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Doha, November 26 -- The global climate treaty talks opened today with a strident call from the Philippines to "preserve the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding, rules-based international climate change instrument with quantitative emissions reduction targets." The Philippine position was immediately supported by a huge group of countries representing Africa, Asia and Latin America, including Algeria, Argentina, Malaysia, India and China. The countries together represents a population of close to 3.5 billion.
Directed at developed countries, long criticized for timid climate change action, the statement was delivered in plenary by Philippine Climate Change Commissioner Naderev Saño.
The Doha talks is the 18th round of negotiations since the Earth Summit of 1992. Over 17,000 delegates representing 192 countries attended the Qatar conference, which will conclude on December 6.
"The country's voice resonates in this global meeting," said Cong. Rufus Rodriguez, who attended the talks to observe the proceedings. "We clearly have a leadership role to play in Doha," Rodriguez said.
At stake in Doha is the future of the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period concludes at the end of 2012. Signatories to the Protocol are obligated to reduce emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels in a period from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2012.
"We are thirty-five days away from the end of the first commitment period. A meaningful and effective second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol beginning January 1, 2013 -- this should be the minimum outcome in Doha," Saño said.
Greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 50 percent since 1992 when the climate change treaty was first agreed.
"In order to be meaningful," said Saño, " emission reduction targets of developed countries must be at least within the range of 40 to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, while ensuring emissions reduction of at least 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2017. According to Saño, "without ambitious action, the great majority of the world's population is doomed. Inaction is simply unacceptable."
November 26, 2012