Category Archives: COP18

Day 12 at the COP18/CMP8

288 hours to rewrite our climate legacy?

Conclusion of 288 hours?

It’s officially the last day of the UN climate talks in Qatar, where about 200 countries have spent the past fortnight working to agree the next steps to a future climate treaty to be clinched in 2015.

However, we have been hearing that a final agreement is not expected until Saturday, perhaps around noon.

To refresh my memory, I went through my notes during the Civil Society Capacity Building Workshop held in October 2012 facilitated by the Climate Action Network International Director, Wael Hmaidan, and to see where the negotiations are at now.

Here are the four key areas that officials are working to agree on:

  1. A continuation of the Kyoto protocol, the only existing legal international treaty for cutting emissions, by the EU, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia
  2. An end to the “twin track” negotiating process that the talks have operated under for several years – the “Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA)” and the Kyoto protocol group
  3. Principles around climate finance to see money transferred from rich to poor countries, though specific numbers are not expected
  4. Most crucially, a roadmap to a legal climate treaty to make all the countries in the talk cut emissions, to be agreed by 2015 and come into effect by 2020.

As of this writing, I am still not sure whether we, with NGO badges, can still enter the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) premises tomorrow (8 December 2012). According to a casual talk with Mr. Hmaidan, “we could still enter.” Nevertheless, there were announcements that Park n Ride and bus services to and from hotels will be extended until Sunday, 9 December 2012.

I wanted to listen to the President’s Informal Stock Taking happening at 1300 but was cancelled and moved to 1800 later today. The app on my iPhone was apparently not updated so was checking on TV screens for side events updates.

 

Sing for the Climate bracelet worn by youth activists.

Sing For the Climate

Maman, the huge steel spider occupying the central location of QNCC, apparently seems to be where a lot of civil action takes place, we were told that a flashmob is going to take place at 1230, so my fellow delegates from Qatar Sustainability Network (QSN) moved to have a “strategic” position before the flashmob commences. Well, we tried but the media were already in their places.

The flashmob protested at the lack of ambition shown by negotiators from the 194 countries present in Doha by singing a song by Sing For The Climate group based in Belgium entitled “Do It Now – Bella Ciao.” It is indeed a welcome bit of drama from the civil society. Check out the video below.

 

One Degree of Separation – Sort of

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being interviewed by the media

There are some informal theory by Doha residents that the degree of separation is only two but being inside the QNCC premises shortens it to one or so it seems. Got a chance to be two feet away from Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being interviewed by the media. We requested her PA for a photo op but was told to wait until her interviews are over – there were 2 more. We never had a chance as we got caught up with chatting and checking on updates with other fellow QSN delegates.

 

Qatar NGOs’ Role

As my first COP experience is coming to an end, the feeling of empowerment is overwhelming. As a delegate for SustainableQatar for this important conference I was able to wear my activist hat. As the only Filipino delegate as well, under the Qatar-based NGO umbrella, QSN, it is a consuming privilege to be on board and witness the steps being taken by the host country.

Rich Qatar, together with other developed countries, being pressured to come up with ways to help developing countries cope with climate change, through its young and new NGO delegation, is a  proof, albeit indirectly, that the country is working on it, and ultimately, towards a just and equitable outcome to COP18 and a sustainable Qatar and planet.

Click on the photos for a slideshow.

 

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Day 11 at the COP18/CMP8

Liz Gallagher of E3G, Steve Herz of Sierra Club (2nd to the right) and Wael Hmaidan of CAN International (right)

I was early today at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) to catch up with fellow delegates as well as to listen to Climate Action Network (CAN) International’s Press Briefing on Non-Governmental Response to Negotiations. Another way to get a summary and impressions on the negotiations aside from the Stock Taking Plenary (happening tonight at 1800 chaired by the COP18 President, H.E. Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah) and hear it from dedicated NGOs through CAN who currently have an Arab (Lebanon) as its Director.

