What the Doha Climate Talks Could Do for Sustainable Development
While participants at last year’s climate meeting in Durban, South Africa, agreed on an extension of the troubled Kyoto Protocol, it is at this year’s meeting in Doha, Qatar, that policy makers have to agree on the pesky details, including long-term emission reduction goals.
As my colleague John Broder reported last week, the outlook is not entirely rosy. And the stakes have grown even greater as scientists report a record level of carbon dioxide emissions in 2011, a level that is growing so rapidly that an international goal of limiting the ultimate warming of the planet, established three years ago, is on the verge of becoming unattainable.
Some of the major industrial players — and heaviest polluters — such as Russia, Canada and Japan have already made it known that they will not sign on again to the climate deal. The United States never ratified the protocol, and China — currently holding the title as world’s number one climate polluter — is listed as a developing country and therefore not yet subject to binding emission caps. (Our colleagues at India Ink reported on India’s role in current and the Kyoto Protocol negotiations).
But activists and some green business people are calling attention to an oft-forgotten mechanism that allows emission-reducing development projects in non-Kyoto compliant countries to earn carbon credits.