Doha hosted the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 8th session of the COP serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP18 / CMP8), at the end of last year. The resulting new measures, known as the Doha gateway, are aimed at reaching a global climate deal by 2015, with sights set on its implementation by 2020.

The measures announced following the Doha talks include:

  • The launch of a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, which will allow it to continue from 1 January 2013 for a further eight years. The countries covered by the second commitment period account for only 14 per cent of the world’s GHG emissions, however, having failed to achieve sign-up from China, the US, Japan and Australia. It is therefore questionable as to how much the second commitment period can practically achieve.
  • A firm timetable to adopt a universal climate change agreement by 2015 - “elements of a negotiating text” for the new global climate deal should be available by the end of 2014, allowing a draft to be ready for May 2015.
  • Endorsement of the completion of new institutions designed to channel technology and finance to developing nations.
  • Improvements to climate finance and the provision of technology for adaptation to developing countries, including the repeated commitment to deliver on promises to continue long-term climate finance support to developing nations, with a view to mobilising US$100bn, for both climate change adaptation and mitigation by 2020. Critics have though suggested this may not happen as the deal reached contains no immediate financial commitments. Further, the agreement to fund poorer nations’ attempts to protect themselves against the loss and damage of climate change contains no legal obligation on the developed countries as the US is openly opposed to this.
  • Agreement to an international mechanism, in order to address the “loss and damage” associated with the impacts of climate change for particularly vulnerable developing countries. The arrangements will be established at COP 19 to be held in Warsaw at the end of 2013.

The Doha talks failed to achieve anything by way of reform to the carbon offset market – a high-level panel on the future of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) had recommended a long list of actions to help the scheme back in September, which is threatened by the collapse of its credit prices (certified emissions reductions or CERs). Despite this, the secretariat of the CDM admitted that its executive board had no mandate to act on the key recommendations, and Doha saw the deferral of decisions on new market mechanisms for another year.