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Posted on Nov 26, 10:43PM | IANS
With fresh round of climate talks getting underway Monday at Qatar in Doha, environmental organisation Greenpeace called for an urgent action to avoid catastrophic global warming, as climate change was already gripping the planet.
"Climate change is no longer a distant threat for future, but is with us now, as evident from devastating storms, droughts and floods in the US, China, India, Africa and Europe that left behind a trail of death and destruction," Greenpeace climate campaigner Martin Kaiser said in a statement from Doha.
Earlier in the day, Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Atrtiyah unveiled the 18th conference of the parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), being attended by about 200 nations.
Noting that a series of natural calamities this year had caused a significant loss of life and devastated families and homes, Kaiser said at stake in Doha was the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding cap of greenhouse gas emissions, whose first commitment period expires by this year's end.
Coinciding with the 12-day conference, Greenpeace sought a second commitment period without carrying over the excess emission rights, which allows governments to trade their way out of real climate action.
"The leftover hot air is estimated to total 13 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (Co2), which is equivalent to 2.5 times the annual emissions of Europe," Kaiser asserted, serving a warning signal to the member countries.
Referring to the warning by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the consequences of unchecked climate change, Kaiser said duiring the past five years, the growth in coal use had caused over two-thirds of the increase in global CO2 emissions, pushing greenhouse gas emissions to a record high.
"As the world's energy economy is driving in the wrong direction, governments should continue the Kyoto Protocol and shut loopholes that allow countries to pollute for years," Kaiser pointed out.
At Durban climate talks in South Africa last year, governments agreed to sign a global deal in 2015 and to cut emissions for the period until it comes into force in 2020.
"Governments must show real progress towards the 2015 agreement at Doha now," Kaiser added.