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BC3 Policy Briefings

The long road of climate negotiations: From Kyoto to Paris stopping over in Doha

Keywords: Climate negotiations, Mitigation, Climate justice

Author(s): Unai Pascual and Anil Markandya

Date: 2013-05-02

Issue: 2013-01

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  • Expectations about the COP18 Doha round of climate negotiations were low and countries were successful in making some progress, but only incrementally. A second commitment period (from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020) for reducing emissions by amendment to the original Kyoto Protocol were agreed. Doha has left the door open for more progress ahead as the new treaty is supposed to be signed in 2015 and come into effect in 2020.

  • Industrialised and heavily polluting countries such as Canada, Russia, Japan, and New Zealand who were members of Kyoto did not approve this second commitment, and the US and China, the world’s two largest carbon emitters, have also largely opposed it. Doha called (unofficially) for the remaining Kyoto Protocol countries to increase their ambition in committing to reduce emissions in the range of 25-40% by 2014. This was a call though, not a firm decision.

  • A debate ensued regarding the carbon market that exists in the EU, more specifically about how many non-used “emission credits” a country could transfer to the second commitment period. This is the so called “hot air” carbon credit issue. While some countries such as Poland wanted to keep the carbon credits, developing countries wanted such hot air credits to be abolished. The EU finally allowed Poland to keep its unused credits.

  • Developed countries spectacularly failed to put any real money on the table or to agree on the roadmap to the 2020 $100 billion a year target. The decision calls for public funds for adaptation without any specific figure calling in developed countries to make such a pledge “when their financial circumstances permit”.

  • Doha has brought an important innovation by agreeing to begin addressing the issue of “loss and damage”, due to the pressure of developing countries. The parties agreed to establish by COP 19 international mechanism to address loss and damage from climate change.

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