Delegates from 200 nations have gathered in Qatar for two-week talks to try to agree a symbolic extension of the U.N. Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that obliges about 35 developed nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
But any hope that the location of the talks might spur countries in the region to unveil new ambitious climate change measures had so far come to nothing, delegates said.
Qatar, the host, has come in for particular criticism
“Greenpeace believes these efforts fall well short of a comprehensive, ambitious national pledge that could help move the climate negotiations forward,” Hoda Baraka, communications officer for the Greenpeace Arab World Project, said of Qatar's promises.
“We expect Arab states to play a leading and proactive role in the time that remains in reaching a successful conclusion to the negotiations,” she said.
The talks are scheduled to end on Friday, but OPEC member Qatar has so far failed to set clear targets for reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions, arguing that its liquefied natural gas exports mean it is already doing its bit by helping other nations turn away from more polluting coal.
Qatar has made some efforts; the tiny Gulf state has promised to raise the proportion of electricity generated via solar power to 16 percent by 2018, and on Wednesday said it would establish a climate change research center with Germany’s Potsdam Institute that would house 200 researchers in Doha.
But campaigners said they expected more from a country with the world’s highest gross domestic product and the highest emissions level per-capita at a time when the global spotlight was on the region.