Flags are displayed ahead of the Doha Climate Change Conference, in Qatar.(Photo: Osama Faisal, AP)
DOHA, Qatar -- U.N. talks on a new climate pact resumed Monday in
oil and gas-rich Qatar, where negotiators from nearly 200 countries
will discuss fighting global warming and helping poor nations adapt to
The two-decade-old talks have not fulfilled their main
purpose: reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are
warming the planet.
Attempts to create a new climate treaty failed
in Copenhagen three years ago but countries agreed last year to try
again, giving themselves a deadline of 2015 to adopt a new treaty.
host of issues need to be resolved by then, including how to spread the
burden of emissions cuts between rich and poor countries. That's
unlikely to be decided in the Qatari capital of Doha, where negotiators
will focus on extending the Kyoto Protocol, an emissions deal for
industrialized countries, and trying to raise billions of dollars to
help developing countries adapt to a shifting climate.
realize why we are here, why we keep coming back year and after year,"
said South Africa Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who led last
year's talks in Durban, South Africa. "We owe it to our people, the
global citizenry. We owe it to our children to give them a safer future
than what they are currently facing."
The U.N. process is often
criticized, even ridiculed, both by climate activists who say the talks
are too slow, and by those who challenge the scientific near-consensus
that the global temperature rise is at least partly caused by human
activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil.
concentration of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide has jumped 20
percent since 2000, according to a U.N. report released last week.
recent projection by the World Bank showed temperatures are on track to
increase by up to 4 degrees C (7.2 F) this century, compared with
pre-industrial times, overshooting the 2-degree target that has been the
goal of the U.N. talks.