Doha talks end with agreement on losses

2012-12-09 23:36:43 GMT2012-12-10 07:36:43(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English
H.E. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah (2nd R, front), President of the conference announces the final agreements of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 18 and CMP 8) at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012.(Photo/Xinhua)H.E. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah (2nd R, front), President of the conference announces the final agreements of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 18 and CMP 8) at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012.(Photo/Xinhua)
H.E. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah (R), president of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres attend a joint press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012. UN climate talks in Doha adopted Saturday a package of drafts of low-ambitious second period of Kyoto Protocol and weak commitment on climate finance after overnight negotiations on differences between developed and developing countries.(Photo/Xinhua)H.E. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah (R), president of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres attend a joint press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012. UN climate talks in Doha adopted Saturday a package of drafts of low-ambitious second period of Kyoto Protocol and weak commitment on climate finance after overnight negotiations on differences between developed and developing countries.(Photo/Xinhua)
Xie Zhenhua (R, on screen), head of the Chinese delegation to Doha climate talks, makes a statement after the passing of the final agreements of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 18/CMP 8) at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012.(Photo/Xinhua)Xie Zhenhua (R, on screen), head of the Chinese delegation to Doha climate talks, makes a statement after the passing of the final agreements of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 18/CMP 8) at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012.(Photo/Xinhua)
The European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard speaks to the media at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012. UN climate talks in Doha adopted Saturday a package of drafts of low-ambitious second period of Kyoto Protocol and weak commitment on climate finance after overnight negotiations on differences between developed and developing countries.(Photo/Xinhua)The European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard speaks to the media at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012. UN climate talks in Doha adopted Saturday a package of drafts of low-ambitious second period of Kyoto Protocol and weak commitment on climate finance after overnight negotiations on differences between developed and developing countries.(Photo/Xinhua)
The European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard speaks to the media at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012. UN climate talks in Doha adopted Saturday a package of drafts of low-ambitious second period of Kyoto Protocol and weak commitment on climate finance after overnight negotiations on differences between developed and developing countries.(Photo/Xinhua)The European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard speaks to the media at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012. UN climate talks in Doha adopted Saturday a package of drafts of low-ambitious second period of Kyoto Protocol and weak commitment on climate finance after overnight negotiations on differences between developed and developing countries.(Photo/Xinhua)
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres attends a joint press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012. UN climate talks in Doha adopted Saturday a package of drafts of low-ambitious second period of Kyoto Protocol and weak commitment on climate finance after overnight negotiations on differences between developed and developing countries.(Photo/Xinhua)United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres attends a joint press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012. UN climate talks in Doha adopted Saturday a package of drafts of low-ambitious second period of Kyoto Protocol and weak commitment on climate finance after overnight negotiations on differences between developed and developing countries.(Photo/Xinhua)
H.E. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah (C), President for COP 18 and CMP 8 announces the final agreements of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 18/CMP 8) at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012.(Photo/Xinhua)H.E. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah (C), President for COP 18 and CMP 8 announces the final agreements of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 18/CMP 8) at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012.(Photo/Xinhua)

Developing nations will push next year for a radical UN mechanism to compensate them for the impact of climate change, such as droughts or rising sea levels, despite reluctance among wealthy states which would have to foot the bill.

A United Nations-led meeting of almost 200 countries in Doha, Qatar, in the past week agreed on steps toward addressing losses and damage from global warming.

Developed nations fear such a system could be hugely costly for Western governments. The United States insists any money would have to come from US$100 billion in aid already promised from 2020 to help poor countries cope with global warming, delegates said.

Helen Clark, head of the UN Development Program, warned developing nations against expecting too much.

"In the end, you can't squeeze blood from a stone," she said.

Developing nations are nevertheless signaling a big push in 2013. "We look forward to the establishment of the international mechanism next year," Nauru's Foreign Minister Kieren Keke said at the end of the meeting, speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States.

If set up, the new system could help nations to recover from storms that may become more powerful due to climate change. In the Philippines, Typhoon Bopha killed more than 600 people in the past week.

Until a few years ago, the focus in UN climate change talks was on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. That shifted in the mid-2000s to include ways to adapt to floods, heat waves and rising seas.

Now, the push to set up ways to compensate for loss and damage is an admission there will be changes - such as sea level rise or ocean acidification - that can't be adapted to.

"If an island is gone you can't just adapt to that. It's a complete transformation. With a disappearance of glaciers the water supply is gone. This is going far beyond traditional management," said Juan Pablo Hoffmaister of Bolivia.

"It's a fundamental shift in the way we talk about climate change," said Nick Mabey, chief executive of the London-based E3G think-tank.

AOSIS has proposed a three-part mechanism based on insurance against extreme weather, compensation for creeping problems such as sea-level rise and new efforts to assess risks.

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