From March to September this year a staggering 4.47 million square miles of Arctic ice melted – that’s an area bigger than the United States. The U.N. World Meteorological Organization said this Arctic ice melt is one of the most extreme and record-breaking weather events of 2012. Yet delegates from nearly 200 countries meeting at the Doha Climate Change Conference can’t come to an agreement to collectively cut emissions to slow global warming.
The U.N. recently concluded that ice cover has reached a new record low in the Arctic. WMO Secretary General Michael Jarrud reports that “the alarming rate of [the Arctic ice] melt this year highlighted the far-reaching changes taking place on Earth’s oceans and biosphere. Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do as a result of the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records.”
Delegates from nearly 200 countries are at an impasse over who should do what in U.N. climate change talks currently going on in Doha, Qatar. They are striving to reach a deal that ensures the world’s climate temperatures will not rise more than 3.6 degrees F over pre-industrial times. Temperatures have already risen 0.8 degrees according to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Representatives of developing countries like China and India are looking to developed countries to cut their emissions, citing their “historic responsibility”. China and India, in the meantime, want to increase their emissions, arguing that they will need to do so to grow their economies and eradicate the problem of poverty in their countries.
Many developed countries, however, have not agreed to extend the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol until 2020. The emissions pact that once incorporated all industrialized nations except the U.S. will now only include the European Union, Australia and several smaller countries, which account for less than 15% of global emissions. The. U.S. is refusing to offer any binding commitments other than a pledge to cut emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.
Via ABC News