COP18—Doha Climate Conference

Author and Page information

  • by Anup Shah
  • This Page Created Sunday, December 02, 2012

This web page has the following sub-sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Media coverage
  3. More information
    1. News stories from IPS

Introduction

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
  • etc.

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:

Developing countries want the Doha talks to produce increased ambition in emission reductions for the second commitment period (CP2) while developed countries seem set to maintain their currently weak targets, with uncertainty over the future review of those targets.

Developing countries are also insisting that the [new reduction targets] be established in a ratifiable legally binding amendment of [the Kyoto Protocol], that contains the quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives (QELROs) of each developed country Party.

Many developing countries also want a legal provision for provisional application of the QELROs from 1 January 2013 that developed countries do not support.

According to several developing country delegates, without provisional application on a legal basis, the reduction commitments would be rendered voluntary.

Chee Yoke Ling, Kyoto Protocol second commitment period still mired in differences PDF formatted document, Third World Network, November 28, 2012

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Media coverage

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.

Media interest in the subject has crashed. Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University describes a “collapse of any significant coverage of climate change in the [US] media. We know that 2010 was a record low year, and 2011 will probably look much the same. If the media doesn’t draw attention to the issue, public opinion will decline.”

Equally disturbing is the variation in media performance across the globe. A wide-ranging Reuters study on the prevalence of climate skepticism in the world’s media — Poles Apart — The international reporting of climate skepticism - focused on newspapers in Brazil, China, France, India, the UK and the USA. The periods studied were February to April 2007 and mid-November 2009 to mid-February 2010 (a period that included the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen and “Climategate”). Remarkably, the study concluded that climate skepticism is “predominantly an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon”, found most frequently in US and British newspapers.

And so we find that Britain and the US — the two countries responding most aggressively to alleged “threats” to human security in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya — are also the two countries least interested in responding to the very real threat of climate change.

Climate Crisis – The Collapse In Corporate Media Coverage , Media Lens, December 1, 2011

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

Coal, oil and gas companies and their backers in the financial and investment industry must stop putting billions of dollars into finding and extracting new sources of fossil fuels. If they don't shift their investments, temperatures will soar four to 10 degrees C higher, devastating many parts of the world, the World Bank said Monday.

Stephen Leahy, Planet on Path to Four C Warming, World Bank Warns, Inter Press Service, November 19, 2012

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,

Climate change is not only the economic and ecological crisis of our time, it’s also a moral crisis. What we are doing to our descendants is a moral crime. Finding ways to help people get that, feel it in their guts the way they would if someone threatened their own families, is a precondition for serious, sustained action.

David Roberts, Why climate change doesn’t spark moral outrage, and how it could, Grist, July 27, 2012

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More information

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:

News stories from IPS

Below is a list of stories from Inter Press Service related to the Durban climate conference and its aftermath.

Caribbean Biodiversity Overheated by Climate Change

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

SANTO DOMINGO, Jan 20 (IPS) - The nearly 7,000 islands and the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea are home to thousands of endemic species and are on the migration route of many kinds of birds. Preserving this abundant fauna requires multilateral actions in today's era of global warming.

Caribbean Journalists Prepare to Report on Climate Change

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

SANTO DOMINGO, Jan 06 (IPS) - Environmentally committed journalists in the Caribbean point to a major challenge for media workers: communicating and raising awareness about the crucial climate change agreement that emerged from the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris.

Climate Change and Women Across Three Continents

Saturday, December 12, 2015

PARIS, Dec 12 (IPS) - The link between women in climate change is a cross-cutting issue that deserves greater recognition at climate negotiations. It is pervasive, touching everything; from health and agriculture to sanitation and education.

Addressing Climate Change and Poverty as one in Malawi

Thursday, December 03, 2015

LILONGWE, MALAWI, Dec 03 (IPS) - The government of Malawi has been struggling to end poverty since independence in 1964, banking its strategies on the proceeds from its agro based economy. Sadly, climate change entered the scene and dramatically disrupted the farming sector.

