Everyone from the World Bank to Neil Young says that now's the time to act on global warming. But the U.N. — which has been hosting a climate change conference in Doha for the last two weeks — keeps putting off tough decisions.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change brought almost 200 countries together in Qatar, and, well, there was a lot of bickering. Should they extend the Kyoto Protocol, which curbs greenhouse gases? Should China and India be legally required to stave off emissions by 2020? Should wealthier nations put more funding behind sustainability programs in poorer countries? With the original deadline of the talks now past, leaders haven't reached anything close to a consensus on these and other questions. The Philippines climate envoy Naderev Sano put his frustration bluntly, saying, "As we sit here, every single hour, even as we vacillate and procrastinate here, the death toll is rising."
Representatives are starting to worry that they won't catch their planes home, but the head of the conference — Qatar's deputy prime minister Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah — said, "I have plenty of time. I can sit here for one year." For a quick prediction about whether an agreement will be reached or the talks will collapse, check out this video from The Guardian:
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