COP18—Doha Climate Conference
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November 26 – December 7, 2012, Doha, Qatar is the venue for the 18th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as the 18th Conference of the Parties — or COP 18.
Predictably and sadly, the same issues complained about at previous annual meetings for the past decade continue to recycle themselves:
- Lack of quality (if any) media coverage
- West stalling on doing anything
- Lack of funding
- Disagreement on how to address it
As the past two decades have shown trying to get global agreement on tackling climate change seems to be futile. By comparison, more focused and limited interest of elites, however, are easier to push through, such as wars based on geopolitical threats (real and imaginary), or economic crises (where banks and other elites most responsible for the crises are bailed out by ordinary citizens).
Furthermore, as the West has generally shown in the past decade or more (even when their economies were doing good) paying now for something that seems to be a problem in the future is hard to accept. It is easier, therefore, to stall and keep blaming China, India and other emerging nations despite the historical inequality of those emissions. But ignoring that makes it easier to hope these emerging nations will pick up the burden of addressing emissions rises.
A summary from the Malaysian-based development organization, Third World Network, notes that once again there are disagreements on how to proceed with basic aspects of these climate discussions such as how to agree on the next round of emission reductions:
Generally speaking, media coverage of climate change issues and these conferences has been a mixed bag over the past decade. More recent years has seen increased interest and coverage (though many important issues are glossed over in mainstream media sound-byte style reporting).
When I wrote a similar page about a year ago regarding the previous conference, COP 17, I noted that (as with many previous conferences), I described mainstream media coverage as
pathetic and almost non-existent until the very last few moments.
I added that in reality money speaks and so short term and elite/establishment views tend to prevail, which is why governments can so quickly get the
99% to bail out the banks and the top 1% with many trillions of dollars, while finding billions for fighting even more devastating climate change has taken almost 2 decades so far without any convincing results.
It seems like that will be the case again this year. As of writing, it is half way through the conference and scanning mainstream media headlines in the UK, I see no coverage of the conference (at least not as major news headlines). It is very possible I have missed it, but one would hope that a conference of such importance would not require much detailed look at mainstream media news headlines to find coverage of it.
Indeed, this comes at a time when the British press is facing threats of regulation following scandals about journalist practices by some tabloid papers. Ironically, the British press now fears regulation will hinder their free speech (a legitimate worry). But what free speech are they fighting for? For more narrow coverage and tabloid headlines?
It is worth quoting again an article from Media Lens about a year ago on the poor media quality coverage in recent years.
It would be worth reading the media section of the previous conference to see more about media coverage.
President Obama was recently re-elected as President of the United States. It is not clear how much impact the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy had on climate change policies (and it may also be too early to tell), but many certainly felt that in the days leading up to the election it may have been a factor. Perhaps, importantly, for the first time, climate denial may become a political liability in the US, and it remains to be seen how much the Republicans will hamper Obama’s climate policies.
The more extreme news organization in the US, Fox News, was found to to have 93% of their climate reporting as misleading. And this channel is a prime channel for Republican leaning viewers. This is also despite promises by Murdoch many years ago to improve climate change reporting. But it is not just Fox News, although not media outlets themselves many other influential corporations have been actively supporting misrepresentation of the science around climate change, undermining the US public’s understanding of scientific consensus around climate change.
Numerous recent reports are finding that climate scientists, far from being alarmist and scaremongering, have somewhat underestimated the speed at which climate change impacts such as extreme weather and rising sea levels will happen and that many conditions match their upper estimates rather than any median or better-scenario estimates.
For example, the conference comes at the end of a year that saw record Arctic sea ice melting, multiple global weather and climate extremes, and high temperatures.
For years countries have worried that funding for adaptation and mitigation is not affordable (rich and poor nations alike) and yet, as time goes on, adaptation and mitigation costs will be even higher.
Even the World Bank has chimed in noting that
Despite years of this, things do not seem to change much. Perhaps it is because there isn’t an emotional attachment to the issue; it is distant, vague, complex. However, as David Robert notes,
As the conference is still underway as this page is written, more information will be added here after the event is over.
For more about the issues from other organizations, here are some starting points:
- Climate Change coverage from Inter Press Service (IPS). (This web site carries an IPS feed.)
- Official COP 18 website
- Updates from the Third World Network
- Coverage from Democracy Now! including useful news videos
News stories from IPS
Below is a list of stories from Inter Press Service related to the Durban climate conference and its aftermath.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
NAIROBI, Aug 14 (IPS) - For many people, climate change is about shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels, longer and more intense heatwaves, and other extreme and unpredictable weather patterns. But for women pastoralists—livestock farmers in the semi-arid lands of Kenya—climate change has forced drastic changes to everyday life, including long and sometimes treacherous journeys to get water.
