From the TUC

Qatar blog #1: Climate nightmare

26 Nov 2012, by in Environment

Follow unions at the UNFCCC in Qatar

As the UN assembles in Qatar for its 18th annual climate change conference, a new UN report warns of a 14 billion tonne “emissions gap” in 2020 between  “business as usual” and the emissions level needed to hold the increase of global temperatures below the 2°C target. 14 billions tonnes is more than China’s carbon emissions in 2010 (11 billion tonnes). This week, too, the UK government publishes its long-awaited Energy Bill, but without a “decarbonisation target” for 2030, despite the Energy Secretary’s best efforts. And so this message from a member of the trade union delegation in Qatar perhaps hits the spot:

“Qatar is really a climate nightmare – worse than imagined. Malls with ice skating, gondolas (Venice-style), and the slogan from the Qatari hosts: “Shop til you drop – spend your all-day leisure time shopping and socialising with multi-national shoppers in the malls.”

Last week, too, the World Meterological Organisation  reported a new high of 390 parts of CO2 per million in 2011 – the green line, below:


Meanwhile, a new World Bank-commissioned report warns the world is on track to a “4°C world” marked by extreme heat-waves and life-threatening sea level rise. Adverse effects of global warming are “tilted against many of the world’s poorest regions” and likely to undermine development efforts and goals.The largest increase in poverty because of climate change is likely to occur in Africa, with Bangladesh and Mexico also projected to see substantial.

In Qatar, the trade union delegation is calling for:

  • A second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in December 2012.
  • Real commitments from Governments to close the “2020 gigatonne gap, which must mean the US and Canada get on board.
  • A new legally binding agreement applicable to all and to be finalised and in force by 2015.
  • A commitment to Just Transition measures on green jobs, a place at the table for trade unions, and trade union rights of the kind largely denied by the Qatari Government.