Climate conference in Doha decides on second Kyoto period

Bern, 08.12.2012 - The UN Climate Change Conference in Doha (Qatar) ended on 8 December 2012 with an agreement. The Kyoto Protocol will be continued until 2020 and the conclusion of a comprehensive climate agreement was confirmed for the post-2020 period. From the perspective of the Swiss delegation the conference achieved the minimum of what it set out to do.

In the view of the Swiss delegation, the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, which ended on Saturday 8 December 2012, is mixed. A positive aspect is the decision to continue the Kyoto Protocol and the agreement of the EU, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Croatia and Iceland to engage in a second commitment period (Kyoto 2). This means that the only binding international agreement on the reduction of climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions that existed up to now will be extended to 2020.

The following detail is less positive, however: the countries that have undertaken a commitment to Kyoto 2 are responsible for around 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. This does not include the emissions generated by the other major polluters including the USA, China, Japan, Brazil, South Africa and Canada. These states confirmed the commitment they made last year in Durban and agreed to a reduction in their emissions. However, once again, they did not want to commit to binding reduction targets.

Based on this and the targets set by Kyoto 2, the states are still a long way from complying with the two degree limit, below which climate change is viewed as being manageable. However, all of the states reiterated the decision taken at the Durban Climate Change Conference in 2011 for the establishment of a climate agreement by 2020, which will involve commitments by all states, and not only the industrialised countries. Financial support for the continuation of climate change mitigation was also approved for the developing countries. Switzerland will also continue to provide financial assistance within the established framework and will develop it further.

In the view of the Swiss delegation Doha only achieved the minimum of what it set out to do. Substantial efforts are still required to complete the development towards a climate-compatible and, hence, low-CO2 society and economy. Although the measures decided on at the international climate negotiations are not sufficient to achieve this, such summits remain crucial for the foreseeable future. This forum affords Switzerland as a small state the same voting rights in representing its interests as it does the major states.

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