Christiana Figueres of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said last week that the upcoming COP18 in Doha, Qatar, beginning November 26, must deliver its objectives to speed up global action towards a low-emission future where everyone has the chance of a sustainable life.
“Doha is as important as any COP before it. Governments have agreed it is imperative to stay at least below a two degree average global temperature rise to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But they know this cannot be achieved without further dramatic transformation in energy production and use, and without effective support to developing nations so they can build their own sustainable futures,” said Ms Figueres.
“A faster response to climate change is necessary and possible, both in terms of the international policy response and increasing action at national and sub-national policy level and from global business. Doha must make sure the response is accelerated,” the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary said.
Nation states at Doha are are expected to usher in a renewed commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, move the broad infrastructure of support they have been building for action in the developing world into firm implementation, and decide how to resolve policy issues that remain outstanding under the UN Climate Change Convention.
Governments will also decide how to reach an effective, fair and ambitious global climate agreement that is to be adopted in 2015 and to enter into force from 2020 – and to raise the current inadequate global ambition to address climate change and its impacts before 2020. In addition, governments will seek to understand how best to mobilize long-term finance to support action in developing nations, which they have agreed must reach a level of USD 100 billion a year by 2020.
Ms. Figueres said that whilst in many cases climate change solutions are already being integrated and implemented into national policies and business plans, efforts to implement the global clean technology and sustainability revolution must urgently speed up so that the world has a chance of staying below a two degree temperature rise. “We need to clearly acknowledge the gap between what countries have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and what is required to stay below this temperature rise, beyond which more severe climate impacts occur,” she said. “The necessary technology and policy tools are available to governments and societies, but time
is very short – only 36 months to reach a universal agreement before 2015. What we now need is to urgently implement the decisions that have been taken at the inter-governmental level and to further strengthen actions already under way,” she said.
As examples of momentum for change which is already building at all levels of society, and to highlight the scope for action, the UNFCCC secretariat will be showcasing so-called “lighthouse activities” in Doha. These are prime examples of public-private climate initiatives in developing countries which have already improved the lives of the urban poor, and which can inspire governments and businesses to do more. Two further pillars of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change Initiative will be launched during the conference – one highlighting the role of women in providing solutions to climate change, and the other drawing attention to innovative approaches to climate finance.
More than 100 government ministers are scheduled to attend the high-level segment of the meeting, which begins on 4 December and ends with a decision-making plenary on 7 December. The conference will be attended by government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations, research institutions and the media. UNFCCC COPs are both inter-governmental negotiating forums, and a key opportunity for all stakeholders to exchange information and ideas in order to help build momentum for action on climate change. To this end, a large number of side events and exhibits will be organized on the margins of the meeting.