COP 18: a transition

Andrey Zhelieznyi, Ukraine
The National Ecological Centre of Ukraine (NECU)

COP18 in Doha was literally a transition event – defining the track of further climate change fight and if the world is ready to act toward a common goal. Actions on commitments accepted here will determine if we will stay below the 2C warming range in the next five to eight years.

Hospitable Qatar accepted nearly 17 000 people, inspired to see big accomplishments from all over the world. In fact, politicians, governors and civil society were all full of hope, wanting to abolish 'old' legal agreements for emission reduction and agree to a new plan of reaching a fair and legal global deal.

Action on the prevention of anthropogenic emissions in the atmosphere has become vital for the survival of humanity in the way that we know today. But what we saw during two weeks of international negotiations was that both north and south clashed on non-negotiable survival. Basically, environmental topics became big political aspects and were not even economical. Every party in the negotiations resisted taking the lead, despite their available capability in many cases.

Consensus on global agreement is required. I'm asking myself if we really need formal agreements on paper with weak targets or how to urge the world to take on domestic mitigation activities beyond international agreements. I’m still not sure what the right answer is. To mobilize political will and follow the only ambitious plan is the only way.

Large number of civil society representatives joined together to make their voices heard, to voice concerns to decision makers about the world they expect to live in. We bring a lot of environmental and social issues to the climate agreement agenda but this is not enough. We have to continue our work further to ensure that voices are heard.

This year’s UNFCCC negotiations have come to an end with the world at a crossroads. There is only one right way, but the question remains: how much we will need to adapt if we don’t choose the right path now?