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COP18 Live: Latest news from Day 8 of Doha climate summit

Contact John Parnell in Doha if you have any comments or a story you’d like to share.

By John Parnell
RTCC in Doha

-Contact us by email or twitter!
-Those on the ground in Qatar can also visit the Climate Change Studio in Hall 4, a collaboration between the UNFCCC and RTCC. Contact the Secretariat to request an interview.

- Finance: Room for optimism on climate finance at UN talks.
- Durban Alliance: EU alliance with small island states vital to Doha talks – UK minister.
- Ambition: Deadlock frustrating climate talks in Doha.

Today’s headlines:

Questions over Stern figures: Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists has been in touch to point out a discrepancy with figures quoted by US negotiator Todd Stern yesterday. Stern said a Resources for the Future report found that the US was on track to meet its 17% targeted emission cuts by 2020, quoting a projected figure of 16.5% by 2020 under current policies. However the report only includes CO2, none of the other greenhouse gases.

Meyer spoke to Gary Guzy of the Council on Environmental Quality, who said recent research puts the figure at more like 10%, leaving the US with plenty of work to do, contrary to his claims yesterday.

Ban Ki-moon: The UN Secretary-General was a little more conciliatory than he was in his “willful blindness” speech a few months ago but he did have some strong words. He called the Green Climate Fund and “empty shell” and said a roadmap to the $100bn annual target would go some way to building trust between rich and poor nations calling it “a matter of credibility”.

He also called on leaders to inject some momentum to the work towards a 2015 deal.

UK climate funding: The UK has announced £133m of investment in clean energy and adaptation projects. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey also said that it would be hard for governments to layout their climate funding till 2020. He did concede that some form of wording might be needed to formalise the flurry of verbal reassurances that have come so far.

Davey also said that the UK viewed the Durban Platform as absolutely crucial given that it includes emission reductions for all nations, including China, which he said was doing well, but “could afford to do more”.

UK energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said there was a difference between countries that had emitted in large volumes in ignorance histrically, and those that did so knowingly.

Latest video: Greg Barker on ambition, AOSIS talks, Kyoto Protocol negotiations and need for political will

UK energy and climate minister Greg Barker from Responding to Climate Change on Vimeo.

Minsters: Oxfam’s Kelly Dent has just told me that we shouldn’t read too much into the absence of one Minister, particularly when there is a pretty genuine reason to stay away! She also discussed the state of the talks as things stand. Finance and hot air could be key issues she said, but we should’t underestimate how much work the ministers get through, there could be lots of movement in the coming days. The direction of that is the big question.

Indian Minister: A vote of no confidence in India’s Government means Environment and Forest Minister Jayanthi Natarajan is unlikely to make it to the Doha for the UN climate change talks. There is an outside chance that she could make the final concluding hours of the process but she will categorically not arrive before the last day on Friday.

Bangladesh: There was some surprise sympathy for the EU from the Bangladeshi environment minister yesterday. Hasan Mahmud, minister for environment and forest said he appreciated that the EU couldn’t raise its own emission reduction targets while all the other developed countries sat on their hands. He said he wanted to see the EU do more, but ultimately it is the other countries that are doing nothing who must make the next move.

Kyoto: Talks continued on the next commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol but governments remain some way apart on a number of issues still. The length of the period, five or eight years, whether countries not making binding cuts under Kyoto should be allowed to use its offsetting and carbon trading schemes and the general level of ambition from those that are making cuts remain a problem.

Pledges: Following Monaco’s unconditional 30% emissions reduction pledge yesterday, there are rumours that there will be more to follow. The Dominican Republic has called a press conference for this evening, it would usually talk through the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) but a pledge would warrant an individual event. Qatar’s media team has also announced a “high level commitment from the government of Qatar” at an press conference tomorrow morning in the presence of the Emir of Qatar, Ban Ki Moon and Christiana Figueres.

Hot air: Activists handed out “hot air” credits to delegates at the start of the moving walkway into the conference centre tnhis morning before giving them the option to cancel it (by putting it in a sack) as they stepped off. The cancellation of left over emissions allowances from the first run of the Kyoto Protocol as a result of economic changes rather than emission cuts, is viewed as a key indicator of ambition. New data has been released showing the extent to which the Swiss and G77 proposals could cancel these credits if adopted.

Here’s my credit going back in the bag, in a purely impartial way of course!

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  • Mike Haseler

    Get real! After three years of prevarication you still don’t get it?

    No sane politician wants their country to sign up to any agreement. But no sane politician is going to come out and state that fact.

    Kyoto is dead, it’s just that you are the last to know it.

  • Dale Lanan

    Earth is losing reflectivity and ability to shed heat to space. Abrupt Climate Change is happening now. Earth is past the point where emissions reductions alone can reverse the slide to hard core CH4 Runaway.. Things went from global warming to accelerated global warming and now to Abrupt Climate Change which won’t stop without human intervention.. -No plan to undo this is presented at COP18.
    The US gov negotiator said US was on track to meet goal for CO2 emission reduction by 2020. He didn’t speak of CO2e, carbon dioxide greenhouse gas equivalence.
    Fact is some 1700 Billion Tonnes of CH4 is starting to release from East Siberian Arctic Shelf already.
    Atmospheric burden of CH4 globally is approx 5 Billion Tonnes and even a release of a small fraction of the Arctic methane in shallow sea floor basically is likely to set off Runaway particularly because the stuff is light and rises to form a veil in Stratosphere at approx 30 to 47km above Earth’s surface which is growing fast.

  • Dale Lanan

    Reversing the heat pulse acceleration of Earth so loaded with clathrates’ methane held in what amounts to Bubbles of water ice foam in sea floor and starting to expand approx 170 to 1 on melt out formation of methane gas in fine sediment is hard to interject into discussion of world politic and finance at massive scale infinite or division of zero by zero but theatre ticket that says hot air is passive is not quite true… The time for action is still upon us to get the show on the road..