First reactions from Doha on Saturday, where a 36-hour closing session brought cold comfort to a warming planet. For Sharan Burrow of the ITUC:
“There will be no jobs in a dead planet, nor a Just Transition with this outcome. We need time to build the industrial and social policies to help working people fully participate in a sustainable economy. Delays will make our task difficult, almost impossible. In order to be Just, the transition must start now.”
The WWF went for the science:
“What millions of people experienced this year is that fighting climate change is now extremely urgent. Every year counts, and every year in which governments do not act increases the risk to us all.”
Commentators are now calling decisions in Qatar the Doha Gateway Package. Nicholas Stern observed that the positives from Doha included:
- A second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to December 2020.
- Continuation of financial support from rich countries to developing countries.
- Focused efforts on negotiating a new international agreement in 2015, to take effect in 2020.
However, the legally-binding emissions-cutting regime that will come into force on 1 January 2013 under a new commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol will only encompass a handful of nations, including the EU, Norway, and Australia, leaving countries responsible for over 85 per cent of global emissions facing no legal targets.
Stern also complemented the UK Government role in Doha, “where it has helped to forge agreement between other countries and has led by example in making firm commitments of financial support to assist developing countries with the transition to low-carbon economic development and growth and to adapt to those impacts of climate change that cannot now be avoided. Ed Davey and Greg Barker have shown what can be achieved when the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives work together within the Coalition Government.”
He also argued that the EU demonstrated strong leadership at the climate change summit and showed collectively it is more effective than the individual Member States acting alone and can be and should be much more than a customs union.
The longer the delays in reaching a global deal, the greater the importance of rapid progress to cut emissions at national level and for concerted action at EU level. Last week also brought news (1) that steelmaker Arcelor Mittal had pulled out of the EU-funded carbon capture (CCS) project for steel in France, and (2) the UK government was heading for a new dash for gas without a matching boost in carbon capture for coal and gas power stations. The EU’s twin priorities for 2013 should include an EU wide green jobs initiative, at the heart of which should be a binding CCS plan for power and industry.