities. As in past years, they have held press conferences featuring Lord Monckton and videos from US Senator James Inhofe. This year was no different as Lord Monckton explained that climate change wasn’t really happening and that efforts to do anything about it are a waste of money. Where the story gets really strange, however, comes next. At an informal session of all the delegations to take stock on the negotiating situation, Lord Monckton, sitting behind the nameplate for Myanmar, asked for the floor and was called on by the President of the Conference to speak. And he proceeded to tell the Conference his views. More to come on this….
Water, water—Climate discussions in this region inevitably turn to water, or a lack of it. As a dry land country with very little or no water resources—it gets almost all its water from desalinization—Qatar has promoted the Global Dry Lands initiative that it has spearheaded. “We have a national programme,” says Fahad Al-Attiya, who heads Qatar’s Food Security Programme, “and we want to aggregate it with others to share collective knowledge.” Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, and a partner of the Alliance, said strengthening water and food security is a prominent part of UNDP’s work in the Arabs States region. “We work with countries to develop integrated water resource management systems; employ more people in water-efficient agricultural production; strengthen social protection so that people can get the food they need in times of hardship; and mitigate and adapt to climate change.”