December 5, 2012
Authors: Jorine Boink and Jacqueline van Dooren
When it was announced that the next UN Climate Conference was to be held in Qatar, there were only few positive sounds to be heard. Organizing a climate conference in a country based on oil is of course not the first logical location. On the other hand, it might just be the most important location, as much result can be achieved on the subject of awareness raising. Additionally, it stimulates the creation of sustainable projects in the region. In several side vents and on the exhibition, we saw many examples of such initiatives. In this blog more information on this.
The Climate Conference itself is quiet environmentally friendly, surprisingly enough. From our IFLRY colleagues we heard that this is a focus on every top, but it is definitely impressive. The conference center uses 32% less energy compared to similar buildings. Participants have to use shuttle buses from and to the conference locations, and these buses use GTL diesel and CNG, relatively clean fuels. Although this would have been normal in The Netherlands, it is really admirable in Qatar Where everyone has at least one car and buses are something for the poor, low class immigrants. The most innovative green measure of this top is the Paperless project. All documents are available online and there are almost no hard copy versions to be found. With this, 132 trees have been saved, and 96% less paper was used compared to previous tops. The character of this conference can thereby be an example for other international conferences.
In the opening speech of the high level part, H.E. the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, stated that Qatar has been working on sustainability and awareness creating, in a measurable manner. We have seen two examples of this during the conference: the Doha Exhibition Center showcases innovative green projects from the Gulf region; and students and pupils are being taught about climate change in their schools.
Paying attention to the sustainability of the top itself, and creating local awareness are important steps in the right direction. To bring the negotiations forward however, more is needed. The negotiations fail or succeed with the availability of funding. Concrete measures on this have unfortunately not yet been presented by Qatar or others. Tomorrow more on this.