Thursday, August 08, 2019
TURKANA COUNTY, Kenya, Aug 08 (IPS) - Extreme rainfall and heavy flooding, often amplified by climate change, causes devastation among communities. But new research published on Aug. 7 in the scientific journal Nature reveals that these dangerous events are extremely significant in recharging groundwater aquifers in drylands across sub-Saharan Africa, making them important for climate change adaptation.
Monday, July 08, 2019
AMSTERDAM, Jul 08 (IPS) - Eco Matser is Hivos global Climate Change / Energy and Development Coordinator.
Whoever still thinks climate change is purely an environmental issue, threatening only nature, needs to think again. Climate change is also essentially a human issue because of its devastating effect on human life – and rights. It exacerbates existing inequalities, undermines democracy and threatens development at large. Likewise, by far the greatest burden will fall on those already in poverty, while the rich will be able to buy their way out of rising heat and hunger.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 26 (IPS) - The international community still has a long way to go to chart a new, sustainable course for humanity. But the upcoming climate change meetings provide a renewed opportunity to tackle climate change head on.
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
KASESE, Uganda, Jun 12 (IPS) - As climate change leads to increased temperatures in East Africa, a thicket of invasive thorny trees with the ability to withstand harsh climatic conditions have begun threatening Uganda's second-largest park, home to a rare breed of tree climbing lions and one of the highest concentrations of primates in the world.
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
QUITO, Ecuador, Jun 05 (IPS) - Matilde Mordt is UNDP Resident Representative in Ecuador
As the UN commemorates World Environment Day, UNDP would like to take this opportunity to commend Ecuador's efforts to address climate change and its commitment to raising its climate ambition.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 (IPS) - Siddharth Chatterjee is the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Kenya.
There is barely a corner of human life that will not be affected by climate change, and some of its impacts are already being felt. Consider this, 821 million people are now hungry and over 150 million children stunted, putting the hunger eradication goal, SDG 2, at risk.
Today 15 May, is the United Nations International Day of Families and the theme for this year is, ‘Families and Climate Action'.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
ISLAMABAD, Apr 17 (IPS) - Pakistan, which has been listed as the 7th most vulnerable country affected by climate change, is now seriously tackling the vagaries of weather, both at the official as well as non-official level.
Pursuant to an initiative launched by the Pakistan Parliament's Upper House, the Senate, which specially entrusted a sub-Committee of the Standing Committee on Climate Change to focus on "Green and Clean" Islamabad, media, civil society and students have taken up the cudgels on combating climate change.
Thursday, March 28, 2019
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Mar 28 (IPS) - Fishers in Anguilla saw posted on Youtube this week a video they helped produce that depicts the impacts of climate change on their industry. Titled "Anguilla's Fishing Dilemma", the four-and-a-half minute video highlights some of the main challenges Anguilla's 92 licensed fishers face in earning a living.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 19 (IPS) - The United Nations has vowed to eradicate extreme hunger and malnutrition on a self-imposed deadline of 2030.
But it is facing a harsh realty where human-induced climate change – including flash floods, droughts, heatwaves, typhoons and landslides-- is increasingly threatening agriculture, which also provides livelihoods for over 40 per cent of the global population.
Monday, March 18, 2019
CASTRIES, Mar 18 (IPS) - In 2015, the Caribbean was "the region that could" on the climate change scene. Countries rallied under the ‘1.5 to Stay Alive' banner, in the face of an existential threat. The now former Sustainable Development Minister of Saint Lucia Dr. James Fletcher emerged as a climate change champion at the time. But now, three years on, the scientist is giving regional climate action a C- in an assessment.
Friday, March 15, 2019
LONDON / DHAKA, Mar 15 (IPS) - Jonathan Farr is WaterAid's Senior Policy Analyst on water security & climate change, based in London & Samia Mallik is WaterAid Bangladesh's Communications Officer, based in Dhaka.
The stakes are high for women when faced with a warming world – their livelihoods jeopardised by labour markets that tend to put men first, their family responsibilities increasing rapidly in the face of droughts and flooding, and politicians who refuse to acknowledge the challenges they face. The story of those living on the frontline of a harsher climate is simply not being heard.
Monday, February 25, 2019
BUENOS AIRES, Feb 25 (IPS) - Climate change poses a global threat to food production, but for agriculture in Argentina it could also present new opportunities. In some areas of the country, farming conditions will improve, according to an analysis by experts of the latest climate projections.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
The Caribbean nation of Suriname may be one of the most forested countries in the world, with some 93 percent of the country's surface area being covered in forests, but it is also the most threatened as it struggles with the impacts of climate change.
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
GEORGETOWN, Feb 05 (IPS) - IPS correspondent Desmond Brown interviews DOUGLAS SLATER, Assistant Secretary General at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.