Saving the Arctic Requires Action on Climate Change and Air Pollution

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

GENEVA, Dec 02 (IPS) - Arctic temperatures have increased twice as much as the global average in the past 100 years. Recent photos show that thousands of walruses normally resting on sea ice between dives to find food have been forced to crowd ashore because of extreme sea ice melt in Alaska. Such photos have once again reminded us that it is high time we take serious action on climate change if we want to save the Arctic.

Women Farmers Strive to Combat Climate Change in the Caribbean

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

ANSE-LA-RAYE, St. Lucia, Dec 02 (IPS) - In the Caribbean, some women find themselves on the frontline with the battle to mitigate climate change. Meet Dr. Krystal Cox. She is one of three girls who all studied medicine and got medical degrees.

Farmers Urge Solutions at Climate Change Talks

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

PARIS, Dec 02 (IPS) - Recognizing that agriculture plays a significant role in global warming, farmer associations say they want to offer solutions, and they're urging governments to include them in negotiations during the United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris.

Uganda, Tanzania Need Gender Sensitive Climate Change Policies

Thursday, November 26, 2015

KAMPALA, Uganda, Nov 26 (IPS) - Climate Change needs to be at the top of the country's agenda, according to a project examining Uganda's policies. It says the country hasn't paid enough attention to climate change in national development and agriculture plans and this needs to be turned around before it's too late.

The Challenge of Climate Change: an Indian perspective

Thursday, November 19, 2015

NEW DELHI, INDIA, Nov 19 (IPS) - Few countries in the world are as vulnerable to the effects of climate change as India is with its vast population (of over 1.2 billion) that is dependent on the growth of its agrarian economy, its expansive coastal areas and the Himalayan region and islands.

Climate Change Threatens Flavours of Argentine Wine

Thursday, November 05, 2015

MENDOZA, Argentina, Nov 05 (IPS) - Purple garlic that is losing its color? More translucent wine? Climate change will also affect the flavours of our food in the absence of measures to mitigate the impacts of global warming, which are already being felt in crops that are basic to local economies, such as in the Argentine province of Mendoza.

Zimbabwe's Mega Dam Project Could Flounder in the Face of Climate Change

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE, Nov 03 (IPS) - Zimbabwe's planned Batoka Gorge power project on the Zambezi River is expected to generate 2,400 megawatts (MW) of electricity, upward from an initial 1,600 MW, but the worsening power cuts that are being blamed on low water levels have renewed concerns about the effects of climate change on mega dams.

The Global South Will Make Its Contribution to Fighting Climate Change

Monday, October 05, 2015

SAN JOSE, Oct 05 (IPS) - Seen for years as passive actors in the fight against global warming, more than 100 countries of the Global South have submitted their national contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonising their economies.

Brazil and Germany Take Lead in Tackling Climate Change

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 23 (IPS) - Brazil and Germany, the two largest national economies within their respective continents, are taking the lead in tackling climate change through outstanding policies and bilateral relations, according to experts.

Climate Change Shrinking Uganda’s Lakes and Fish

Saturday, August 22, 2015

KAMPALA, Aug 22 (IPS) - Climate change is reducing the size of several species of fish on lakes in Uganda and its neighbouring East African countries, with a negative impact on the livelihoods of millions people who depend on fishing for food and income.

Obama Takes Lead on Climate Change Ahead of U.N. Talks in Paris

Friday, August 07, 2015

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 07 (IPS) - This week, U.S. President Barack Obama formally unveiled the details of his Clean Power Plan (CPP), a comprehensive carbon-cutting strategy he described as "the biggest and most important step…ever taken to combat climate change" in a prior video address posted on Facebook.

Zimbabwe's Climate Change Ambitions May be Too Tall

Sunday, August 02, 2015

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Aug 02 (IPS) - With the U.N. Climate Change conference later this year in Paris fast approaching, Zimbabwe's climate change commitments face the slow progress on an issue that continues to stalk other developing countries – climate finance.

