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UNFCCC Executive Secretary Calls for Speeding Up Global Action to a Low-emission Future

UNFCCC21 November 2012: Prior to its opening, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, must deliver on objectives to speed up global action towards a low-emission future where everyone has the chance of a sustainable life.

Saying that a faster response to climate change is necessary and possible, Figueres noted that, in Doha, governments are expected to usher in a renewed commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, move the infrastructure built for action in the developing world into firm implementation, and decide how to resolve policy issues that remain outstanding under the UNFCCC.

Figueres called for acknowledging the gap between what countries have pledged to reduce GHG emissions and what is required to stay below two degrees temperature rise, beyond which more severe climate impacts occur. She added that, while the technology and policy tools are available to governments and societies, time is very short given that "only 36 months (remain) to reach a universal agreement before 2015."

Among other outstanding issues to be addressed at the Doha conference, she highlighted: ensuring the seamless continuation of the Kyoto Protocol; planning the work for the universal climate change agreement covering all countries from 2020, to be adopted by 2015, including by ensuring that the task is delivered and the timetable is met and national circumstances are addressed; and deciding which elements of the Bali Action Plan have been achieved, what additional decisions can be taken in Doha and which elements may need to continue to be further addressed.

Moreover, she said governments will also need to complete new infrastructure and chart the way forward on long-term climate finance, including by: endorsing the decision on the location of the Green Climate Fund (GCF); and deciding on the location and mode of operation of the Technology Mechanism's Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN). Other key issues expecting results at Doha comprise: vulnerable countries' capacity to adapt to climate change, with a focus on protection against loss and damage caused by slow onset events; forest-related actions; the role of agriculture in mitigating and adapting to climate change; and technology development and transfer. [UNFCCC Executive Secretary Press Release]