In recent years Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have experienced escalated climate change impacts from hurricanes, tropical storms and other weather-related events thanks to global warming of 1.0 ° Celsius (C) above pre-industrial levels. And it has had adverse effects on particularly vulnerable countries and communities.
Monday, January 28, 2019
GEORGETOWN, Jan 28 (IPS) - The link between desertification, land degradation and climate change is among several issues occupying the attention of the 197 Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for the next three days.
Thursday, January 17, 2019
FELIPE CARRILLO PUERTO, Mexico, Jan 17 (IPS) - "I couldn't plant my cornfield in May, because it rained too early. I lost everything," lamented Marcos Canté, an indigenous farmer, as he recounted the ravages that climate change is wreaking on this municipality on Mexico's Caribbean coast.
Tuesday, January 08, 2019
ZURICH, Switzerland, Jan 08 (IPS) - Peter Lüthi is in Communications at the Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development, Zurich.
The unusually hot summer of 2018 showed that climate change affects a central part of our lives: agriculture. The severe drought in Liechtenstein led to large losses in the hay harvest.
Friday, January 04, 2019
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 04 (IPS) - Dan Shepard is a UN public information officer specializing in sustainability issues--including SDGs, biodiversity & climate change. Africa Renewal*
Record global greenhouse gas emissions are putting the world on a path toward unacceptable warming, with serious implications for development prospects in Africa. "Limiting warming to 1.5° C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics, but doing so would require unprecedented changes," said Jim Skea, cochair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III.
Friday, December 14, 2018
KATOWICE, Poland, Dec 14 (IPS) - As negotiations at the United Nations conference on climate change come to a close, the highest expectation is that finally, there will be a rulebook to guide countries on what should be done to slow down greenhouse gas emissions that make the earth warmer than necessary, and how countries can adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Monday, December 03, 2018
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 03 (IPS) - Lee Hoesung was appointed Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2015. He is also the Endowed Chair Professor of economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development in the Republic of Korea*.
When governments set a target in December 2015 of limiting global warming to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to hold it at 1.5ºC, they invited the IPCC to prepare a report to provide information on this Goal.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
ROME, Nov 29 (IPS) - Did you know bamboo can help combat climate change? Fast growing and flexible, bamboo plants and products can store more carbon than certain types of tree. Bamboo is also used around the world as a source of renewable energy, and to make thousands of durable products - providing a lifeline for communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Saturday, November 24, 2018
BUENOS AIRES, Nov 24 (IPS) - Only 18 percent of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean live in rural areas, but these are increasingly hotbeds of poverty, and climate change is playing a major role in this phenomenon.
Friday, October 19, 2018
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates,, Oct 19 (IPS) - The Middle East, due to its geographical location, is particularly prone to the impacts of climate change.
Longer droughts, more frequent and intense heatwaves, and higher temperatures in the summer are expected to to become increasingly prevalent throughout the Middle East - from Sana'a to Jeddah to Dubai to Tehran.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
BUENOS AIRES, Oct 16 (IPS) - Although their contribution to global warming is negligible, Caribbean nations are bearing the brunt of its impact. Climate phenomena are so devastating that countries are beginning to prepare not so much to adapt to the new reality, but to get their economies back on their feet periodically.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 10 (IPS) - The release of a groundbreaking report has left the international community reeling over very real, intensified impacts of climate change which will hit home sooner rather than later. So what now?
Friday, October 05, 2018
KINGSTON, Oct 05 (IPS) - In the face of the many challenges posed by climate change, Panos Caribbean, a global network of institutes working to give a voice to poor and marginalised communities, says the Caribbean must raise its voice to demand and support the global temperature target of 1.5 °C.
Monday, September 24, 2018
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 24 (IPS) - The United Nations warned last month that the accelerating impacts of climate change—"already clearly visible today"-- have triggered an unpredictable wave of natural disasters-- including extreme heatwaves, wild fires, storms, and floods during the course of this year.
Monday, September 24, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO and ST. JOHNâ€™S, Sep 24 (IPS) - Caribbean leaders want larger countries to pick up the pace at which they are working to meet the climate change challenge and keep global warming from devastating whole countries, including the most vulnerable ones like those in the Caribbean.
Monday, September 24, 2018
ADDIS ABABA, Sep 24 (IPS) - Faced with worsening droughts due to climate change, Ethiopia is joining an international initiative seeking to build global resilience against the problems caused by it, and enable developing countries to become part of a united solution to the ongoing problem.
- Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction
- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Reactions to Climate Change Negotiations and Action
- Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction
- Global Warming, Spin and Media
- Climate Justice and Equity
- Climate Change Flexibility Mechanisms
- Carbon Sinks, Forests and Climate Change
- Climate Change Affects Biodiversity
- Global Warming and Population
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