Nations Most at Risk have Least Familiarity with Term “Climate Change”

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

NEW YORK, Jul 28 (IPS) - Although four in 10 adults have never heard the phrase "climate change," many are aware that something is amiss with local weather patterns, a new survey covering 119 countries has found.

Goats Take the Bite Out of Climate Change in Zimbabwe

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

HARARE, Jul 22 (IPS) - With unusually hot and dry weather beating down on this Southern African nation, climate change and the accompanying drought have cost farmers much of their cattle herds. In response, many ranchers are turning to goats to preserve their livestock assets.

Big Oil Privately Accepted Global Warming, but Publicly Battled Climate Science

Friday, July 17, 2015

SAN JOSE, Jul 17 (IPS) - For decades, executives and decision makers at major U.S. and European fossil fuel companies were aware that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused global warming, but still provided millions in funding to boost disinformation campaigns and sponsor scientists who denied climate change.

Is Climate Change or ISIS the Greater Threat to Humankind?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 14 (IPS) - The world at large is apparently divided over what constitutes the biggest single threat to human kind: the devastation caused by climate change or the unbridled terror unleashed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)? According to a new Pew Research Center survey designed to measure perceptions of international threats, climate change is viewed as the "top concern" by people around the world.

Q&A: “Climate Change is About Much More Than Temperature”

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

PARIS, Jul 07 (IPS) - The cost of inaction is high when it comes to climate change and, so far, countries' commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are not enough, says Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

U.N. Swears by Hefty 100 Billion Dollar Target to Fight Climate Change

Friday, July 03, 2015

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 03 (IPS) - The most devastating impact of climate change – including rising sea levels, floods, cyclones and both droughts and heavy monsoons – will be felt mostly by the world's poorest nations.

U.N. Chief Seeks Equity in Climate Change Agreement in Paris

Monday, June 29, 2015

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 29 (IPS) - When the 193-member General Assembly hosted a high level meeting on climate change Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that any proposed agreement at an upcoming international conference in Paris in December must uphold the principle of equity.

Opinion: We Have a Moral Imperative to Act on Climate Change

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

MANILA, Jun 17 (IPS) - My country, the Philippines, is one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Even though we are among those countries that hardly contributed emissions and benefited least from burning fossil fuels, we find ourselves at the frontline of the climate crisis.

Chinese Public Most Worried About Climate Change

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 09 (IPS) - A new survey finds that China leads the world in public support for government action on climate change.

Climate Change: Some Companies Reject ‘Business as Usual’

Thursday, May 21, 2015

PARIS, May 21 (IPS) - When it comes to climate change, business as usual is simply "not an option".

In Belize, Climate Change Drives Coastal Management

Thursday, April 09, 2015

BELIZE CITY, Apr 09 (IPS) - A five-year project launched here in Belize City in March seeks to cement a shift in view of climate change and its impact on Belize's national development.

Syrian Conflict Has Underlying Links to Climate Change, Says Study

Monday, March 02, 2015

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 02 (IPS) - Was the four-year-old military conflict in Syria, which has claimed the lives of over 200,000 people, mostly civilians, triggered at least in part by climate change?

Everything You Wanted to Know About Climate Change

Thursday, February 19, 2015

NEW DELHI, Feb 19 (IPS) - So much information about climate change now abounds that it is hard to differentiate fact from fiction. Scientific reports appear alongside conspiracy theories, data is interspersed with drastic predictions about the future, and everywhere one turns, the bad news just seems to be getting worse.

OPINION: Climate Change and Inequalities: How Will They Impact Women?

Friday, December 12, 2014

UNITED NATIONS, Dic 12 (IPS) - Among all the impacts of climate change, from rising sea levels to landslides and flooding, there is one that does not get the attention it deserves: an exacerbation of inequalities, particularly for women.

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Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created: Sunday, December 02, 2012

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