COP18—Doha Climate Conference

Author and Page information

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

On this page:

  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 , 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.

  1. Global Warming Puts Asia’s Vital Yields at High Risk

    Monday, August 28, 2017

    ROME, Aug 28 (IPS) - While mainstream media have been widely reporting on the dramatic consequences of tropical storm Harvey in the United States, which has been characterised as the fiercest hurricane to hit this country in over a decade, global warming is expected to have a significant impact on "future yields of everything from rice to fish, particularly in countries situated closer to the equator," the United Nations warned.

  2. St. Lucia’s PM on Climate Change: “Time Is Against Us”

    Monday, August 28, 2017

    CASTRIES, St Lucia, Aug 28 (IPS) - A Caribbean Community (CARICOM) prime minister has reiterated the call for developed countries to assist Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in their quest to combat the effects of climate change.

  3. Climate Change-Poverty-Migration: The New, Inhuman ‘Bermuda Triangle’

    Friday, July 07, 2017

    ROME, Jul 07 (IPS) - World organisations, experts and scientists have been repeating it to satiety: climate change poses a major risk to the poorest rural populations in developing countries, dangerously threatening their lives and livelihoods and thus forcing them to migrate.

  4. Anyway to Help Slow Down Climate Change, Individually? Yes We Can!

    Tuesday, June 27, 2017

    ROME, Jun 27 (IPS) - It is no secret that the biggest responsible for climate change is greed. The greed of the world's largest private corporations, which blindly seek unlimited high financial benefits. And the greed of those politicians who are also blindly keen about holding their temporary power at any cost, thus not daring to challenge big business. Ordinary people can meanwhile help slow down such a hellish race.

  5. Climate Change Has Changed the Geography of Honduras’ Caribbean Coast

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    BALFATE, Honduras, May 16 (IPS) - In Balfate, a rural municipality that includes fishing villages and small farms along Honduras' Caribbean coast, the effects of climate change are already felt on its famous scenery and beaches. The sea is relentlessly approaching the houses, while the ecosystem is deteriorating.

  6. Caribbean Rolls Out Plans to Reduce Climate Change Hazards

    Sunday, April 30, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 30 (IPS) - Climate change remains inextricably linked to the challenges of disaster risk reduction (DRR). And according to the head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Robert Glasser, the reduction of greenhouse gases is "the single most urgent global disaster risk treatment".

  7. Nicaragua’s South Caribbean Coast Improves Readiness for Climate Change

    Saturday, April 22, 2017

    BLUEFIELDS, Nicaragua, Apr 22 (IPS) - The effects of climate change have hit Nicaragua's Caribbean coastal regions hard in the last decade and have forced the authorities and local residents to take protection and adaptation measures to address the phenomenon that has gradually undermined their safety and changed their way of life.

  8. Disease Burden Growing as Vector Insects Adapt to Climate Change

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 18 (IPS) - There were surprised gasps when University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor John Agard told journalists at an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in late November 2016 that mosquitoes were not only living longer, but were "breeding in septic tanks underground".

  9. Climate Change Solutions Can’t Wait for U.S. Leadership

    Tuesday, April 04, 2017

    BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Apr 04 (IPS) - From tourism-dependent nations like Barbados to those rich with natural resources like Guyana, climate change poses one of the biggest challenges for the countries of the Caribbean.

  10. Farmer Field Schools Help Women Lead on Climate Change

    Friday, January 27, 2017

    KAMPALA, Uganda, Jan 27 (IPS) - Discussions around climate change have largely ignored how men and women are affected by climate change differently, instead choosing to highlight the extreme and unpredictable weather patterns or decreases in agricultural productivity.

  11. New Fund Aims to Help Build Resilience to Climate Change

    Friday, November 18, 2016

    MARRAKECH, Nov 18 (IPS) - The world has been too slow in responding to climate events such as El Niño and La Niña, and those who are the "least responsible are the ones suffering most", Mary Robinson, the special envoy on El Niño and Climate, told IPS at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech (COP22).

  12. Coal Entrenches Poverty, Drives Climate Change: Report

    Friday, November 18, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS, Nov 18 (IPS) - Coal power does more to harm the world's poor than to help them, even before the devastating impacts of climate change are taken into account, according to a recent report published by 12 international development organisations.

  13. Mideast: ‘Climate Change Will Make a Difficult Situation Much Worse’

    Thursday, November 17, 2016

    MARRAKECH, Morocco, Nov 17 (IPS) - "Climate change will make a difficult situation much worse, and will affect millions of people in the Middle East and North Africa region," World Bank MENA Vice-President Hafez Ghanem stated at the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech, Morocco on 7-18 November.

