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  Global Views
COP18: The Climate Talks in Doha
Special Contribution
By Lee Yoo-Ra
UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-Moon at Doha 2012 COP18

The 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) opened on November26th and ended on December 7th at the Qatar National Convention Center in Doha, Qatar. Meanwhile, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a shocking report on November 29th detailing scientific data on the current global status on the issue of climate change.

According to the report, sea ice in the Arctic fell to its lowest ever recorded level, and the expanse of the melted area was calculated to be the equivalent size of an area larger than the United States. Abnormal changes of weather such as drought, floods and heat-wave were also more frequent and severe this year. The report said that a decrease in sea ice in the Arctic was the most obvious example that highlights the abnormal change in the weather that is happening now.

The goal of UNFCC is to find ways in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions, which means limiting the average temperature of the Earth to two degrees Celsius at the most. A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that the average temperature of the Earth has already increased 0.8 degrees. However, the IPCC has made no progress over the past two decades owning to a difference of opinion between industrially advanced and underdeveloped countries. Meanwhile, the average temperature of the Earth has been increasing steadily.

Nearly all industrially advanced countries participated in the ‘Kyoto Protocol’ except for the United States, but now some territories including the European Union and Australia are only participating in it. Their greenhouse gases account for less than 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. Most countries have agreed to continue the Kyoto Protocol, but details have not been decided yet.

The United States said that they would try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% but have been refusing to any written obligation. Also, China and India, which are competing for the lead as the world’s largest emitter, said that they should continue industrialization by 2020.

Chinese lead negotiator Su Wei said at the conference, “Our greenhouse gas emission per person in much less than that of other industrially advanced countries. We have to improve our economy continuously. Therefore, we cannot help but increase the production of greenhouse gases.”

The conference comes at a time, when there is increasingly critical concern on the issues of climate change and in the wake of many natural disasters and violent weather storms this year alone, including Hurricane Sandy in the US and Typhoon Bopha in the Phillipines the global community is increasingly under pressure to make affirmative and positive action.

A wide range of activists, environmental groups, academics and scientists studying the situation fear that if the current global leadership is unable to agree and adhere to commitments on climate change and produce environmental and ecological counter measures to combat the problem, then the planet will continue to suffer irreversible damage with more severe adverse weather effects being inflicted upon it.

The writer, Ms. Lee Yoo-Ra, is a final year student at Yeungnam University majoring in English Language and Literature. Her interests includes surfing the internet and travelling.




 

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