Liz Gallagher, senior policy from E3G, started “it’s fairly usual at this point of the COP for things to be a little chaotic. We are coming to a tipping point, nobody is driving the process and nobody is leading.” Even fears a “zombie outcome” for the Doha climate talks. The Long-term Cooperative Act (LCA) was described as a “mess and been taken hostage by the U.S., particularly on finance.”

As Steve Herz from the Sierra Club stressed that the US is blocking the negotiations in the long-term finance work program. Furthermore, “the LCA is closing that’s been where the main finance conversation have been taking place about scaling up assistance to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation….so there are a number of issues that need to be resolved to move forward toward a new regime.”

Wael Hmaidan, CAN International Director, noted that “the Arab leadership has failed us so far,” however, with two full days more in the negotiations, they are optimistic for pledges, bring spirits up, and help raise the ambition gap.

 

In Wake of Bopha

A photo grabbed from a video clip of emotional Saño.

Yesterday, an intense and uncharacteristic typhoon slammed into an island Mindanao, south of the Philippines, but still not sure as of this writing on the damage it has put again to my highly vulnerable country. I missed the plenary, nevertheless, able to watch it online and saw a senior diplomat breaks down in public. Was it a signal that other countries must pay attention? It happens rarely, but can it have a dramatic effect?

Naderev “Yeb” Saño, the lead negotiator for the Philippines delegation in Doha and the commissioner of the Philippines Climate Change Commission concluded his emotional plea:

“I appeal to all, please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around.

Please, let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want.

I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”

 

Optimism is the Drive

Still a day or two towards the closing of this conference and having a roller coaster ride with my emotions – high, down, sideways – maybe due to my first ever COP, upcoming Christmas holidays with my family, Qatar Sustainability Network and SustainableQatar, whatever it is, I am optimistic that these climate talks will yield to the results we all want to achieve for the current and especially for the coming generations.

And, yes, I believe that Qatar will do its best to be remembered as the conference where it demonstrated a lead role in climate negotiations. They. Just. Will….and that is exactly why we (SustainableQatar and QSN) are here, too!

 

NB: For those of who cannot enter the QNCC premises but wish to watch open sessions, visit the UNFCCC site.

Day 9 at the COP18/CMP8

 

Today, world leaders call for urgent global action at the opening of the High Level Segment of the conference. Of course, I was not there but on the way to the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), I figured that there will be VVIP/VIP are in the conference premises as the main road leading to QNCC was blocked and motorists were waved to take an alternate route. Took me half an hour to reach Gate 2 for the Park n Ride.

 I headed to Hall 4 to meet another delegate to catch up and bumped into Soham Baba. I missed his presentation but felt fortunate to have a photo op with him. I think this is the highest level I could get for the day.

Went to the bloggers area and enjoyed the free high-speed wifi and checked out the tweets and updates on the high level ceremony.

Fortunately, the COP18/CMP8 website provides free to use photos to be downloaded and shared.

Ban Ki-Moon and Christiana Figueress attending Momentum for Change.
Photo courtesy of Penny Yi Wang through Flickr.

 

Check out more photos on Flickr!

In an online report, it said that the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said even though he had no means to compel member states to meet commitments, he would “morally” compel them, in particular developed countries to meet the commitment.

 

Climate Change: Breakdown or Breakthrough – Opportunities for Innovation

Presented by Katrin Scholz-Barth, President SustainableQatar

Katrin Scholz-Barth chairs SustainableQatar since February 2009, and has helped to grow and expand the organization that includes Qatari speakers/presenters and attendees into a growing public forum about environmental issues relevant to Qatar.
Katrin earned her masters of science degree in civil and environmental engineering in Germany and has practiced 20 years in the US. Her expertise focus on green infrastructure and innovative low impact technologies for water treatment and conservation, energy efficiency, and air quality control – to reduce the ecological footprint of the built environment – subjects she has also taught at Harvard University and at the University of Pennsylvania.