  14. Climate Change Adaptation - Key to Reaching Zero Hunger in Latin America

    Wednesday, October 12, 2016

    SANTIAGO, Oct 12 (IPS) - Climate change is leading to major modifications in agricultural production in Latin America and the Caribbean, and if mitigation and adaptation measures of the productive system are not urgently adopted, threats to food security will be exacerbated.

  15. $90tn Infrastructure Investment Could Combat Climate Change: Report

    Wednesday, October 12, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 12 (IPS) - The world will need to more than double its current infrastructure stock over the next 15 years - a massive undertaking which could either contribute to or combat catastrophic climate change - according to a new report.

  16. Obama Stresses Climate Change Urgency Ahead of IUCN Congress

    Thursday, September 01, 2016

    HONOLULU, Hawaii, Sep 01 (IPS) - U.S. President Barack Obama has stressed the urgency of tackling climate change in a speech to Pacific leaders in his home state of Hawaii.

  17. Rights of Indigenous Peoples ‘Critical’ to Combat Climate Change

    Monday, July 25, 2016

    ROME, Jul 25 (IPS) - No longer it is about restoring the legitimate rights of over 370 indigenous peoples spread across 70 countries worldwide, many of them living in dire situation, but now about their central, critical role in combating climate change.

  18. Antibiotic Resistance Requires Global Response Similar to AIDS, Climate Change

    Sunday, June 12, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 12 (IPS) - Addressing antibiotic resistance will require a global political response similar to the way the world has reacted to climate change or HIV / AIDS, Sweden's Minister of Public Health Gabriel Wikstrom, told IPS recently.

  19. Q&A: Crisis and Climate Change Driving Unprecedented Migration

    Monday, June 06, 2016

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 06 (IPS) - Climate change is now adding new layers of complexity to the nexus between migration and the environment.

  20. Climate Change Compounds Humanitarian Crises in Global South

    Friday, May 20, 2016

    SAN JOSE, May 20 (IPS) - As the Global South works to overcome a history of weak institutions, armed conflict and poverty-driven forced exodus, key causes of its humanitarian crises, developing countries now have to also fight to keep global warming from compounding their problems.

  21. Let’s Not Forget Disaster Risk as we Rush to Adapt to Climate Change

    Monday, May 09, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS, May 09 (IPS) - Helping at-risk communities adapt to climate change impacts is an important part of the Paris Climate Change agreement, but adaptation will not be complete without considering disaster risk.

  22. Farmers Can Weather Climate Change – With Financing

    Friday, May 06, 2016

    LIVINGSTONE, Zambia, May 06 (IPS) - Merian Kalala, a farmer in Solwezi, capital of the North-Western Province of Zambia, knows firsthand that climate change is posing massive problems for agricultural productivity.

  23. G-77 Should Adopt South-South Climate Change Program of Action: Ambassador Djoghlaf

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 26 (IPS) - The 134 members of the Group of 77 and China (G-77) made their mark on the Paris Climate Change Agreement and should now adopt a program of action to implement it, Ambassador Ahmed Djoghlaf told IPS in a recent interview.

  24. South-South Cooperation Needed to Tackle Climate Change

    Saturday, April 23, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 23 (IPS) - As countries came together at the United Nations this week to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement, partnerships were forged between countries of the global South to support the implementation of the global treaty.

  25. Developing Countries Take Lead at Climate Change Agreement Signing

    Friday, April 22, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 22 (IPS) - An unprecedented 175 countries are expected to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement here Friday, with 15 developing countries taking the lead by also ratifying the treaty.

  26. Climate Change (I)<br>Will the Middle East Become ‘Uninhabitable’?

    Monday, April 18, 2016

    CAIRO, Apr 18 (IPS) - This is not about any alarming header—it is the dramatic conclusion of several scientific studies about the on-going climate change impact on the Middle East region, particularly in the Gulf area. The examples are stark.

  27. Tackling Climate Change in the Caribbean: Natural Solutions to a Human Induced Problem

    Tuesday, February 02, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 02 (IPS) - The world is still celebrating the Paris Agreement on Climate Changethe main outcome of the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Its ambitions are unprecedented: not only has the world committed to limit the increase of temperature to "well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels," it has also agreed to pursue efforts to "limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C."

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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Where next?

Related articles

  1. Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction
  2. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  3. Reactions to Climate Change Negotiations and Action
  4. Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction
  5. Global Warming, Spin and Media
  6. Climate Justice and Equity
  7. Climate Change Flexibility Mechanisms
  8. Carbon Sinks, Forests and Climate Change
  9. Climate Change Affects Biodiversity
  10. Global Warming and Population

Author and Page Information

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

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