Fighting global warming
Updated: 2012-12-10 07:54
A package of drafts on the second period of the Kyoto Protocol and a weak commitment on climate finance adopted at the climate talks in Doha, Qatar, have sent a better-than-expected message.
The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the only United Nations treaty that obliges developed countries to cut carbon emissions, expires at the end of the year, whether its second period is applied is vital to the global efforts to combat climate change.
We have enough reason to applaud what has been achieved despite the fact that the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia, among others, insist that they will keep away from the treaty. The European Union-led group, which includes Australia, has pledged to join the second period of the Kyoto Protocol.
The talks have paved the way for another UN treaty in 2015, which will hopefully take effect in 2020, when the Kyoto Protocol expires. The application of the second commitment period will decide whether the joint efforts on climate change will be able to continue after the Kyoto Protocol expires.
The financial assistance, worth several billion euros, that European countries have announced they will provide developing countries shows that joint efforts on climate change are going on despite the slow pace.
But there is by no means a rosy picture ahead for the efforts to check global warming.
The US says that it can only cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from the 2005 level by 2020, which is only a cut of 3 to 4 percent below the 1990 level, much lower than the 25 to 40 percent they are required to cut.
The limited and minor progress the Doha talks have made suggests how hard it is for developed and developing countries to come up with a deal to jointly and earnestly deal with global warming.
Nonetheless, however minor the political progress, it has been worth the efforts of all parties, as by accumulating such small headways the world is marching closer to the consensus on the joint fight against global warming.
(China Daily 12/10/2012 page8)