Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Global warming, "catastrophic" events that might upset the balance of the planet, funds to developing countries to promote the fight against climate change: these and many others are the issues which will be discussed at the 18th United Nations Conference on Climate Change, underway since yesterday, for the first time in a Middle Eastern country. The COP 18 summit in Doha, Qatar, one of the leading manufacturers in the world of fossil fuels (the most polluting), will close on 7 December and will involve about 17,000 delegates from 194 countries, comprising political leaders, experts and NGO representatives. They are entrusted with the task of reaching a new agreement, which will give new force to the Kyoto Protocol set to expire at the end of the year.
On the eve of the conference, doubts are mounting about the actual capability of the developed nations to honor the promise to deliver billion in aid to developing countries for environmental protection and "green" policies. An element of tension among the various nations that is likely to preclude future agreements. The climate of uncertainty is exacerbated by the conflicting results of three different reports which have emerged recently, on the eve of the United Nations summit.
The International Institute for Environment and Development, based in London, said that the European Union, the United States, Japan and other developed countries have allocated 23.6 billion in aid to poor nations in 2009-2012. Thus, the initial threshold of 30 billion would not have been reached. An estimate by the Institute for the World's Resources, based in Washington, says instead that at least 34 billion dollars have been distributed. A third report, this time from the Center for Climate Change at HSBC in London, values the amount at around 32 billion, but of these only 25 billion have been "allocated"; the allocation, however, does not mean that, in practice, the funds have already arrived in the hands of the beneficiaries.
One of the targets already set by the participants is to limit, by the end of century, the rise in global temperatures to just two degrees. However, even among the UN leaders for climate change, skepticism reigns and, according to the more realistic assumptions, an average growth "between 3 and 5 degrees" is expected. The current data is alarming: only 16% of the world's energy comes from renewable sources, while countries like China, the United States, India and Russia still top the ranking of most polluting nations.
Each year, experts warn, China alone produces more than 8 trillion tons of greenhouse gases, a 171% increase since 2000. In second place was the United States, with 5 trillion tons, followed by India (2 trillion) and Russia (1.6 trillion tons).
The data shows once again the urgent need to undersign a "new treaty" that is binding on all the global players for the protection and preservation of the environment, in contrast to what has happened with the Kyoto Protocol, which Washington never joined. It must be signed by 2015 and come into force by 2020. Otherwise, experts warn, the consequences could be devastating: a document from the World Bank confirms that the world risks "catastrophic changes" resulting from rising seas, excessive heating and an imbalance in the environmental ecosystem.