Doha Climate Change Conference 2012

COP18 Doha 2012 UN Climate Change Conference

The Doha Climate Change Conference 2012 was hosted in Qatar in the city of Doha in December, 2012.

This was the 18th United Nations Climate Change Conference, and is also referred to as COP18. Doha is the capital of the world’s highest carbon emitter per capita.


The two-week summit, which finished on Saturday 8 December 2012 considered:

  • Finance for developing countries
  • Reaching a tentative agreement on “loss and damage”, a sort of insurance mechanism for the disasters that may beset the poorest and most vulnerable nations.
  • The implementation of a second period of the Kyoto Protocol, the only effective climate treaty in place, which will begin in three weeks with even fewer members and lower ambition than the first version.

Agreements reached during the conference, bundled as the “Doha Climate Gateway” included:

  • A second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, with all that it entails in terms of continuity and mechanisms
  • The third set of results from the AWG‐LCA, completing the Agreed Outcome of the Bali Action Plan
  • A qualitative but bold understanding on finance, especially for the medium term, leading to 2020 and the 100 billion a year target;
  • A systematic way of addressing loss and damage;
  • A roadmap to 2015, 2020 and beyond.


However, the conference has been widely criticised for lack of progress on substantive issues associated with the increasing effects of climate change and policies to address them.

The meeting failed to deliver any actual greenhouse emissions cuts that the environmental lobby says is crucial to avoiding catastrophic global warming.

The conference did not acknowledge the need for rapid emission reductions to meet a rapidly closing window to cap global warming at a maximum 2 degrees, other than creating The Doha Gateway.

Recent scientific reports from the WMO, UNEP, IEA, and PwC, the impact of Hurricane Sandy, or the devastating typhoon in the Philippines failed to spur governments into action.

The economic actions of individual countries may deliver the technology breakthroughs that are needed to combat climate change.

Germany’s investment in solar PV has triggered a wave of investment and deployment that has helped bring down the costs of flat panel solar by 80% in the last two years, and sparked a revolution in world energy markets. Improved energy efficiency standards in Europe, Japan, the US, and now in Australia, will do the same.

WWF’s head of delegation, Tasneem Essop, summed up the summit: “These talks have failed the climate and they have failed developing nations. The Doha decision has delivered no real cuts in emissions, it has delivered no concrete finance, and it has not delivered on equity.”

No signficant contributions have yet been made by developed nations to the UN’s climate green fund, which is supposed to reach $100 billion a year by 2020. This can be contrasted with the United States rapidly meeting the anticipated $80 billion damages bill for Hurricane Sandy.

“This is about more than the science and the legal wrangling as far as we are concerned,” said the chief negotiator from the Marshall Islands. “It is one of urgency. Our islands are being inundated by salt, our food security is threatened. There is very little than we can do to stop the degrading of our way of life.”

Next year’s UN climate summit will be in Warsaw, before likely moving to Peru and then Paris. UN chief Ban Ki-moon will host a leaders’ summit in 2014 with a goal is to extract commitments to action before the new treaty will come into force from 2020, recognising that a lack of ambition before that date will condemn the world to 3 to 4 degrees of warming, or even more.

France’s President Francois Hollande is also focusing on country leaders, and the talk in the corridors of Doha was that he intends to hold a series of “leadership retreats” in exclusive areas of France in the lead-up to the Paris negotiations.

Kyoto compels cuts only from 35 industrialised nations including Australia, the European Union nations, Ukraine, Switzerland and Norway – which make up 15 per cent of global emissions.

The United States has never ratified the agreement. Round two, which will take effect on January 1 and run until 2020, has been further weakened by the withdrawal of Russia, Canada and Japan.

The History of Climate Change Negotiations in 83 seconds

See also

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