Youth Statement: Doha failed to deliver

In light of a recent Guardian article by EU representative Connie Hedegaard and other media attention trying to dress up the catastrophic Doha outcome as a success, young people around the world issued the following statement to clear up the Doha Delusion:

Youth Statement

As COP18 came to a close last week, we were left with what can only be described as colossal betrayal and abandonment of the world’s most vulnerable people. The world needed progress, but Doha failed to deliver.

In Doha our governments failed us. They  provided no new targets to reduce carbon emissions, no finance commitments, and a weak compromise on loss and damage for the least developed countries that are already suffering from the devastating impacts of climate change.

As youth, and future guardians of this world, we are disgusted by the misinformation that is being spread. We want to set the record straight. No self-congratulatory Ministerial statements, or lofty opinion pieces are warranted here – on all possible counts, Doha failed to deliver.

The world needed ambition, but Doha failed to deliver.
In the run up to COP18 it was universally acknowledged that greater ambition was desperately needed – but  nothing changed in Doha. There is still nothing in the texts that equitably apportions responsibility for increasing ambition, nothing in the texts that demands ambitious leadership from developed nations, and nothing in the texts that will steer us away from catastrophic climate change. The world needed ambitious leadership based on the universally accepted principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, based on respective capabilities, but Doha failed to deliver.  

The world needed finance, but Doha failed to deliver.
The world needed mobilisation of funds to tackle climate change. The Green Climate Fund that was set-up to fund mitigation and adaptation projects still remains empty, despite urgent pleas from developing nations. The world needed sustainable mechanisms to fill the fund, but Doha failed to deliver.

The world needed a stronger Kyoto Protocol, but Doha failed to deliver.
The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is being cited as one of the many successes of this conference. The Kyoto Protocol, although currently the only legally binding deal committing countries to reduce their carbon emissions, is far from perfect – and this agreement on a second commitment further weakens the deal. The world needed a Kyoto Protocol revitalised with the necessary commitment, ambition and urgency, but Doha failed to deliver.

The world needed justice, but Doha failed to deliver.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and in the midst of Typhoon Bopha, COP18 should have provided honest reparations for those most affected by climate change, and adequately addressed climate justice. Instead, “loss and damage” received tokenistic near-dismissal. There are no guarantees that the fundamental demands from developing countries to establish an international mechanism will be met. The world needed climate justice, but Doha failed to deliver.

Some have dismissed such claims of failure, calling the Doha conference a ‘transition COP’, where nothing major was ever going to be decided, except negotiating steps towards a global deal for 2020. This lack of political will is locking us into a decade of inaction – a decade we cannot spare. We needed real progress, but Doha failed to deliver. 

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