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Hundreds protest at Doha climate change talks

Climate activists rally in Doha on the sidelines of the UNFCCC meeting amid efforts to produce a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. THey urged nations to commit to tougher greenhouse gas emission cuts, speed up the shift to renewable energy and provide climate financing. IMELDA ABANO, INTERAKSYON.COM
The online news portal of TV5

DOHA, Qatar – In what was billed as the first-ever rally in the history of modern-day Qatar, hundreds of climate activists marched through the streets of this city on Saturday as part of the global protest to demand governments to take bolder action in addressing climate issues.

The rally, participated in mostly by climate activists from more than 15 Arab countries, came as ministers from around the world were arriving for the higher segment of the climate talks.

Billed as a “climate public march,” the activists converged on the city’s Sheraton round-about holding banners and listening to passionate speakers. Some were even clad in green and wearing a polar bear costume.

“We want a real deal, and the Arab states are not spared from the impacts it brings to us and to our future generation. We are calling on the rich countries to commit to deep emission cuts and to deliver financial pledges to support developing countries adapt to the changing climate we are experiencing,” said Wael Hmaidan, director of the Climate Action Network.

Another activist from the WWF-Australia said, “the time to act is now. Real commitments must be realized if we really want to avoid devastation.”

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said Friday that she did not see “as much public interest for governments to take on more ambitious and more courageous decisions.”

“Each one of us needs to assume responsibility. It is not just about national governments. It is about individuals. It is about civil society,” Figueres lamented.

“The situation is now turning into a blame game. It is not designed to address the real problems,” Emmanuel Dlamini of Swaziland, who speaks for the African countries, said in a press conference.

Earlier, Philippines Climate Change Commission Vice-Chair and head of the delegation to the climate talks, Lucille Sering, lamented that the “expectations are low in Doha,” in terms of reaching a global climate deal for the second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol as well as scaling up financing for the developing countries in order to address climate change.

Over 194 nations, including the Philippines, are meeting in Doha until December 7 to try to hammer out details on a new treaty to tackle cuts in emissions as well as climate financing.