COP18 Live: Latest news from Day 8 of Doha climate summit

Contact John Parnell in Doha if you have any comments or a story you’d like to share.

By John Parnell
RTCC in Doha

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Finance: Room for optimism on climate finance at UN talks.
Durban Alliance: EU alliance with small island states vital to Doha talks – UK minister.
Ambition: Deadlock frustrating climate talks in Doha.

Today’s headlines:

Questions over Stern figures: Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists has been in touch to point out a discrepancy with figures quoted by US negotiator Todd Stern yesterday. Stern said a Resources for the Future report found that the US was on track to meet its 17% targeted emission cuts by 2020, quoting a projected figure of 16.5% by 2020 under current policies. However the report only includes CO2, none of the other greenhouse gases.

Meyer spoke to Gary Guzy of the Council on Environmental Quality, who said recent research puts the figure at more like 10%, leaving the US with plenty of work to do, contrary to his claims yesterday.

Ban Ki-moon: The UN Secretary-General was a little more conciliatory than he was in his “willful blindness” speech a few months ago but he did have some strong words. He called the Green Climate Fund and “empty shell” and said a roadmap to the $100bn annual target would go some way to building trust between rich and poor nations calling it “a matter of credibility”.

He also called on leaders to inject some momentum to the work towards a 2015 deal.

UK climate funding: The UK has announced £133m of investment in clean energy and adaptation projects. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey also said that it would be hard for governments to layout their climate funding till 2020. He did concede that some form of wording might be needed to formalise the flurry of verbal reassurances that have come so far.

Davey also said that the UK viewed the Durban Platform as absolutely crucial given that it includes emission reductions for all nations, including China, which he said was doing well, but “could afford to do more”.

UK energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said there was a difference between countries that had emitted in large volumes in ignorance histrically, and those that did so knowingly.

Latest video: Greg Barker on ambition, AOSIS talks, Kyoto Protocol negotiations and need for political will

UK energy and climate minister Greg Barker from Responding to Climate Change on Vimeo.

Minsters: Oxfam’s Kelly Dent has just told me that we shouldn’t read too much into the absence of one Minister, particularly when there is a pretty genuine reason to stay away! She also discussed the state of the talks as things stand. Finance and hot air could be key issues she said, but we should’t underestimate how much work the ministers get through, there could be lots of movement in the coming days. The direction of that is the big question.

Indian Minister: A vote of no confidence in India’s Government means Environment and Forest Minister Jayanthi Natarajan is unlikely to make it to the Doha for the UN climate change talks. There is an outside chance that she could make the final concluding hours of the process but she will categorically not arrive before the last day on Friday.

Bangladesh: There was some surprise sympathy for the EU from the Bangladeshi environment minister yesterday. Hasan Mahmud, minister for environment and forest said he appreciated that the EU couldn’t raise its own emission reduction targets while all the other developed countries sat on their hands. He said he wanted to see the EU do more, but ultimately it is the other countries that are doing nothing who must make the next move.

Kyoto: Talks continued on the next commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol but governments remain some way apart on a number of issues still. The length of the period, five or eight years, whether countries not making binding cuts under Kyoto should be allowed to use its offsetting and carbon trading schemes and the general level of ambition from those that are making cuts remain a problem.

Pledges: Following Monaco’s unconditional 30% emissions reduction pledge yesterday, there are rumours that there will be more to follow. The Dominican Republic has called a press conference for this evening, it would usually talk through the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) but a pledge would warrant an individual event. Qatar’s media team has also announced a “high level commitment from the government of Qatar” at an press conference tomorrow morning in the presence of the Emir of Qatar, Ban Ki Moon and Christiana Figueres.

Hot air: Activists handed out “hot air” credits to delegates at the start of the moving walkway into the conference centre tnhis morning before giving them the option to cancel it (by putting it in a sack) as they stepped off. The cancellation of left over emissions allowances from the first run of the Kyoto Protocol as a result of economic changes rather than emission cuts, is viewed as a key indicator of ambition. New data has been released showing the extent to which the Swiss and G77 proposals could cancel these credits if adopted.

Here’s my credit going back in the bag, in a purely impartial way of course!

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