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The United Nations Climate Change Conference wrapped up in Doha yesterday, bringing to an end about two weeks of hard-fought negotiations among developed and developing countries. Hosting the climate jamboree for the first time, Doha tried to put its best foot forward in showing that when it came to fighting climate change, it was in no way lagging. Qatar mustered all its resources to host thousands of delegates from all over the world. A giant exercise in logistics, the organisation of the 18th Conference of Parties (COP 18) and CMP brought to the fore issues which are not very popular in this part of the world. A key benefit of holding such conferences is that the subject of the meeting enters the canon of debate in the country, soaking in itself the salient points of the discussion.
So engaged were the 200-odd countries attending the talks that the duration of the climate jamboree had to be increased by one day.
The deal reached at the conference gives the much-vaunted Kyoto Protocol an extension. Kyoto was finally approved with the 27-member European Union, Australia, Switzerland and eight other industrialised nations signing up for binding emission cuts by 2020.
The subject of climate change has been acquiring centre stage in the global war against changing patterns of weather. It was only during the late twentieth century that the international community took up the issue in earnest. Earlier, scientists had been warning of major shifts in climate patterns signalled by change in temperature and rainfall trends across many parts of the world. It was major floods, super cyclones, and rising global temperatures that led experts to sit up and take note.
Besides a shift in weather patterns, the construction of multipurpose river valley projects to generate electricity and irrigation led to concerns over vegetation being affected. The change in the course of rivers and the construction of dams leads to loss in the genepool reserve in the area, affecting the biodiversity so very much necessary for a healthy environment.
Brainstorming in the field of environment management has been immense. Right from the inclusion of environmental education in school curriculums to the springing up of thousands of non-governmental organisations, pressure groups and even religio-spiritual bodies, the rise in interest in environmental issues has been phenomenal.
Doha surpassed many hurdles, ending with a pact that has been described as the ‘Doha Climate Gateway’. The agreement would likely see forces against climate change multiplying at all levels across the world.
Events like these are not only important for the environment but also lead to a significant sense of participation in the community which is at the receiving end of climate change.