The "Doha Climate Gateway": Will the camel go through the eye of the needle?
Expectations for the climate summit in Doha were so low that it is quite remarkable that the meager results still managed to fall short of them. Many NGOs condemned the conference as a failure. The EU and Germany called it an important step in the right direction. Ban Ki-moon congratulated the Qatari government for its successful role as the conference host, while the United States disassociated itself from important passages of the agreement, and Russia protested that it had been passed over in the final vote. Sounds familiar? Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban? The UN climate talks appear to have a recurring theme: The process was saved, unfortunately the climate wasn't. Did Doha move us even the tiniest step forward in international climate policy?
The deal was finalized on Saturday, December 8, 2012, 7:00 pm local time, almost a day later than planned. Seen from the outside, it contains roughly what was sought: the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol can begin as scheduled on January 1, 2013. The Bali Action Plan negotiation track was completed, and everyone will continue negotiating under the new ADP track (Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) to reach a new global agreement by 2015, which will take effect in 2020. For the president of the climate summit, the former Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, these constitute the building blocks of the “Doha Climate Gateway”. The concept is actually quite apt when you imagine the gateway as the eye of the needle through which everyone was trying to squeeze in the two weeks of negotiations – while many important issues here and there were stripped off and fell by the wayside. And where this gateway will lead is also a legitimate, yet largely unanswered question.
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