UN talks seen falling short despite climate change fears

Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:46pm EST
 
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* Nations seek to extend Kyoto protocol, despite dwindling support

* Face calls for more action to curb rising greenhouse emissions

By Alister Doyle and Regan Doherty

DOHA, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Despite mounting alarm about climate change, almost 200 nations meeting in Doha from Monday are likely to pay little more than lip service to the need to rein in rising greenhouse gas emissions.

A likely failure to agree a meaningful extension of the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding plan for cutting emissions by developed nations, would also undercut work on a new deal meant to unite rich and poor in fighting global warming from 2020.

"The situation is very urgent ... We can no longer say that climate change is tomorrow's problem," Andrew Steer, president of the Washington-based World Resources Institute think-tank, said of the Nov. 26-Dec. 7 talks in Qatar.

Superstorm Sandy had been a wake-up call for many Americans as the sort of extreme event predicted by climate scientists in a warming world, he said, even though individual weather events cannot be blamed on man-made global warming.

A U.N. study last week said the world was on target for a rise in temperatures of between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9F) because of increasing emissions. That would cause more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

A U.N. conference two years ago agreed to limit any rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times. But greenhouse gas levels hit a new record in 2011, despite the world economic slowdown.   Continued...