By Louise Gray, December 6 2012. Source: The Telegraph
UN climate change talks are at risk of collapse tonight as developing nations object to the refusal of Arab nations to cut carbon emissions and at failure of Western nations to come forward with money for adaptation to global warming.
Britain could be forced to dramatically increase its cuts to carbon emissions in order to secure a deal if other countries are unwilling to compromise.
Two activists were thrown out of the United Nations talks in Doha, the capital, after attempting to hold up a banner outside the main meeting hall. It called on the tiny oil state to show leadership and cut its emissions.
Developing nations are also angry that the rich world has not come forward with money for climate change adaptation.
They want $60bn (£37bn) over the next three years to switch to greener forms of energy and protect against floods and drought.
Although the UK has pledge £2bn over the next two years other countries, including the United States, have not put any money on the table beyond 2013.
Environmentalists are angry that the world has made no further progress on agreeing targets to cut carbon emissions.
The EU has said it will sign up targets as part of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. But this is impossible until the bickering group of countries decide how to divide up cuts in carbon.
One option on the table would mean the UK may have to up its current emissions targets from 34 per cent by 2020 to 42 per cent.
Meanwhile most of the rest of the developed world has not even put forward any new targets to cut carbon emissions.
There is particular anger towards the countries in the Arab world, that many believed would come forward with ambitious targets during the first UN conference to be held in the Middle East.
However Qatar has only announced a new research centre on climate change and no new targets. While it emits a large amount of carbon dioxide due to gas flares from oil extraction, it is treated as a developing nation and has not been subjected to curbs on emissions as developed nations have.
Ali Fakhry, of the Arab Youth Climate Movement, an organisation set up in the wake of the Arab spring, said it will be “disgrace” if the talks fail to reach an agreement in Doha.
“We are starting to believe that hosting the meeting was green wash and PR,” he said.
“It is time for Qatar to take the lead and ensure the negotiations do not collapse.”
The talks, that are scheduled to finish this Friday, are widely expected to go into the weekend. They may have to reconvene in months if a deal is not struck.
As ministers take over from negotiators in an attempt to drive a deal, Greg Barker, the UK Climate Change Minister, said pressure is growing on Qatar.
“Clearly now is the time for the Arab regions to step up to the plate and show leadership to bring this meeting to a successful conclusion. The clock is ticking and there are concerns in the least developed countries about finance and mitigation. We desperately need more countries to take action.”
It will be a severe embarrassment to Qatar, which is attempting to grow its stature in the world and which will host the World Cup in 2022, if the talks fail.
Naderev Sano, chief negotiator for the Philippines, joined a civil society protest against a weak deal after reportedly bursting into tears during a plenary in frustration.
He said hundreds of thousands of people in his own country are already suffering from floods and storms caused by climate change.
“Based on what we have seen so far and with less than 48 hours to go, a successful ambitious outcome is not in sight,” he said.
Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s senior climate change adviser, said he had never seen such outrage at a UN meeting.
“The Doha outcome must be both responsive to the scientific need for action and fair to developing countries which didn’t cause this problem but are suffering the most severe effects.”
The two activists led out of the conference centre by UN police were believed to be from Libya and Algeria and part of the League of Independent Activists.