“The President of COP18/CMP8 hailed the agreement reached after two-weeks of grueling negotiations as a “Gateway to the future”. Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said the final extra day of the UN Climate Change Conference had been historic as all parties had reached consensus despite complications and many hours of extra consultation.
The “Doha Climate Gateway” – as Mr. Al-Attiyah called the deal – marked the beginning of discussions on a universal, legally-binding international agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which should be ratified in 2015 and come into force by 2020. “This is a gateway to the future, even beyond 2020,” he said. “We hope it will be a gateway for the whole world.”
Speaking with Mr Al-Attiyah at a press conference at the end of COP/CMP8 (picture below), Christiana Figueres, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, said what was needed now was greater “political will” by all governments.
“This was a historic COP,” she said and while she accepted that governments alone could not be expected to take solve the climate change crisis she said: “What needs to change now is political will.” She added: “We need the corporate sector to play a part and to contribute.”
The UN has endorsed a target of restricting global temperature rises to less than 2 degrees Celsius but Ms Figueres said “the window is closing in on us”.
She stressed that the world had the finance and the technical knowledge to tackle the issue but governments needed to take decisive action.
Ms Figueres said that the significance of the Doha agreement was that it was a bridge between the original Kyoto Protocol, which was drawn up in 1997 and expires at the end of this year, and the next protocol, which was agreed in principle in Durban (the Durban platform) last year and is due to be signed in 2015.”