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. Pakistan’s Battle Against Climate Change

    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.

  2. Anguilla's Fishers Share their First-Hand Knowledge About Climate Change and its Impact

    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.

  3. Climate Change: a Threat to Agriculture Undermining UN’s Goal to Eradicate Hunger

    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.

  4. Q&A: Caribbean Losing Momentum on Climate Change and Concerted Action is Needed

    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.

  5. Women Take the Lead Tackling Climate Change in Bangladesh

    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.

  6. Does Climate Change Offer New Opportunities for Agriculture in Argentina?

    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.

  7. Q&A: We Are Helping the World Mitigate Climate Change, Now it’s Time to Help Us

    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.

  8. Q&A: Continuous Struggle for the Caribbean to be Heard in Climate Change Discussions

    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.

  9. Desertification, Land Degradation and Climate Change Go Hand in Hand

    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.

  10. Climate Change Threatens Mexico's Atlantic Coast

    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.

  11. Climate Change: Complex Challenges for Agriculture

    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.

  12. Global Warming: Severe Consequences for Africa

    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.

  13. African Media Poorly Represented at the United Nations Climate Change Negotiations

    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.

  14. Limiting Climate Change to 1.5 C is not Impossible, Says IPCC Chair

    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.

  15. Combatting Climate Change with Bamboo

    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.

  16. Climate Change Drives Up Rural Poverty in Latin America

    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.

  17. UAE Raising Awareness About the Impact of Climate Change

    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.

  18. Caribbean Nations Pay the Price for Climate Change Caused by Others

    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.

  19. “Our Choices Matter More Than Ever Before” To Limit Climate Change

    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?

  20. Climate Change Response Must Be Accompanied By a Renewed Approach to Economic Development

    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.

  21. Climate Change Undermining Global Efforts to Eradicate Hunger

    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.

  22. Countries On the Frontline of Climate Change Impact Call for Stronger Mitigation Commitments

    Monday, September 24, 2018

    SAN FRANCISCO and ST. JOHN’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.

  23. Ethiopia’s Struggle Against Climate Change Gets a Boost from Green Climate Fund

    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. 

  24. Global Warming Threatens Europe's Public Health

    Thursday, September 13, 2018

    VIENNA, Sep 13 (IPS) - Climate change and health experts are warning of the growing threat to public health in Europe from global warming as rising temperatures help potentially lethal diseases spread easily across the continent.

  25. Why the Flooding in Grenada is a Clear Reminder of its Vulnerability to Climate Change

    Wednesday, August 08, 2018

    ST GEORGE’S, Aug 08 (IPS) - Grenada is still tallying the damage after heavy rainfall last week resulted in "wide and extensive" flooding that once again highlights the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to climate change.

  26. Ocean Conservation Is an Untapped Strategy for Fighting Climate Change

    Friday, July 06, 2018

    WASHINGTON DC, Jul 06 (IPS) - Eliza Northrop is an Associate in the International Climate Action Initiative at World Resources Institute. The ocean contributes $1.5 trillion annually to the global economy and assures the livelihood of 10-12 percent of the world's population. But there's another reason to protect marine ecosystems—they're crucial for curbing climate change.

  27. A Natural Climate Change Adaptation Laboratory in Brazil

    Tuesday, May 22, 2018

    PINTADAS, Brazil, May 22 (IPS) - The small pulp mill that uses native fruits that were previously discarded is a synthesis of the multiple objectives of the Adapta Sertão project, a programme created to build resilience to climate change in Brazil's most vulnerable region.

  28. Will Climate Change Cause More Migrants than Wars?

    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    May 17 (IPS) - Climate change is one of the main drivers of migration and will be increasingly so. It will even have a more significant role in the displacement of people than armed conflicts, which today cause major refugee crises.

  29. Role of Energy Efficiency in Limiting Climate Change

    Friday, March 23, 2018

    READING, United Kingdom, Mar 23 (IPS) - Greenhouse gases are produced as a by-product of the use of fossil fuels to supply light and heat, produce food, manufacture products and transport people and goods.  These gases congregate in the upper atmosphere and result in global warming through absorption of sunlight reflected from the earth's surface.  At the 21st meeting of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, it was agreed to limit the average increase in global temperature to 2°C .

  30. Climate Change is Hurting Children the Most: Here is How to Protect Them

    Friday, February 02, 2018

    Feb 02 (IPS) - In the United States, the 21 young people who are plaintiffs in the case Juliana v. United States will soon make their case against the government for failing to take action against climate change. Similar lawsuits have been filed in countries including PortugalIndiaand Pakistan.

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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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